A young friend had been collecting novelty Christmas fabrics and had amassed three bags of “all sorts,” to one day make into quilts for her children. The challenge eventually came my way to think of a way to put the eclectic mix together into three quilts. Here’s what resulted …

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Child’s Vest Pattern.

I found this leaflet pattern in the op shop which looks way too retro. The basic pattern is perfect to knit up for children 6 – 12 years, so here is a modern take on an old pattern.

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Bees Wax Wraps

I recently made these wraps with a group and thought I’d share what we used and where I found the things I needed here in NZ. The refined yellow beeswax pellets are from NZ Beeswax Ltd in Geraldine, the damar gum (instead of pine resin, it still gives the wrap it’s tackiness) is from ‘Shaman’s Garden’ in Nelson, and good old coconut oil from the supermarket. Below is the recipe we followed:

Wax Wraps: You need these approximate proportions

  • Fabric: wax mix is enough to do quarter of a metre, cut 50cm x 33 cm and 25cm x 33cm (or any dimensions you want!)
  • 40g bees wax (55 pellets)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (you can use olive oil but it may wash out too easily later on)
  • Optional is a sprinkle of damar gum or pine resin for tackiness


  • Spread 1 Tbsp coconut oil over your fabric.
  • Lay it in a clean tray and sprinkle with cut up/grated bees wax and a pinch of gum
  • Melt in a moderate/low oven until melted
  • Brush it over with a baster to mix the wax and oil and gum, may need to reheat if it cooled and went lumpy.
  • Carry tray to a line and hang dripping fabric on line to cool.

NB: I used an old electric frying pan and melted the wax, oil and gum first, then added the fabric and stirred it around.

NOTE: Beeswax will discolour if over- heated. You can re-wax your wrap if it loses its tackiness over time. To clean, wipe over with a wet cloth or run under cold water and leave on bench to dry before storing. Don’t wash with hot soapy water or it will disperse your wax (not good).

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I use an old electric frying pan and just wipe it out afterwards. Can be done in an oven tray.

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Using an old silicon baster, you’ll never get your good one clean!

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It will leave beeswax residue on what you hang it on so don’t use your good clothes rack!

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The wrap is great for the 1 kg block of cheese

There’s something about pockets on a plain cardigan that takes it up a level. Here’s a simple ‘pocket pattern’ to add to any plain pattern you already have. I’ve knitted in an ‘L’ but you can knit on anything that will fit.

Pockets for Child’s Cardigan

Cast on 18 stitches and knit 1 row

Increase each end of the next 3 rows as you work in stocking stitch, (24 stitches)

Stocking stitch another 20 rows

Rib k1, p1 for 6 rows then cast off.

Pin then stitch to your cardigan about 4 rows above the rib or wherever you think it looks right!

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Black baby hoodie

One of my all time favourite patterns is this free baby hoodie from favecrafts. It’s knitted in 8ply (DK) and only uses 4 x 50g balls. I’ve knitted it heaps of times but this is the first time in black 🙂 https://www.favecrafts.com/Knit-Baby-Clothes/Baby-Hoodie-Knitting-Pattern

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Another favourite is Sublime’s,  ‘Henry Tank,’ pattern from the third book (612).black hoodie and vest 005

Prem Baby Set

I have a friend who has just had a 1.6 kg baby. This is a cute pattern that I’m hoping will fit. Found at this site it’s knitted in four ply. It looks so tiny!  http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/my_pages/babywear/hkp/017.shtml

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Medlar Jelly

A friend gave me some medlars to have a go at making jelly from this very old fashioned fruit. Picked when still hard and green, you leave them in a cool place until they have bletted. That means they ripen until they are soft, brown and a bit squishy. When you bite into a green medlar they are incredibly astringent and inedible, once bletted they lose that astringency but still don’t taste great, a cross between earthy leaf mold and rotten pear. On line there are heaps of recipes, I followed the basic jelly recipe of:

  • In a large pot put fruit, a roughly chopped lemon and apple (for extra pectin) and barely cover with water.
  • Bring slowly to the boil then simmer until the fruit is very mushy and water has lots of flavour (mine took about half an hour.)
  • Strain fruit through a cloth bag, don’t squeeze (but I always do) and save the juice.
  • Measure juice into a pot by the cup full. Bring to the boil then add the same number cups of sugar.
  • Boil until it’s ready to set, then pour into sterilised jars.

The resulting medlar jelly is a dark pink, a bit tart and has an amazing flavour. It set really well so I think medlars must have lots of pectin by themselves. It’s a bit like a strong quince jelly but more tasty.

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‘Fragrant’ Medlar Jelly