Crochet parasol

Handmade festival sunshade

I had a bright pink silk parasol I purchased from an opshop three or four years ago for £4. It probably wasn’t that well made to begin with, and time, van living and the festival season did it no favours. This autumn, the glue that was binding the silk to the frame had peeled off two of the wooden brolly tips and couldn’t be sewn back on.

The frame itself was fine, more or less. So I thought ‘why not try to make a crocheted cover and have an even better parasol’. A quick trip to Pinterest for some umbrella covering how-to tips, ideas and most importantly, crochet doily patterns (to modify into an cover) and I had a plan. I was ready.

I didn’t know the words for umbrella parts, but Gentleman’s Digest has a handy guide;

To prepare;

I gently peeled the old silk canopy off the wooden ribs by skinning my hand along between the fabric and the ribs from the open cap down, the glue was old and gave away easily.

Something I did not take a photo of; using fishing line to re-string the runner to the stretcher. The original binding is the red string you can see in the first photo. I did this to reinforce, as the red string had snapped and was unwinding in places, making the ribs slip from from the runner slots.

I counted the ribs (22) and looked for a pineapple stitch doily with the same/similar number of segments. I was in luck! I found a pattern with 11 ‘pineapples’. This means 1 pineapple for every two ribs so each one ultimately rests on the middle rib between the two spaces in the umbrella canopy.

Work in progress pictures below:

I am not sure how easy this will be to spot, but I modified this parasol pattern from the Royal Pineapple Doily Pattern #7275 pattern available from Free Vintage Crochet.

A good DIY tassel picture-by-picture tutorial is available here at Fall For DIY, and Molly Makes has an easy tiny pompom how-to here.



I love to be challenged with new crochet projects, and even better is when I succeed at them! Here are a few links to a few previous crochet projects that turned out very, very well in the end:

A crocheted ukulele cover

Crocheted ersatz Converse toddler booties


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Crochet jewellery

Crocheting bangles, tiaras, beads

Being snowed in for the first time in my life gave me a bunch of time to get craft projects done. And it was totally, totally great. All of it, including the weather. I am glad the snow has melted now though. SnowLand is a nice place to visit; but I would not want to live there.

A few months previously I had knocked up a range of amigurumi figures and shapes I loosely refer to as ‘beads’ – fruit, pastry, ice creams, fungi, eyeballs, each under 10cm³ in size. I found some earring-bits while moving and spent the weekend designing some jewellery, adding pom-poms, tassels and other finishing touches.

I made a set of Amanita muscaria earrings with matching necklace.

I also brought out the bracelets, armlets, tiaras and bangles. I have made too much jewellery…not enough bodyparts to wear it all on, not enough space in the studio!

Watermelon earrings up close.

Tropical fruit themed crochet earrings, watermelon

I still have a lot of amigurumi eyeball ‘beads’ available too. Will probably make a necklace out of these, or even a choker. Maybe some red stitching to give the eyeballs a more anatomical look. Love a bit of anatomical crochet…

The devil is in the detail, which is why I spend so much time sewing on wool!


Related; past crochet!

Soft sculptures


Ukulele cover

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An upcoming exhibition, Collaberration with Danish Quapoor

Collaberration collaboration, Danish Quapoor and drawing

I was kindly invited by Danish Quapoor to collaborate on his upcoming exhibition, Collaberration. Here are some of the drawings I contributed!


This last effort is some draft sketches I did while considering how to shape my lines.

I am so glad he invited us to assist in his Collaberration.

The show is happening at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery (Toowoomba, QLD); on display 17 March – 15 April 2018. Link to the Facebook invite here if you are in the Granite Belt and can attend!

More about the Collaberration:

More Quapoor draws;

Related; other travel art and collaborations

Travelling sketchbook collaboration project

Brief Encounters collaborative performance

Land art project in the Basque Country


Posted in adrawingaday, Collaboration, Exhibitions, Paper, Queensland, Toowoomba | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soft sculptural crocheting 

Making festival jewellery, wool sculptures and wearable art

Overwintering in the south of the UK, crocheting a lot, rugging a little. Staying on an overgrown farm doing the usual business of building no-dig gardening beds during dry spells, but the weather gives me a lot of time to work on creative pursuits.

