my viking

I had a request for a Viking helmet with a detachable beard. I got Rob to try it on so I could attach the sides of the beard in the right place:

vik 1     vik 2

Verdict: “warm, cosy and very very stylish. Especially if you’re a Viking”.

Incidentally, Vikings didn’t ever have horns on their helmets! According to wikipedia, this concept was an invention of 19th-century Romanticism, when Carl Doepler created horned helmets for the first Bayreuth Festival production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in 1876.

 

still playing with….

…fedoras and fabric. I’ve found it’s possible to stitch bias binding around the edge of the brim (very very carefully and slowly, with Gemsy), and I think it’s worth the effort.

fed 4 fed 1 fed 2 fed 3

I think I’ll wear one of these when I nip down to Pick n Pay later for my supplies – see if I can draw a response from anyone. I tried that a while back with a very over-the-top pixie hat, was expecting to be fallen on by hundreds of people braying with excitement and desire…  Not one. Not a single one. I even lurked longer in the chocolate aisle, hoping to give similar-minded customers the opportunity to see the hat. Still nothing. I hummed round the dairy section, flicking my head around a bit, pretending to be deliberating over the ricotta. Nada. Knocked the wind right out of my sails. But today – today we try again !

un-Tyrolian hat

Sharon found this book in a charity shop. How we laughed at the hats!

tyrolian 4 tyrolian 3

… then I realised that three of the styles were very similar to some of the hats I make myself! hahaha – maybe it’s just the photo that’s dated :-)

I decided to try the green “Tyrolian” hat, top left in the pic. Shaped hats are difficult to achieve with crochet, even using thicker and less flexible yarns, so maybe there was some secret to this pattern?

tyrolian 1 tyrolian 2

Nope, there wasn’t. I have ended up with an un-Tyrolian hat – the crease will not stay, however hard I thump down on it, and the brim will not stay up at the sides, however hard I shout at it. Consequently, I have a completely different style of hat that I really really like. With some flowers or a band or a brooch pinned on, it’s versatile, warm and very vintage-looking. As in old-fashioned but in a good way.

Happy Sunday to all of you :-) x

hot fuzz

I was asked to make a hot water bottle cover in black furry yarn, so you have to admit that ‘hot fuzz’ is appropriate here.

hot fuzz

It doesn’t photograph well, but the top is a separate little crocheted dome with elastic round the edge which fits nicely over the sticky-out spout bit. I’m not sure how much heat it’s going to let through but it does look lovely. And feels nice – like a big furry and very squashed cat.

I enjoyed the knitting, it’s a nice change from crochet every once in a while (even though that bloody furry fuzzy stuff isn’t my first choice of yarn). So I kept my needles out (or the knitty sticks, as Rachel would say) and cast on for a garter stitch beanie:  rikke hat

knit 1

I’m using the new Print colours in Elle Pure Gold DK from Saprotex, there are 6 shades and each has lovely flecky bits of various muted shades offset against a solid base colour. The rikke hat is ‘la Fonda’, it’s my favourite so far. I’ve crocheted some hats with three of the other colours:

paint 1 paint 2

It works up like a dream. And chop-chop. You know how I love chop-chop.

back to business :)

It looks like the most disruptive part of that messy business is behind me, so I’m back home and getting back into a productive work routine.

I’ve found knitting has helped me keep calm, especially since I am really really slow at it….  I’ve been trying out different hat patterns so my knitting ladies have samples to work from.  (I have another one on board now, and I didn’t even have to look for her, she found me!).

knitted hats

I also fitted in a pair of shark slippers for the girlfriend of a customer’s son, who is having a birthday today and is mad about sharks. Her boyfriend is treating her to a shark cage diving expedition… some people are craaaaazzzy.

shark slip 2     shark slip 1

Apparently they were all ecstatic about the slippers, but I have to say I wouldn’t make them again in a hurry. Too fiddly for my liking!!! I like more instant gratification.

I have also been sewing, which is fast becoming my preferred activity right now. I have boxes and boxes of leftover bits of fabric from Suzette (who makes cushions) and decided to make them up into patchwork bags.  I love mixing different colours and textures, but what I love most is making something useful out of someone else’s discards.

patchwork 3   patchwork 1 patchwork 2

They’ll get a lining and a bit of velcro to close but nothing fancy because I’d like to keep the price as low as possible. They’ll be coming to the Rondebosch Market with me on Saturday, so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for another sunny winter’s day.

when in Rome

I once took a job as an English tutor to a 12-year old Italian boy called Cesare. The tutoring was to take place during a 6-week sailing holiday around Corsica and Sardinia, on Cesare’s dad’s yacht. I flew from London to Milan on a Sunday evening, spent the night in C-Dad’s flat, and was flown by private helicopter to Cala Galera the next day.

cala g

Cesare, the boat, the skipper, and C-Dad’s 18-year old girlfriend were all ready and waiting to set sail.  Also waiting at the docks, however, was Cesare’s recently-divorced mother, who had got wind of the new fidanzata and had swooped into port to remove her son from the sleaze of the situation.

Cesare was whisked home to Milan, and I was jobless. C-Dad apologised for the mess and paid me handsomely. I had a return ticket to London but it seemed crazy not to take advantage of being in Italy with time and cash in hand, so I asked to be dropped at the nearest train station and boarded a train for Rome.

I knew no-one in Rome, couldn’t speak the language, and had no idea where I would sleep. But being only 23 at the time, none of this actually worried me. I figured I wouldn’t starve, and in fact my most pressing concern was to find cigarettes and coffee.

Wondering why this episode from 30 years ago has been on my mind all morning, I think it is because the whole experience was both unusual and liberating. I knew no-one but at the same time no-one knew me or where I was (pre-internet, of course). It was a kind of freedom. No responsibilities except to myself, no-one waiting for me to call, no-one to worry about. I’m sure it can’t hurt to dream of those days occasionally, can it?

home is where the [Jam] Tart is

We got home from 2 weeks in Grahamstown on Tuesday afternoon, in our cleanest dirty clothes. It felt like a long time to be away and, despite the hospitality we got from Sean and Melinda, I nearly cried at the sight of my own bed. Wonderful neighbour Isabella had taken care of the cats, so they pretended not to notice I’d been gone a while.

I thought I would spend a day or two just kind of resting and unpacking and preparing for a 5-day market next week in Napier, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I’ve had to cancel the market (sorry, Suzette) and have to go back to Johannesburg on the weekend, and don’t know for how long. I really dislike the place, plus the business that necessitates my presence is deeply unpleasant. There are other family matters here at home that I need to deal with, so how I’m going to be in two places at once is a mystery that maybe only Superwoman or the Virgin Mary can advise on. Dealing with my sciatica will also have to go on the backburner until I can fit in a visit to Michelle, the most fantastic physiotherapist in the universe.

I did manage a couple of hours yesterday experimenting with fabric and fedoras.

fedoras fedora 2

Other than this, all crafting activity is on hold until further notice!