Monday, April 27, 2015

ColourSpun "Name the Colour" competition

I have, for some time now, wanted to name all the colours produced in the ColourSpun studio, but thinking up nearly 300 (and growing) names on my own is daunting! So, ColourSpun is having a

"Name the Colour" Competition!

with a grand prize of  a R1000.00 ColourSpun voucher

To enter go to and like my page. Then head over to ,create a profile (click on "log in" to take you to the profile page) and sign up for the ColourSpun Newsletter.

Have a good look at all the colours and post your name ideas on the ColourSpun FB page along with each colour's number - e.g.  101 - yellow

Each name submitted that is chosen for a particular colour will count as 1 entry, only 1 name per colour per person may be submitted.

The winner will be chosen randomly on 15th August 2015 and will be notified by e-mail.

So, get those thinking caps on and lets name all those colours :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

How to Join Fabric Strips Together

Ever wanted to join fabric strips together for knitting or crochet or anything else without having big knots that are difficult to hide in your work or that can come undone. Here’s an easy method of joining those strips that won’t undo or make big bumps.


Join the strips of fabric together as follows: fold each short side of each strip over about 1.5cm and cut a slit about 1cm long from the fold into the fabric, being careful not to cut through the fabric edge. Slip the end of one piece of fabric (call it the top end) through the slit of another piece of fabric and then take the opposite end of the first piece of fabric and slip it through the slit in the top end of the same piece, pull tight to knot them together. For wider strips of fabric, just make the folded section longer and cut the strips longer to accommodate the width of your fabric. Keep joining new strips to your “rope” until it is as long as you want it to be.


Knitted ICord

I- Cord is tubular knitting done on 2 double pointed needles or on one circular needle. This gives the same result as knitting on a french knitting dolly but with the added benefit of being able to increase and decrease the number of stitches and also of being able to vary the thickness of the yarn used. It is very useful for jewellery, cords, straps ....

C/on between 4 and 8 Stitches
**knit across
Slide the stitches back across to the other end of the needle without turning and pull the yarn firmly across the back of your work
Repeat from ** until your cord is the required length.
Cut yarn, leaving a 20cm tail. Thread through stitches and fasten off.  
This will give you a stocking stitch cord – smooth side out.

For a reverse stocking stitch cord – pull the yarn across the front of your work to begin knitting the next row.

I-cord cast off
This is a wonderful way to finish edges as you cast off. You can vary the number of stitches as you please.
Cast on 5 sts
*K4; K2tog; Slip 5 sts from right hand needle back to left needle
Repeat from *

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Double hook needles or double end crochet hooks – are long afghan crochet hooks with the same size hook on each end designed to produce a firm, double faced fabric usually in 2 different colours. Cro-hooking, cro-knitting, double hook crochet, crochet on the double are all names given to this technique. You will notice that if worked in 2 colours one side will be predominately colour A and the other side will be predominately colour B.

 Maria Olma was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1920 and learned to crochet at a very young age. She immigrated to the US in 1943 and became Mary Middleton. In 1970 a friend showed her a baby afghan she had made with a double hook needle. Mary was intrigued and realised the technique was similar to the afghan stitch she learnt as a girl. She showed a number of others; who wanted to learn the technique. A craft shop asked her to give lessons and booked the classes – one lady cancelled because she didn’t want to buy a hook and pay for a lesson to learn just one stitch. This prompted Mary to develop more stitches and start a company called Crochenit. This is now the popular term for work done on a double hook needle.

 This block is worked in basic Crochenit stitch. You will notice that the technique is very similar to Tunisian Crochet.
Start with a foundation chain using colour A.
The first row will be a pick up row – still using colour A.
Turn your work and slide along to end – join new colour (you will now have yarn on both ends of your work)
The second row will be a cast off row – using colour B
The third row will be a pick up row – using colour B
Turn your work and cast off with colour A.

