Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa, near the town of Natanya, there is a small swamp. Its slopes are overgrown with dense thickets, thistles and brushwood, it is very hard to climb down to it. Three weeks ago my husband tried to reach it. Our dog Dafi was with him and he realized after some minutes that this would be much too hard on her, she is not young any more. Of course she would have followed him faithfully, nevertheless he took pity on her and returned home. But down there in that stretch of quagmire happens to bloom a miracle flower in recent weeks, which left him no peace. He had heard about it, and he had gotten a glimpse of it the first time, and now he wanted to go back there with his camera and bring proof of this beauty home. 
So a week later off he went again, this time without the dog. He somehow mastered the descent. Luckily he had taken my hiking stick from the car with him, which saved him from a wet slip. He just went step after step and when the stick suddenly went deeper down into plain water, he just stopped, stood still and photographed. He came home scratched and bruised, but look how worthwhile it was!

Those are absolute marvelous,  gorgeous,  outstanding plants,  floating on the water, their blossoms big like a fist, growing on a fat stem, the delicate petals in very light purple color, adorned with dark purple patterns and lines, and with a yellow dot. The leaves are heavy and fleshy. It is said the growth gets so compact that a person could walk on it. My husband did not try this!

Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes - yakinton ha maim, יקינטון המים in Hebrew - yes it is very pretty! But why did I call it a devil flower? It belongs to the group of invasive plants, and wherever it invades there is no going back to normal habitat. It is native to the Amazon basin in South America, and was brought to Africa because of its beauty. It has become a real plague in this continent. Since the sixties of last century it has spread over large regions of the Nile and causes serious problems. It claimed as well territory in Lake Victoria and is reported to be a big nuisance in Ethiopia, and in other countries of the world, including Australia. It threatens the Eco system and is very difficult to control and destroy. It grows very fast, it can double its population in two weeks.

If you have a pond in your garden - ahhhhhhh no, don't dare! Don't get lured by this adorable beauty, it will overgrow and destroy your pond in no time!

Water Hyacinth had occupied areas in the Yarkon River here in Israel sixty years ago and was fought vehemently and destroyed by the nature authorities. Today it can be found in isolated small swamps and is watched very carefully.

All photos taken by Uri Eshkar, please zoom in to get the full benefit!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This is not my typewriter, I took the copyright free photo from the Internet. I meant the focal point to be on the musical piece, but everyone loves the typewriter! :-)

Open that link, enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


 "What is hell? What is paradise? Surely it is all inside. In our homes. You can find hell and paradise in every room. Behind every door. Under every double blanket. It's like this: A little wickedness, and people are hell to each other. A little compassion, a little generosity, and people find paradise in each other."

Amos Oz - A tale of Love and Darkness

And I would say: it is as easy as that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a paradise day, week and life everyone!


I did not felt anything other than bags so far, and actually I think I will stick with some more of those. But of course a variety of items can be felted, slippers, vests, little hearts, needle cases, hats, pin cushions, and small toy animals, just to name a few.
The basic for felting is: 100% wool, (never with "Superwash" on the label, this wool is treated NOT to shrink), or special felt wool, knitting or crocheting a pattern, felting by using soap, very warm water, and agitation. Most practically and quickly this is done in the washing machine, but if you have strong arms, good felting can be acquired too by working on the material in a basin with your hands. After this process, the quite ugly looking wet lump resulting in it, has to be molded into the desired form. This can be done by stretching it or blocking it, or filling it up with stuff. The woolen fabric is very forgiving it its wet state. But beware, once it has dried, that's it - nothing can be changed any more. I figured, that for me it works out best when felting in the washing machine with a normal cycle of 40 degree warm water, without spinning. Heavy spinning can cause permanent creases. I take the bag out of the machine, put it on a towel and roll it gently to squeeze the excess water out. The key word here is: gently. With wringing violently and stepping on it it will be creased permanently too!

