Knitting for the 21st century

    Knitters and crocheters are traditionally people that knit and crochet caringly for other people, to provide them with warmth and cheery colours. In this modern world, one would have thought that knitting would never make a come back. But, here it is: knitting and crocheting fundi's take to the streets with their handiwork to brighten up the dull lives of others in their own caring way. This newest craze is called graffiti knitting or yarn bombing.

Yarn bombing takes that most matronly craft (knitting) and that most maternal of gestures (wrapping something cold in a warm blanket) and transfers it to the concrete and steel wilds of the urban streetscape. Hydrants, lampposts, mailboxes, bicycles, cars - even objects as big as buses and bridges - have all been bombed in recent years, ever so softly and usually at night.

This graffiti movement got a boost in 2009 with the publication of the book "Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti" by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain (knitters from Vancouver Canada). It is part coffee-table book with colour photographs of creative bombs and part tutorial with tips like wearing "ninja" black to avoid capture.

The book borrows from the vernacular of street graffiti and half-jokingly positions yarn bombing as an illicit alternative for knitters bored making yet another Christmas sweater. It asks readers to get off their rocking chairs and "take back the knit".

Ideas Magazine teamed up with the Gauteng Homemakers Expo this year to showcase Yarn Bombing with a house, as well as all of its contents covered in wool! The wool used was donated to Knit a Square who then joined all the items together to make blankets, scarves and woollen hats for charity. The South African National Gallery, the statue entitled "Africa" in St. George's Mall and the Biscuit Mill area have also all been the recipients of knit graffiti.

See more at Isabeau's website and Homemakers Expo.

Yarn Bombing

New wind farm to power PE

The construction of a R550 million wind farm in Van Stadens, between Port Elizabeth and Jeffrey's Bay, has been given the go ahead. The government asked last year for proposals from renewable energy producers for the construction and operation of wind farms in the province.

Initially over 53 applications were received and were screened down to 28 preferred bidders. These were whittled down further to the top 5, including Metrowind Van Stadens Wind Farm, Red Cap Kouga Wind Farm, Dorper Wind Farm, Jeffrey's Bay Wind Farm and Cookhouse Wind Farm. This month MetroWind van Stadens was granted the licence by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and construction is scheduled to start in September 2012.

A distinguishing feature of the project is that it will connect directly on site into the Nelson Mandela Bay grid, effectively eliminating any risk of Eskom delaying connection or placing the project ahead of others. It is expected to be able to start supplying the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality and Eskom with power in October next year.

This injection of renewable energy into the grid late next year will ensure that PE Metro will not experience load shedding when demand exceeds supply in the Metro and/or Eskom grid, as it will be a net producer of electricity for the area.

The MetroWind Van Stadens Wind Farm will create 180 jobs during the construction period, of which 175 will be based in SA and 130 will be filled by previously disadvantaged nationals (PDI). 13 permanent operational jobs will be created of which 12 will be SA-based and nine will be filled by PDIs.

Source : Business Day

MetroWind van Stadens Wind farm

Smallest gardens

Bringing nature into the home is easy even when space is limited. The smallest gardens can bring unending delight to children and will invoke intriguing comments from visiting guests too.

A windowsill or shelf or even the fridge can host a variety of plants. Any item that can hold a stalk, or retain a little moisture is a perfect container for the smallest garden.

Some ideas for containers:

  • Thimbles
  • Wine corks
  • Nut shells
  • Egg shells
  • Toothpaste caps
  • Deodorant lids
  • Mugs / tea cups
  • Snail shells
  • Sea shells
  • Drinking straws
Succulents would be the most ideal type of plant to plant in such containers, as they require minimal water, minimal maintenance and are hardy, therefore being the easiest plants to grow.

Soleirolia soleirolii, Irish moss (Sagina suulata) and some herbs with small leaves like thyme and oregano would also be perfect, remembering that these plants require a little more watering and care than succulents.

Replace the soil every so often, or top it up with a few drops of organic fertiliser to keep the nutrient level of the soil high. This will prevent diseases on the plants.

Smallest Gardens

Tranquil upmarket estuary living

The sleepy town of Knysna (originally a small port) has evolved and established itself around the Knysna Estuary, an attractive body of water with steeply sloping hills covered in Cape fynbos. The town picturesquely adorns the banks and hill slopes interspersed with plantations and indigenous forest without overwhelming the inherent natural beauty of the area.

One of Knysna's latest successful developments, Thesen Island, set in the Knysna lagoon, offers a safe & secure upmarket holiday environment. This island was initially a sawmill owned and run by the Thesen family for 50 years from 1924 - 1974 until it was sold to Barlow Rand. By the mid 1980's Barlow Rand realised that their ecologically unfriendly factory was out of place both from a visual and environmental perspective in this quaint and colourful arty and tourist-orientated seaside town.

Dr Chris Mulder, an urban designer and landscape architect, presented them with the viable solution of converting the island into an eco-environment by means of an upmarket housing estate with a sensitively designed shopping centre, incorporating hotels and restaurants.

Great care was taken to ensure that nature and the environment had priority. The poisoned soil was decontaminated and over 20 000 trees were planted to line the roads, waterways and gardens. A community vegetable garden, a bird sanctuary, thriving mudflats full of sand prawns and estuarine sea creatures have transformed the sooty smoke laden eyesore into the serene and picturesque Thesen Harbour Town - a town within a town - an example of what can be achieved with mindful and attentive planning.

Some of these beautiful modern homes are available to rent for a peaceful holiday surrounded by nature and calm and tranquil waters, and time can be spent quietly cruising along the waterways passing under gracious arched bridges that connect the 19 man-made islands.

Thesen Island

Hot News

Biggest Mandela Day yet

Mandela Day (18th July) is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.

Mandela Activities

Featured Plant

Begonia Dregei

Begonia Dregei
(Dwarf Wild Begonia)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous sub shrub to 300mm with small dainty white flowers.

Flowering time :

Summer - Winter

Conditions :

  • Shade
  • Average Water
  • Evergreen
  • Sheltered warm position
  • Some frost resistance
  • Light soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

The Berry Box White 2011

Winery : Edgebaston
Winemaker : David Finlayson

Description :

An off-dry white blend of 62% Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Semillon and 11% Viognier picked from three separate sites in Stellenbosch.

Palate : The three varieties each lend their own character to the wine. The Semillon starts as a youthful, fresh green leafy flavours that will mature into honeyed, waxy flavours as the wine evolves. The Sauvignon Blanc adds a tropical fruit and green apple flavour with a zesty acidity. The Viognier supports the acid with richness and stonefruit flavours.

Winemaking : This wine has been made in a style that will change and develop over time in the bottle. Grapes were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks and aromatic yeast strains add to the fruitiness of the freshly fermented wines.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Swiss Chard

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • None
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    June's Teaser Answer :
    "Rule of thumb"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82