Crocheting functional amigurumi, such as my new paperweight and hair-pin-cushion;

realistic functional artwork crochet hair pincushion eyeball

Soft furnishing winter project: rag rug

I have also been making soft furnishings from the usual mix of found fabrics and hessian; is the picture in the rug clearly visible? It is definitely clearer from the back, I think in future I will have to plan blockier designs to suit the medium. This is a work in progress photo; I still need to cut the fabric to make the shag and cut the red dag-ends off.

handmade rag rug almost complete

The design is hopefully clear now: it is fish! Two fish swirling together in a phosphorescent night sea.

handmade fabric fish totem art

Working on some jewellery pieces at the moment, have some wearable art plans for future summer festivals. Here is a teaser;

watermelon crocheted beadmaking jewellery

The tiny life I live lends to a tiny studio space.

small studio space wearable crocheted art

Crocheted food, fungus and monsters on the horizon, basically.

crocheted googley-eyed open mouthed toothed monster

The view from my new studio is pretty sweet, squirrels and finches etc.

squirrel in a tree

My crocheting ideas this winter are a wild pendulum, swinging from the fantastical to the realistic.

crocheted embroidered anatomy fungi artwork


I’ve also made a functional crocheted ukulele cover, and I’ve crocheted more soft sculpture crochet food.

Posted in Crafternoons, Crochet & Knitting, Europe, Re-use, Rugging, Sewing, Textiles, Travelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My four favourite podcasts to Helpx to (June 2017)

The main four

I love podcasts. They are such an integral part of my life now, it is hard to imagine that less than twelve months ago I didn’t listen to any with any regularity. And now I listen to a number of people so regularly, I feel like my brain has slotted them in a kind of ‘friend’ category. Anyway, I spend a lot of time by myself, and doing a lot of non-talking tasks – weeding, shovelling, painting, sowing, sewing…podcasts really work in with my lifestyle at the moment.

Podcasts are also because of where I have been travelling to, areas without mobile reception! Podcasts are easy to download where possible, then there is hours and hours of listening entertainment to be had. Helpx and podcasts are a perfect combination. My favourites genres are probably comedy and true crime. Here is my (short) list of favourite podcasts I listen to while Helpxing. If you have any others to recommend, let me know in the comments!


4. White Wine True Crime.

Two hilarious women, occasionally guests, they drink (usually) white wine and discuss their favourite true crime shows. The shows are a little over an hour long and their episodes can get pretty sloppy and off-track. Special little treasures like Hertzogging, the rapping, and hobo lemonade make WWTC.

What are you waiting for? Let yourself be wined and crimed!

3. Kurt Vonneguys.

Two guys talking about the works of Kurt Vonnegut in the (mostly) chronological order that they were published in. They have a great format they use to dissect Vonnegut’s work and they are both huge fans of his writing. The shortest episode of Vonneguys is an hour and twenty-two minutes long, they are also great for long car rides, really moves the afternoon along.

They just covered Breakfast of Champions, so there is another two or three decades of Vonneguys work to go! Hooray for Kurt Vonneguys!


2. Sword and Scale

Sword and Scale can be a truly harrowing listen. The point of the podcast is to show that ‘the worst monsters are real’ and this is something they achieve time and time again. Each episode is put together extremely well, the audio, sound effects, and tone of the presenter, Mike Boudet is perfect, and perfectly spine chilling at times. Would recommend listening in a well lit room, surrounded by many people.



1. Last Podcast on the Left

Listening to Ben, Marcus and Henry discussing true crime or the paranormal makes me miss bullshitting around a sticky wine-coated table in a garage. They can wildly disagree with each other, while cracking each other up. They seem to be old friends who genuinely like each other. It is fun.




Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds

True story; it was a 12-to-16 hour drive from where I lived as a child to my grandparents, and we drove there for Christmas or Easter sometimes. And some time during this trip, this would be played. It tickles something nostalgic in my brain. And also it is a cool story.



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Fermenting ramsoms and tri-cornered leeks 

Making sauerkraut-style fermented greens

The Fat Hen Cookery School has titles like The Art of Fermentation and Real Food Fermentation so I am taking advantage of the abundance of alliums growing locally and fermenting something like a sauerkraut or kimchi to eat later in the season.