Then I put a pillow in a plastic bag and this goes in my crocheted or knitted bag, to puff it out, to achieve the design I had in mind. In addition wherever needed, I stuff crunched plastic bags inside. Once I am pleased with the look, I let it dry - this can take two or three days. I make all the extras, like pockets, flaps and handles separately. I will often have to carefully iron the flaps and pockets after they are dry, with a damp piece of fabric over them, to get them nice and flat. The handles I stretch on the ironing board with pins for drying. After everything is completely dry I sew those pieces on by hand, line the bag with fabric and embellish it.

This olive green and turquoise bag was crocheted with half double crochet stitches, and I want to talk about those versus single crochet stitches (halbe Staebchen und feste Maschen). In my opinion single crochet stitches give a much better result, as you can see here:

Of course crocheting double or half double crochet stitches will finish a bag quickly, but the outcome is not so pretty.
I also knitted a bag, but I have to finish it, before I can show you. Felting a knitted piece comes out very nice, but as I said crocheting gives faster results, at least with me. :-) On a perfectly felted item, the stitches should not be recognizable any more - till now I did not completely arrive at this goal, mainly because I learned that felting with more than 40 degree water temperature will give a dense result, but can destroy the colors.

Anyway in both cases, crochet or knit, the bag or whatever item, has to be worked much bigger and with thicker needles, two or three sizes higher than usual. The reason is, because the item  will shrink a sufficient amount while felting, and because the stitches have to be larger, to give room for shrinking. Usually the piece will shrink about 30 to 40 percent, and it will shrink more in height, than in width with a knitted piece and in reverse with a crocheted piece. This has to be taken into consideration while figuring out the size of any item. To be on the safe side, a patch should be worked and felted to determine the exact amount of shrinking - measuring before and after will tell to the point what needs to be known. The temperature has also to be taken into account, I ruined two bags, which I felted on 60 degrees and the color bled and washed out (I did not felt a swatch before!)

When a piece is felted properly, it will not unravel any more. Shapes like petals can be cut out and arranged and sewn into a flower. Lovely appliqued embellishments can be made this way.

So this is what I learned so far - maybe you want to give it a try too. Then next winter a cozy felted bag will remind you of its making in summer. It will be very comforting in cold weather - and will look pretty too!

P.S. Any small mistakes made while knitting or crocheting will disappear during felting. An easy way to crochet a simple bag, will be the bucket  design. Just crochet a circle in single crochet stitches. The rule here is: the number of stitches you have in your first round, you have to increase in each following round till your circle is as big as you want it to be. If you start with six single crochet stitches, then you will double each one in the next round (12), then every second one (18), every third one (24) and so on. When your circle is big enough just stop increasing and crochet straight up till to your desired height. Remember to make it much bigger, it will shrink a lot. If you use one color you can crochet spiral rounds, just go round and round, without joining them. If you are crocheting stripes, you have to join your rounds with a slip stitch (Kettmasche) to get your stripes butt up. In this case always put a stitch marker in your first stitch. Use a one number smaller hook for the last round and for the handles. Crocheting in the back (or front) loops only will make a less dense surface. Crochet the handles and the bottom always in both loops. Flaps and pockets (which are not on the round) are done with one row in back loops and one row in front loops, alternating.
You can line your bag with cotton fabric, or just leave it as it is, it is quite strong after felting.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I CAN'T STOP IT... :-)

Just by chance there was another orange pack of wool in the basket - this is pure mohair and it felted nicely. The braided handle waited in my workroom for months just for the right use! :-)

In my next post I will talk a bit about felting and about what I learned so far.


Crocheted, felted, one worked-in pocket on the front, one sewn-on pocket for cellphone or glasses on the back, fabric lining with one pocket. Very pretty, very practical, beads just for fun! It went along with a new owner and I forgot to measure it, it is approximately 10" wide and 12" high.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Sunday morning, praise the dawning
It's just a restless feeling by my side
Early dawning, Sunday morning
It's just the wasted years so close behind

Watch out, the world's behind you
There's always someone
around you who will call
It's nothing at all

Sunday morning and I'm falling
I've got a feeling I don't want to know
Early dawning, Sunday morning
It's all the streets you
crossed, not so long ago

Watch out, the world's behind you
There's always someone
around you who will call
It's nothing at all

Watch out, the world's behind you
There's always someone
around you who will call
It's nothing at all

Sunday morning
Sunday morning
Sunday morning