Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where are they now?

Day Four: 31st March. Where are they now?

Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

As long as I have knit, I have loved mohair yarn. Many years ago, I knit a Kaffe Fasset tumbling blocks pullover in many different colours. It travelled with me to the US on a winter holiday and I wore it almost every day! When we returned home, I carefully washed it and laid it flat to dry in the laundry as it was during our rainy season. It was taking a while to dry and so "somebody" decided it needed a little help and popped it in the tumble drier, well you can guess what happened! When I went to put it away, I had a much smaller, fulled mohair pullover. Fortunately the style was quite loose and long so it just became more fitted and short.

I still wear that pullover and it is lovely and warm on even the coldest winter days.

Another pullover I often wonder about was sold on an exhibition. It was called "Wild Women" The lady who bought it had the most beautiful auburn hair and it looked stunning on her. I wonder if she still has it and if she may still wear it. I hope she's still enjoying it. I often feel tempted to knit another similar one.

Happy Knitting :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tidy mind, tidy stitches

Day Three: 30th March. Tidy mind, tidy stitches

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

My studio is where I spend most of my waking hours and since I usually have a lot on the go, it has to be organised. There are parts that are very organised and sometimes it's organised chaos but generally I have a place for everything and everything in its place :)

This is my personal stash. I found these lovely, see through suitcases that fit on top of each other snugly and have little wheels that help roll them off the shelf. They seal well and keep my yarn clean and easy to find. The yarn is organised by colour and the suitcases according to the colour wheel. I have more that I keep in two large wooden trunks, sorted in custom made, see through bags.

I made this felt needle keeper to hang my spare circulars on the wall. It's decorative and the needles are always on hand. My Knitpros are kept sorted in their special "filofax" .

... and this is the organised chaos - freshly dyed yarn waiting to be labled, some drying on a rack and Dandy Bear waiting to be photographed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skill + 1UP

Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP.

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

Last year was soo full with getting my book done, but I did still manage to learn a new knitting skill  - 2 actually. I have a friend who has arthritis in her hands and although she still manages to knit, forming purl stitches hurts so we (Heidi of Heidi Bears and I) set off on a mission to find a way for my friend to purl in a different way that won't hurt her hands and in the process learnt a few new ways to form purl stitches ourselves.

The first was the Norwegian Purl stitch. The method of forming the purl stitch differs from our usual method because the yarn is kept at the back of the knitting. Here is a link to a vidio tutorial which explains it far better than I could in words.

The second method we learnt was a whole different way of knitting - Portugese knitting. The yarn stayed in front of the needle for the purl stitch and for the knit stitch! Here is a link to  a video tutorial that explains how to knit this way.Instead of holding the yarn in your hands, tensioned with your fingers, it is fed through a  safety pin attached to your clothing just below your shoulder or it can go around your neck. The stitches are formed by flicking the yarn around the needle with you left thumb. It's really quick and there is very little movement so this was the method we showed my friend - who is very happy to be knitting more that garter stitch again.


Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns

Well here we are -
Day One: 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns.

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I have been trying all day to sit down and write about my very favourite yarn and life just kept happening but here I am now :) 

I'm a yarn snob! I want every aspect of my knitting experience to be wonderful and so I make sure that I only knit with yarn I love. My absolute favourite at the moment is my ColourSpun Pure Cotton Chunky. This is a new yarn that I have been experimenting with and I'm really enjoying it. It's extra soft and worked up quickly into comfortable, easy to wear, perfect for in-between weather cardigans. I'm going to make a throw next.

 Another favourite yarn is Adele's Mohair. Her yarns are also extra soft  and I'm busy knitting a throw for our bed using a mixture of colours and textures. Her yarn is mainly hand made and provides a living for many woman in an area where unemployment is very high.

Happy Knitting everyone

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

It's here again - Knitting and Crochet Blog week starts tomorrow! If you are a knitter or enjoy crocheting and you're also a blogger - then join the fun. All the details are available on . I'll be posting every day this week.

