Monday, 26 December 2011


these beautiful felted and embroidered slippers came to us as a christmas present from Kazakstan. the russian word for slippers is "tapochki". don't they just make you think of "Aladin" or "Little Muck", flying carpets and magic lamps?

they are obviously made entirely by hand. several layers of different colours of felt are sewn together and embroidered. the soles are leather.

perhaps this inspires the felters among us to try a similar design.

i hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas holiday.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


admittedly, i am not too fond about the expression 'brag' but that is the word the guild members use when members show their latest projects.
During the Fibre Break Away in September we also had one "brag"evening (instead of the originally planned fashion show). This is what i had to show:

The gilet is constructed from several squares woven on the diagonal frame with merino that i had dyed and spun before. the edges are knitted. It was a bit of a gamble as i didn't have a lot of this particular yarn - i have about 10 cm left over from the multicoloured yarn and a little bit more of the blue. Phew - just made it :-)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

circular cardigan

inspired by dana biddle's book i knitted a circular cardigan using lots of different left over sock yarns using double threads. the finished jacket weighs 850g so one can imagine that the idea to use scraps didn't really work; somewhere in the middle of the jacket one has to head for the wool shop and get more yarn.

however, i had a lot of fun knitting this; as you change colours often it never gets boring.

i'm sure i'll try this again with different yarns.

Thursday, 30 June 2011


back from germany and trying to get used to the cold temperatures at night and in the mornings i woke up this morning to an amazing 20.6 degrees C. the 'berg wind' gave us this wonderful warm weather (it'll most probably also bring rain tonight or tomorrow, therefore we have to enjoy it as long as it lasts).

last week i had tried to buy the dylon dyes for wool that i previously used but had
to learn that the product has been changed. the packages are larger and more expensive of course and - surprise, surprise - a 50g package of dye powder for about 4 times the price also dyes only 250g of fabric/fibre! it was also not clear from the text on the package what the dye would look like on wool (lighter than cotton was all the information given). well, we won't know before we try:

i mixed the dye powder of one pack
age with 250g of salt, added 500 ml warm water and stirred until dye powder and salt were dissolved. then i added another 3 l of cold water, stirred and added 300g of wet merino tops. they instantly took on colour, after 30 min i decided to add another 200g of wool. after an hour of soaking i removed the wool from the dye bath. the 200g added later turned out much lighter. several rinses were necessary to remove any access dye which however seemed to have lost its dyeing power. the 'ocean blue' i used came out as a strong royal blue. the second skein was dyed with 'denim blue'

pros: 1. no heating/simmering, 2. easy to add additional wool after short periods of time to gradate colours from dark to light 3. fast results
cons: 1. price (between R34 and R56 per package, depending on the colour - the little tins used to cost between R13 and R16), 2. most shops don't carry the whole range of colours, product has to be ordered.

Carol, i am sure you can give a more scientific explanation about these dyes. what are they? fibre reactive? or...?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


before flying to germany for 3 weeks i am trying to finish as many ufos as i can.

one of these ufos is a waist coat consisting of three squares woven on a 40x40 frame with a thick yarn hand spun from merino tops dyed with carrot leaves.

I wanted to finish the piece with crochet borders and found that the thick yarn that
was perfect for frame weaving was too thick for the crochet borders; they turned out to be too chunky.

well, not a problem. if you spin your own yarn you can spin it anyway you need it. i just sat down and spun a thinner singles yarn (for crochet it didn't have to be plied) and now i was able to achieve the look i wanted

Thursday, 19 May 2011


life has to go on, erika is back in joburg, the weather is lovely and warm enough to work outside. i've decided to give the fish a rest and try my hands at a bird.

please, meet SIR ARCHIBALD. he is a jolly fellow and quite the ladies' man (watch this space). he does have a thing about hats. we argued about them quite a lot until he was happy with this one.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


one single baby alpaca was spun and one single silk (didn't enjoy spinning the silk - this is really hard work) and then plied.
the colour idea was hot reds, pinks and oranges for a chilli mix.

my favourite way of mixing colours is to pour the dye solution into a little bowl and use a sponge to saturate sections of the yarn (or top) with the dye

now all the different colours are added and i will put
the skeins on top of each other and roll them into a big fat roll, put them into an oven bag (thank you for that idea, carol) and then put the bag into my big dye pot with water. that went onto the gas stove to simmer for approx. 30 min.

i let the water cool down over night (outside to give michael a chance to cook dinner - aren't i lucky!!!)

the next morning i rinsed the skeins in cool water. not much rinsing was necessary - there was hardly any dye remaining.

...and after drying this is what i got: not red hot chilli peppers but beautifully soft shades of pink, purple, orange and red - just like the hibiscus in front of the house.

not what i wanted - but - i am pleased.
and start thinking about what to make with this soft yarn. a scarf?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


my friend erika joined me in wilderness under the milkwood tree for a week of felting. erika brought some samples of the decorative felted balls she wanted to show me how to do.

on monday we brought all the materials and tools we needed outside
 to the deck to take advantage
of the beautiful weather.


monday afternoon we had accomplished quite a lot and decided to take a break on tuesday and visit Plettenberg Bay and the Tenikwa Cheetah Sanctuary.

on the way we visited a pottery gallery and that is where inspiration struck. i decided i was going to try and make felted fishes with the balls as basic form.

wednesday saw as back hard at work and when two of my friends came to visit and meet erika we already had a few pieces we could show them.

and this is what we had produced by friday:

and now, may i introduce family fish:

son 'spike' who is currently in a punk phase to the dismay of father 'harry' who has a bit of a weight problem and most of the time is in a bad mood. mum 'agatha' is very sweet and keeps trying to keep the peace in the family. daughter 'lucy' is mainly concerned with her appearance.

sadly erika had to leave for joburg on saturday morning. who knows what else we would have come up with if only she could have stayed longer!