Can’t do them all

At times we are our own worst enemies – I get carried away thinking I can do it all but there just aren’t enough hours (or even the means) to do everything I want to do. I’m not talking about household management or maintenance here by the way😊

(Think colourwork, stranded or intarsia – that beautiful ‘all over’ look of Fair Isle being a favourite. Aran with all its different interpretations of cables. Baby and children woolies in all shapes, sizes, styles and designs- get the picture 😊)

A ‘favourite’ blog I like to visit and ultimately get lost in is Gansey Nation – written by Gordon Reid, who lives in far north Scotland, in the small town of Wick (just south of John O’Groats).  It’s a blog about ganseys/guernseys – his current project on the needles, (on which there’s a weekly report) and how to knit them. As well as – sometimes very humorous – daily happenings in his and others lives.
The website address is: ‘a blog celebrating the traditional hand-knitted pullovers worn by the fishermen of the British Isles.source

So when I saw this in the libraryI knew it had to come home with me. A pick up/put down large sized book – not quite what I was expecting – just a little about the history, mostly (as the back cover says) The ultimate sourcebook for Gansey knitting techniques and stitch patterns.

The sections on ‘gussets and shoulder strap’s’ would definitely be useful if I were to knit a traditional Gansey – in the round . Pages and pages of stitch pattern designs with knitted samples to look at, tidbits of information like possible origins and interpretations of the motifs eg cables/ropes made interesting reading.

Close to the end there’s some author designed ‘projects’.
This one for a child caught my eye

……until I saw this ?project/review on Ravelry and changed my mind
Instead I’ll take the idea and work it into those little ‘me do it’s’ I make

Which meant that even though I’d been eyeing up some more ‘left overs’ to use up, with the word Gansey/guernsey running round my mind I fished around and pulled out some full balls of fawn instead. There’s a ‘simple’ version of one in this book – one I’ve knit before

And have started again!

Its time for Unraveled Wednesday  hosted by Kat…
Why don’t you pop over and see what’s going on

Leftovers again!!

You know how some shelves in your freezer seem to be dedicated to ‘left overs’ ( things too ‘good’ to throw away, that can maybe be added to other ingredients to make a meal) well I seem to have accumulated an awful lot of left over yarn. Bags and bags of it shoved into stored in other larger bags.

Just one – there are more 😊

So here we are following on from my attempt a few weeks ago and working with the principle that ‘from little things big things grow’ (combine lots of little things….) plus ‘make hay while the sun shines’ (because sunny autumnal days are never to be sneezed at) – I’ve an idea in mind and look I even found some cute buttons (in my large collection of left overs of course) that hopefully will work. So as they say – watch this space!

Sadly the plain orange ones are a tad too small

And for once I have actually begun to enjoy my reading
the world without us – Mireille Juchau. (book club)
Two chapters in and eager for more

It has been six months since Tess Müller stopped speaking. Her silence is baffling to her parents, her teachers and her younger sister, Meg. But the more urgent mystery for both girls is where their mother, Evangeline, goes each day, pushing an empty pram. When their father Stefan discovers a car wreck and human remains on their farm, old secrets emerge to threaten the fragile family. A storm is coming and the Müllers are in its path

~ ~ ~ ~
And look at this , just by magic- because I didn’t publish this post earlier in the month – here’s the finished cardigan (now tucked away in the charity box) plus a ‘lovely little book’ spotted on a library shelf, sitting there waiting for me to find it. Lots of short ‘stories/essays’ by knitters about- what else but – their stash of yarn. It’s been a great book to dip into, with each chapter just the right length to enjoy while resting my hands. Have any of you read it?

Not sure about those buttons but they’re all I had and little boys or girls will love them

Its time for Unraveled Wednesday  hosted by Kat…….As Kat Knits……
Time to pop over and see what’s going on

Gosh, what am I going to do with that…

My initial reaction to a gift I was given late last year

…..”Mum ordered this online – it’s described as Pale Marigold but isn’t exactly what she thought it would be, she thinks it’s too bright . She knows you knit for charity and you’ll welcome it..