 You will need:
2 balls of yarn in different colours –colour A and colour B
1 double hook needle in a size to suit your yarn (Note- you will need a bigger size hook than knitting needle to produce a soft fabric)

Start with a crochet foundation chain of 20 + 1 – 21 chain using colour A

Row 1:
Cast on row: Insert hook into the second chain from the hook, *wrap the yarn (from back to front) over the hook and pull through leaving the new loop on the hook; insert the hook into the next chain* repeat from *to* to end
Turn work and slide to end of needle, using colour B make a slip knot and place on needle
Cast off row: pull the slip knot through the first loop on the hook;* wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook* repeat from *to* until there is only one loop left on the hook.

Row 2:
Cast on row: Insert the hook into the second vertical bar of the previous row, *wrap the yarn over the hook and pull the loop through leaving the new loop on the hook; insert the hook into the next vertical bar* repeat from *to* to end
Turn work and slide to the end of needle; take up colour A
Cast off row: wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first loop on the hook;* wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook* repeat from *to* until there is only one loop left on the hook.

Row 3:
Cast on row: Insert the hook into the second vertical bar of the previous row, *wrap the yarn over the hook and pull the loop through leaving the new loop on the hook; insert the hook into the next vertical bar* repeat from *to* to end
Turn work and slide to the end of needle; take up colour B
Cast off row: wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first loop on the hook;* wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook* repeat from *to* until there is only one loop left on the hook.

 Repeating Rows 2 and 3; work 16 more rows then work a row of single crochet and end off.


Darn in ends.


There is nothing stopping you from using only one colour or a different colour at every turn or even for each cast on and each cast off row – use your imagination and have fun!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A New Year :)

It's such a long time since I last posted. Last year went by in a blur and I feel like I was really only functioning on the surface. It was a rollercoaster year with very happy and very sad times and so I have decided that 2014, although it's already a run off my feet busy year, is going to be  a calmer, quieter, even keeled, happy year.

As I sit here, I can hardly hear myself think. Yesterday while I was out, a water pipe burst in my studio. If you don't know my studio, it is divided into a top section with one step down into the bottom section. My sink is in the bottom section and it is there that the pipe burst. Thank goodness Anna was there so we could start sorting the problem immediately or I would have had a much bigger disaster! Having said that it still took us about 30 - 40 minutes to get the water turned off. I couldn't get through to the plumber on the phone, Chris was out of town... I called our insurance broker for a number for an emergency plumber (knowing that was a long shot since we live so far out of the city)eventually I managed to get 2 very kind men from the factory to go turn the mains off and seal the pipe. By then the whole bottom section was filled with and inch + of water. Anna, bless her, even in the panic had thought to lift everything electrical off the floor and when I got home was scooping water out with a bucket.  The plumbers arrived and fixed the pipe and we moved all the furniture, carpets, spinning wheels, bags of wool etc out onto the lawn. I thought I was going to be soaking up water all night when the phone rang, it was our insurance broker who had organised a company called Dryforce to come and help. At just after 4:00 in the afternoon they left Jo'burg in peak hour traffic to come all the way out to Heidelberg! In no time they had vacuumed up the remaining water - a lot! - and have left 3 machines here that are removing all the remaining moisture and that is why I can't hear myself think!.. but, let's face it, it couldn't have ended better :) I've already put everything except the couches back.

One of the machines removing the moisture

I started this year busy. Usually the summer months are very quiet on the yarn front but I have steadily kept going, even receiving an order on Christmas day! There are 6 exhibitions in the 1st half of this year to make work for, 2 that I'll be curating,  and 6 issues of Stitches to be completed by the end of the year. I will also be teaching at Quilt in Clarens again this year but decided that that will be the only teaching and that I'm going to attend workshops instead.