If you'd like to have my posts sent to your e-mail, insert your e-mail address in the block at the top of the right hand column and click on submit. You'll get an e-mail from feedburner asking you to confirm your subscription, click on the link and confirm.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Knitting Adventure with South African Yarn

Leave all your cares behind and embark on a wonderful adventure across our beautiful, wild, diverse, colourful country, South Africa, to find 22 accomplished yarn makers who will tell you their tales and with their yarn, tempt you to explore different knitting techniques to turn the 40 projects in this book into infinite possibilities.

A book for both new knitters and old, who, each time they pick up their needles, venture forth on a journey – some long, some short but all filled with the creative spirit that makes each destination their own.

The Book is done!! :) It goes to print next week. Pre order a signed copy of  "A Knitting Adventure - with South African Yarn" or " 'n Brei Avontuur - met Suid-Afrikaanse Wol" from for delivery in May 2011.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this book possible and to everyone who takes it along on their own knitting adventure.

With lots of love  Dana

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mosaic Madness

I was very fortunate this Hobby-X, for a change, I was on the receiving end of a workshop - twice! In2Crafts ran a number of workshops designed as an  introduction to different crafts or to teach new or improved techniques. What fun! I chose 2 mosaic classes (Tile Tapestries and Mosaic Pendants) because I have never worked with mosaics before.

I didn't know what I was missing, mosiac is such fun and I came away with a beautiful mosaic tapestry made from all sorts of stuff like the usual glass tiles and the not so usual, tiles made from Skulpy clay and stamps, seed beads, pewter ....

The Mosaic Pendant workshop was just as good. I learnt to cut the glass tiles properly and ended up making 3 pendants :) - just couldn't stop! They still need to get a resin finish and I'm going to hang them from beaded chains.

I had so much fun that I bought the tools required and a lot of mosaic tiles and am definately going to do more of this.

Hope you had a fun weekend too.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Colour - with a capital C

The last few days seem to have gone by supersonically - my feet don't seem to have touched the ground, literaly! I had my bum glued to my chair for a solid 3 days catching up on admin so that I could submit my tax yesterday, which was of course the deadline. I really hate admin but I'm going to try to be better at it from now on .... no promises though :)

Yesterday all my new dyes arrived - WOW. I can't wait to use them. I thought I'd spend today immersed in colour, but realised that I wouldn't be able to wash the yarn till Monday and by then it will be rather stinky. I'll have to wait till next week to start playing. I've had a really busy day anyway, I'm proofreading my book and took a little break for a visit to the nursery. I bought some beautiful flowers which will be planted by Eric tomorrow. The garden is starting to look good again. It was hit really hard by early black frost last winter and has taken a long time to recover. Hopefully we will escape the frost this winter coming.

Tomorrow is knitting. I look so forward to meeting with the girls on a Wednesday morning. Heidi was round today and is working on the most amazing crochet project using the African Flower motif. I won't let her cat out of the bag except to say - it's 3D. I can't wait to see her progress tomorrow - she is soooo clever! I'm working on a cardigan in my new chunky cotton. It's a lovely lime green colour.

AAAND ........It's Hobby-X time of the year again in Jo'burg, at the Coca Cola Dome at Northgate to be precise. I'll be working on the Craftwise and Stitches stand from Thursday to Sunday. If you're in Jo'burg - come over and say hello. Hobby-X is one of my favourite exhibitions and I really enjoy the time I spend there. There is always so much to see and do, I love seeing what great craftwork others are doing and all the new supplies that each Hobby-X brings. This year we will be hosting In2crafts @ Hobby-X, a whole range of different craft workshops, each lasting 90 minutes and designed to give the delegates a taste of what that craft offers. I've  been given some time off to attend 2 workshops - both mosaic, a craft I've never tried before. I'll be making a mosaic tapestry in the first one and a mosaic pendant in the second. I'm looking very forward to being taken out of my comfort zone.

See what else is on offer here and while you're looking, you may like to join the In2crafts community - it's free!