(‘Mum’ is a longtime friend who moved to another suburb
daughter lives locally)
~ ~ ~ ~

By the time I took this photo back in early March (for a post I had in mind but never got round to) I’d had a rethink – yes, it’s a bit bright – not quite orange..not quite yellow…youngsters like bright, I’d rephrased my thoughts to something like – Never look a gift horse In the mouth – because I knew it would be welcome wherever it went and by whoever wore it.

So another tried and true pattern had come out of the pile. Styled for a little girl, with a lace panel on the front and sleeves but easily adapted for a boy by leaving them off.
Then I got sidetracked and this was put to one side – it’s only just recently I’ve been able to say that from the 300gms I’d been gifted I managed to produce both a jumper/sweater and cardigan (similar sizing) adding the same lacy design to both of them

With a mind going round in circles recently, I’ve begun to take slow walks again.
The piles of recently fallen leaves at the local park reminded me that nothing (or very little) lasts forever and to enjoy life in whatever way you can.
Those thoughts plus the addition of some beautiful sunny days helped chase the blues away

So what if I had to drive to a place that was within walking distance – those extra 500m downhill one way (then uphill coming back – with no conveniently placed roadside benches,) would have had me exhausted.
It’s what happens there that makes the difference 😊

Feeding the inner child

And the book I began – In a Strange Room – well unlike the knitting, I didn’t return and finish it…’s sitting on the shelf waiting for me to pick it up – sometime.

It’s Wednesday again
the first Wednesday in a (another) new month
This time it’s the first Wednesday in May 2023.

So I’m sharing today’s post at Denyse’s weekly link up called Wednesday’s Words & Pics . Why don’t you pop over and see who’s there this week

( Does anyone know where April went?)


They’re all the same…just a little bit different

Say hello to some little things I’ve had bubbling away in the background. A couple of little newborn sets for the baby programme…..knit over the last few weeks using left overs from other projects….from years ago in some cases 😊

Those odd ‘bits of this, bits of that’ half & less balls were getting out of hand
or should I say…..filling the bag and needed to be used up.
There was enough for backs as well as fronts on another two, not all 8plys are equal so they turned out slightly larger. The charity welcomes ‘traditional baby colours’

Just hanging around

Made using a ‘favourite’ adaptable pattern…..we’ve all got them haven’t we😊.
This one couldn’t be easier if it tried – after the rib band the back is straight, on the fronts the only decrease to think about is for the neckline starting half way up and the sleeves consist of a rib band, several side increases then straight knitting with the cast off all in one line.

Here’s some others I prepared earlier 😊

It’s a style that lends itself to so many interpretations…. Over the years some worked – others, well they weren’t a fail, let’s just say I wouldn’t try it again (the fisherman’s rib pattern was too chunky for the sizing- but that’s what the recipient wanted)

Sometimes where reading is concerned – a bit like food and knitting when things aren’t going the way you’d like them to – ‘comfort’ books are all you want. What I call Australian historical is often where I go to….especially to those written by Darry Fraser. They are ‘lose yourself’ novels many of them about strong females in a man’s world in 1800s Australia

Elsa Goody Bushranger – Darry Fraser

When Elsa Goody’s father and brother George die in quick succession she and her sister Rosie are in trouble. Pursued by an unpleasant suitor with dubious motivation, Elsa leaves for Victoria on the hunt for a fortune in gold coins that her brother has hidden. If Elsa can find it she will be able to save Rosie and herself from married slavery.

…..  Unraveled Wednesday  hosted by Kat…….As Kat Knits……
is on again! Pop over and see what’s going on.


I call them..‘me do its’

It’s Wednesday again – that middle of the week day.
Some days have been and gone – some have yet to arrive
I don’t know why but this year seems to be galloping along at quite a pace, this is the last Wednesday in March… month of autumn gone already – and to make matters worse the clocks go back this weekend 🙁🙁😕…..

A while ago in amongst their requests the charity was asking for children’s woolies.
Jumpers/Sweaters were included – unlike 2019 when they were frowned on
When a friend sent me the message she had reworded it this way
2/3yr olds need functional – added colour optional.