The first workshop for this year is already done. I spent last weekend in Klerksdorp at a wonderful felting workshop presented by Charity vd Meer. I'll tell more about that in another post. If you ever come across Charity, I encourage you to attend one of her workshops. The next one I'm looking forward to is a Wild Knitting workshop in my studio with Linda Tacke.

One of the exhibitions at IQCA this year is Sculptural Fibre Art. I've been working on my part of a collaborative  piece since December. It's working out beautifully but I have exhausted the supply of stuffing locally so it will have to wait to be completed. Look out for more about this in the weeks and months to come. I'm not telling what it is until after the exhibition opens in the last week of July but here's a little peek ;)

I had decided to make a flamingo for my other piece because I thought it would be different and all of a sudden, in the last few days, I'm seeing them everywhere so I've changed my mind about that one.

The work for the other exhibitions is all still in the planning stage but I do already know what I'm doing for each one (unless I change my mind ;) ) and I've started getting the materials for each one together.

Look out for more in the days. weeks and months to come.. and have a wonderful 2014!

Monday, July 29, 2013

IQCA - Newsletter Number 3

We have now hit the "40 days" mark and everything seems to be moving faster!
 The clock hands are spinning, the printing is stacking up and the emails are
arriving non-stop. Full pre-IQCAfrica 2013 mode.
This week we focus on Patti Hempen's workshops. Patti hails from Texas and specialises
 in Kaleidoscope techniques. She will be offering these three one-day workshops at IQCAfrica 2013:
Free-form Symmetry (Fri 6 Sept). Free-Form Symmetry is a new concept that lends itself to
beautiful self-design. It takes away the “fear factor” of creating an original piece and is
 time-efficient, uncomplicated and simple enough that anyone can do it with beautiful,
pleasing, self-gratifying results. The photo shown below is the premise for the class;
 however, each student's work will be unique. Great fun for the beginner to experienced quilters.
Join author of the book "Free-Form Symmetry" as she shows you how to create your own
 quilt using her fun method.
Floral Kaleidoscopes (Sat 7 Sept). Let Patti teach you to design, cut out, stitch, fuse, and machine
appliqué your OWN kaleidoscopic flower garden. Every “bloom” will be a wonderfully random
explosion of colour and surprise! There will be no two flowers alike!  You will also see other
 samples of her quilts and discuss the possibilities of using this technique for other sized quilts
if desired.  The ultimate goal of this workshop is for all students to have fun, enjoy the process
 and take home a wonderful piece of fabric art.
Serendipity Wedges (Sun 8 Sept). Indulge yourself in a fascinating learning experience which
will result in a maze of beautifully-collected octagonal kaleidoscopes. You will learn to turn a
 piece of fabric into this stunning and most colourful quilt. Patti also will show other examples
 to inspire you. The results are dazzling and addictive!
Then, in the Exhibition Hall we will have "Yesterday, today, tomorrow" - a collection of 35
competition quilts (32 entries plus 1 from each the judges) coming to us from the 18th European
Patchwork Meeting in Alsace, France. This international collection represents the work of some
 of the finest art quilters in the world, including Libby Lehman, Linda Colsch, and Linda Kemshall.
We have had many requests for directions to IQCAfrica. Here are all the possibilities:
  • AIR: Fly in to OR Tambo Airport. Walk through to the International Arrivals Hall,
         then cross the road and follow the directions to the BUS terminus. Catch a free       
         Emperors Palace shuttle bus which runs every 20 minutes.
  • GAUTRAIN: Change at Marlboro Station for the Rhodesfield line. Get off at Rhodesfield,
          then catch the RF2 bus to Emperors Palace.
  • ROAD: Take the R21 highway and exit at the Griffiths Rd off-ramp. Turn left into
          Jones Rd and then left again into Emperors Palace. 
  • GPS co-ordinates: S: 26° 08' 55.10" E: 28° 13' 20.17"
For more information about workshops and Ricky Tims seminars and also to book your seat, go to
We'll chat again next week about more things to do and see at IQCAfrica 2013!