I am using two diferent greens, three-cornered leeks and wild garlic, using the same recipe for both.

Recipe for fermented wild greens

Tote bag full of ramsom leaves

1tbsp coarse sea salt



Wash leaves thoroughly.

Sandwich the greens between layers of salt.

Use your hands to rub the grains of salt into the leaves, this will cause the leaves to exude liquid. Use a combination of rubbing and pressing to break down the plant fibres and express as much liquid from the greens as possible.

Use a smaller bowl (that will fit fairly snugly inside the first bowl) to crush the greens down further. Use a lot of weight inside the book to put as much weight on the greens as possible, the liquid should be covering the greens entirely. Leave overnight.

Locally picked wild garlic prepping how to

Fermenting wild garlic recipe self sufficiency

Sea salt sauerkraut Fat Hen Cornwall foraging

Self sufficiency preserving wild garlic recipe

Fermenting wild foraged greens do it yourself

three cornered leek ramsons sauerkraut

I used a pestle and mortar, covered in water, to weigh down my greens.


The next day

After leaving the fermenting greens overnight, I prepared sterilised jars and some smooth rocks (boiled previously) to weigh the greens down when they are in the jar, keeping them under the level of the liquid to ensure anaerobic fermentation. I also used ramsom leaves for both types of wild food sauerkraut as a kind of ‘mat’ across the top of the sauerkraut to further keep the plant matter pressed down flat under the liquid.

Use tongs to thoroughly pack the greens into the jars, cover with the ramsom leaf mat and a rock, and seal lids.

Should be ready to eat in 2-3 months.

Locally foraged wild garlic making fermented greens


Jarred ramsons ready for fermenting process

I prepared the three-cornered (or tri-cornered) leeks in exactly the same way.

Eating Invasive species three cornered leek recipe

Fat Hen cookery school three cornered leek cooking

Healthy eating locally foraged greens kimchi recipe

Crushing wild greens fermentation process
Pulled wild greens fermenting sauerkraut kimchi

Three cornered leek preparing and eating

Food for free wild garlic sauerkraut recipe


Wild garlic kimchi sauerkraut ferment

Preserving fermenting cooking three cornered leek


Mat of ramsom leaves weighed down by a clean rock

Weighted sauerkraut bottled locally foraged wild garlic
Eating locally foraging wild garlic bottling spring flavours


Other wild food foraging and bottling recipes

Cleaning and preparing seaweed

Vegan friendly bitter spring greens

Homebrewed rosehip wine

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Crochet on the road

Crochet is a great travelling craft

I am sure that I have said this before, but one of the many advantages of crochet is (usually) how portable crochet is and how light the projects usually are. It is very easy to put a ball of wool, a hook, and a pair of scissors into a pencil case or sandwich bag and work on your granny squares or 3D amigurumi cakes, popping the finished pieces away to keep them clean in your backpack or handbag.

Travelling to Cornwall from Spain, I stuffed a tote bag with some different shades of blue and spent my downtime on the road crocheting new bunting. And there can be a lot of downtime sitting around when you are driving around the UK, or stuck on a ferry for a day and a half at a time!




Art and design notebook planning

After parking up in Cornwall to help out, I have time and space to continue working on the bunting. I’ve also spent a bit of time planning the colour combinations in my notebook.

Thinking about different ways to crochet different colour combinations around my completed triangles. I have found journalling my art process a good way to trouble shoot and problem solve.

I had a fair few triangles for bunting, so decided to make a few different strands in a few different colour schemes.

Bunting finishing touchess; buttons and tassles

I added wool tassles to the bottom of the triangles, using a simple tassle pull-through technique.

After the tassles, I used some found beads from a broken necklace and mismatching buttons, as well as wool stitches in the bunting for extra detail.

Makes the van more colourful and I like the look of hanging textiles. Good way to display extra pearl buttons, mismatched beads, found objects that might be tucked in a drawer at the moment.


I craft a lot in the road; making a lot of functional soft furnishings like pillow cases and rugs.

I’m a bit better at social media at the moment, if you are interested, you can see more regular photos and updates via instagram!

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