Functional to me means serves its purpose
works well with no stress
So I dug around in ‘the pile’ and came up with an old Totem booklet

And what could be less stressful (and oh so quick & easy to knit) than these little *left hand blue* ones that I call ‘ me do its’
Easy to put on, no recognised front or back, no problem with getting it right.
No stress on child trying to be independent…..or supervising adult😊

Usual run of the mill

These four are now sitting in the charity box ready for delivery soon. I had fun doing the little cars, one row on the chest and the other near the hem added a bit of interest…..not as much as the frequent tangled threads situation. Three different colours plus the main in use on every row was interesting. I really enjoy intarsia….but prefer fair isle where I have no problem whatsoever.

A little bit different
Lots of fun

(I was working on the royal blue/yellow one during that ‘interesting’ craft morning)

My reading has come to a standstill
As much as I wanted I just couldn’t get into A Sand Archive……the March selection at what I call my ‘real book club’.
It’s all well and good the library encouraging readers to open their minds to different authors and supplying the books but sometimes those choices sound ‘good/interesting’, start off great then turn out to be strange – and very disappointing
So we’ll say no more about this month’s offering!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today I’m sharing my post at Denyse’s weekly link up called Wednesday’s Words & Pics
~ ~ ~ ~
Wednesday is also the day Kat hosts ‘Unraveled Wednesday ‘.so I’m sharing my post – and if you’d like to see what others are knitting, reading and talking about just click on the link

There are websites and there are deep rabbit holes……

You know your friends know and understand you when they send you things like this

One also sent me a link to a section at Trove containing ‘very old’ knitting patterns –

Trove is an Australian online library database owned by the National Library of Australia in which it holds partnerships with source providers National and State Libraries Australia, source

Vintage knitting patterns from newspapers & magazines :

And….if you love old magazines, here’s a copy of The Australian Women’s Mirror dated 26 August 1953 to read

And….as a treat perhaps this might interest you

Cosy knitted brassiere – using ‘silver sheen’ 2ply with UK size 11/3.00mm

The pattern can be found here –

This is one rabbit hole I’m not going to want to come out of 😊
~ ~ ~

And talking of rabbits – we grabbed a quick photo
before my friend took these off to her house for safekeeping

I do have some other things on the go….
A bit of craft for those in need – back to the little ones….must use up some odds and ends before they breed 😊

And the new book club read – A Sand Archive – very Australian…not too far from here

Seeking stories of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a young writer stumbles across a manual from a minor player in the road’s history, FB Herschell. It is a volume unremarkable in every way, save for the surprising portrait of its author that can be read between its lines: a vision of a man who writes with uncanny poetry about sand.

in the mean time, now my eyes are ‘under control’ again, I’m changing my name to Alice (which just happened to be my mum’s name😊) and am going back down, down down deeper than down….’you know where’

I’m sharing this post with ‘Unraveled Wednesday ‘ hosted by Kat

Forget the ‘yarn snobs’…it’s a Long Weekend!

I should have known better….it’s not as if I don’t have enough to keep me busy during the week….anyway I said maybe when a friend asked …..and then allowed myself to be persuaded……to go along with her to a newly formed ‘drop in’ craft group…..held at one of our larger local libraries
That’s where I came across it again. It being almost a ‘wool/yarn one-upmanship’
A certain type of snobbery that lingers amongst some members of the craft community

Settling in for the morning I spent a lot of time fielding various questions

  • What are you knitting?
  • What are you using?
  • Why on earth are you using that?
  • Oh I wouldn’t use that in a million years!
  • My dear, you should be buying this, that and the other
  • I spin (and dye) my own…always have….always will!

It’s difficult explaining to some the needs and wants of charity knitting. Charities need knitters to provide something warm for someone/something to wear – some will accept items knit with wool (natural fibre) others prefer acrylic (man made). Pros and cons for each yarn. Some refugee charities want flame resistant wool only; because donations are sent to ‘camps’ where open fires are used. Some homeless/ disadvantaged charities ask for acrylic; because laundering and drying (when possible) is a great deal easier.

