The Red Balloon Homecraft Gazette
Volume 15—April 2005
Well, here it is - the new-look, more colourful, more cheery, and hopefully more inspiring Homecraft Gazette! Send us a quick email and let us know what you think…
What's on in April & May
Country Craft Market
27, 30 April, 8am-1pm, Southey's Vines, 186 Main Rd, Somerset West
Franschhoek Craft Market
30 April, 8.30am-2pm, Main Rd, between NG Kerk & Town Hall
Durbanville Craft Market
7 May, 8.30am-2pm, Rust en Vrede, Wellington Rd, Durbanville
Kenridge Craft Market
30 April, 9am-2pm, Door de Kraal Avenue, Kenridge
Kirstenbosch Craft Market
24 April, 9am-3pm, opposite main Kirstenbosch entrance
Rondebosch Craft Market
7 May, 9am-3pm, cnr Campground & Sandown Rd
Constantia Craft Market
23 April & 1 May, 9am-2.30pm, Alphen Common
Camphill Village Market
1 May, 11am-4pm, Klein Dassenberg Rd, near Atlantis
Hout Bay Craft Market
Every Sunday, 10am-5pm, Hout Bay Village Green, Main Rd
Waterfront Craft Market
Daily, 9.30am-6pm, The Blue Shed, V&A Waterfront

Craft focus: Hand-knitting
It's being called "the new yoga" and lately it's found as much popularity amongst film stars and high school students as it always has with doting grannies awaiting the birth of their first grandchild... surprised? I'm not. I've been a closet knitter since the day my wonderful gran taught me to cast on at age 6. I say "closet" because in my generation (born in the 70s) it's always been considered a totally uncool occupation. I would have rather been caught reading my maths textbook for fun than knitting!

But apparently all that is changing and I don't have to hide my shameful secret anymore. It seems Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz had something to do with the resurgence of the craft, when they were spotted bravely sitting knitting during breaks on set. It's caught on big-time in the USA, particularly with young professional women who need a break from the stress of their careers; I've chatted with a few people lately who know something about crafts in South Africa, and they all agree with me: it's time to dust off your knitting needles and rescue the wool from the cat, because knitting is back!

I have fond memories of spending rainy school holiday afternoons with my mother, in my parents' room on the double bed, watching Wimbledon on TV, and both of us entirely absorbed in whatever knitting projects we were busy with at the time. We bonded in a special way on those long cosy afternoons, and knitting patterns and wool were the currency.

My sister-in-law in Sydney is also a prolific knitter, and we too have bonded over a knitting craze - when I visited there last year she introduced me to a gorgeous yarn, which all the Sydneysiders use to make scarves (they're not afraid of their darker sides!). So we each bought a few balls, she lent me some needles, and as my brother drove us around on sightseeing trips the two of us knitted away happily, and I came home with two exquisite scarves. That's the beauty of knitting: it's completely portable, and, unless you're following a particularly complex pattern, with a little bit of practice you can multitask - watch TV, read, or even go sightseeing, and still keep right on knitting at the same time!

Certain types of knitting have taken on the form of art (think Kaffe Fassett), and you can knit anything from dolls' clothes and chunky jerseys to stylish cushion covers and fashionable bags. But a tip to prospective grannies and aunties out there - unless you've asked first or are sure they'll be liked, do steer clear of old-style matinee jackets and bootees - they're a little out of favour with most new moms... Rather knit some bright, funky, fashionable garments for the new arrival - you can be sure they'll be appreciated and worn often.

If you're feeling inspired and would like to learn how to knit, then try a book specially for beginners, and in no time you'll be knitting all kinds of things!

For loads of free patterns, head over to this Australian yarn company's web site, or look here for some free poncho patterns - and you've gotta know by now that ponchos are huge fashion this year! Find out how knitting and weaving are uniting Bosnian women who were formerly enemies, and for a final smile, take a look at this adorable poem about a knitting leprechaun.

Over to you: email us and tell us your knitting stories. Can you knit or can't you? And if you can't, would you like to learn? What are your favourite items to knit? And, of course, do you have any tips for us?
For your baby
We have another fabulous new book to give away this month, courtesy of Metz Press. Full of patterns for all kinds of baby goodies, For My Baby, written by Linette Maritz, will keep new moms and grans stitching for weeks!

To stand a chance of winning this book for yourself or a friend, just click here to answer one easy question and provide us with your name and contact details. The winner will be contacted via email by the 6th of May.

Congratulations to Tracey-Lee Loots, who won a copy of Garden Flowers, from the David and Charles Cross-stitch Collection, in our March competition.
Competition Picture
Tips for crafters
  • A couple of ways to use photographs that don’t quite fit into your scrapbook: You could photocopy a couple of pictures of your children in black and white, and transfer them onto a set of plain pillowcases, using Dala Picture Perfect - makes a great gift for grandma! Get the instructions here. Or use a selection of photos of holidays or pets to make placemats and coasters - simply have them copied and laminated.
  • The Buitenverwachting Bear Fair takes place on 2 May at the Buitenverwachting Farm in Constantia. Contact the festival organiser, Sanette Gibson, on 082 880 1403 for more information.
  • Workshops at the V&A Waterfront:
    Box Decoupage: 9 - 10 April
    Flower Pot Mosaic: 9 - 10 April
    Soap Crafting: 23 & 24 April
    Booking is essential: (021) 408 7842.
  • The House of Paint is offering a free paint technique workshop at their Kenilworth store (Shop F3, Access Park) on 16 April. The workshop, starting at 10am, will focus on achieving colour harmony.

That's all for this edition. Have an awesome April and don’t forget to forward the new-look Gazette to anyone you think may have an interest in crafts!


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On the bookshelf

The latest title to be released by Metz Press is For My Baby, a book intended for new mothers who think they can't sew - they will soon discover how wrong they have been. The brightly-coloured pages include patterns for items such as a changing mat, nappy stacker, toy barrel, carrybag and the ever-popular feeding donkey. One of the best things about this book is that it comes packaged with all the patterns you will need, printed on strong white paper and ready to cut out - no tracing or enlarging is necessary. Making items for the nursery yourself allows you to be selective in terms of the colours and fabric used, and to stick to a theme you have chosen. And of course, it allows you to feel extra-proud when taking visitors to "see the baby's room"! We will let you know where you can get hold of this book as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, enter this month's competition and you could win a copy!

Over to you

Please send any information or requests to

Tell us about:
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  • What you'd like to see more of in this newsletter
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  • Your knitting stories
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  • Tips and tricks you’ve discovered

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