I’ve often spoken about my choice of yarn to knit with (for charities) and this was the first time ever I had to defend it (plus my choice of using straight needles rather than circular or even DPNs). It was all rather strange and a bit disappointing. I then discovered this was actually an established group (who mentioned they preferred to be called fibre artists). who’d moved to the library – a cheaper meeting place option for them but advertising the group was part of ‘the deal’. 
I said goodbye ‘nicely’ and left wondering if I’d return.
My friend had no issues and was all for it….
Somehow I think my answer is no.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All that is now at the back of my mind as I slowly wake up this early Monday morning here in Melbourne- the 2nd Monday in March is an annual public holiday to ‘celebrate’ Labour Day – giving us a long weekend…..which Australians never say no to😊
It’s been almost like BC – before Covid – so much to see and do, things going on in the city – statewide as well. Moomba’s been the main one, with the parade and the Birdman Rally back again this year, and there’s been festivals associated with (to name a few) Potato, Food and Wine, Light, Music (folk, jazz, bush, Celtic) plus cultural ones as well

Labour Day celebrates the achievements of workers advocating eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.source

So why the photo of an umbrella – stapler – desiccated coconut and a pillow

Well these will be handy in some places in the world

Because it seems 13 March 2023 is

and the pillow is especially for those who turned their clocks forward last night

National Napping Day

Oh and here’s a little gem about a March 13th happening
(from the days before professional soccer players ruled the game)

In 1875 March 13th was on a Saturday. The Royal Engineers played against the Old Etonians in the fourth Football Association Challenge Cup Final.

* ……The first match was notable chiefly because it was played in a “howling gale”. The conditions considerably favoured the Etonians team, which had the wind at its backs for all but 10 minutes of the 90, and all 30 minutes of extra time (teams in this period changed ends after every goal- this game was the last to feature this rule)

This game was a draw…..the replay(which The Engineers won) was 3 days later

Cuthbert Ottaway (Old Etonians) received an ankle injury and did not recover in time for the replay…

*…..Etonians also lost the services of three other players who had prior commitments. Unable to obtain adequate replacements, the Old Boys arrived at the ground an hour late and lost the delayed replay 0–2


Linking to  Wednesday’s Words & Pics hosted by Denyse. 

The other side of the lane…..

Was entirely different to the one I showed you last month.

The light was different – it was in the shade
The ‘canvas’ the artists had to work with was entirely different
Large walls and the sides of two story buildings

These are just a few more of the murals in Fifth Lane Mackay

Sunny side
In the shade

If you want to see it best……Click/ tap or finger slide to enlarge

For more wonderful art – pop over to Monday Murals hosted by Sami
it’s a colourful world over there with lots to see

3 Large & 2 Small….

Sounds like something from a television show 😊

‘The Trio’ is finally finished and on its way to the charity. In the end I was quite pleased with them and maybe- just maybe- might be inclined to knit some more of that size…..sometime.

Sirdar 3213, 4265, 4273 – Size 26 chest

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

No sooner had I started to think about the Rabbit Project from last month than I had a call from a friend just returned from interstate telling me about her new Gt granddaughter.
Her very first Gt grandchild!

‘She was born just after the Lunar New Year- she’s a rabbit….her mother had a rabbit as a special toy when she was a child, I must see if I can find one for my little darling.’

And you can guess what happened after that😊

‘Cathy, if I provide the wool would you do me a favour – there’ll be no hurry- I was thinking, possibly for winter next year’

There was no need to think about it….of course I would.
Within days yarn in ‘deep’ soft colours arrived (not too light – not too dark), size (to fit 18mths) style (cardigan plus easy fit jumper) and chart design were agreed on

So all that was left was for me to start.

Much love is being knit into these garments – for the new life that will get to wear them and for the sweet sister who loved to wear hers


At the moment I’m listening to:-
Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey…….although I think maybe reading it might be better – I’m having a problem with the narrator’s voice.

At the moment I’m reading:-
The Tea Rose – Jennifer Donnelly…..just started and I think I’ll be at it quite a while. The copy I have is over 500 pages. If I fancy the other two in the series …..well, let’s just finish this one first 😊

And I guess I won’t be reading Jane Harper’s new release anytime soon. ExilesAaron Falk #3 – has an enormous hold list…..I’m there at 306…..bets on it could be May at least before I’m in the top 10!. I found The Dry a bit slow, enjoyed Force of Nature much more, hopefully this one (when I get it) is better still.

Wednesday is the day Kat hosts ‘Unraveled Wednesday 
I’m not sure where the month went but this is the first Wednesday in March so I’m sharing my post – pop over and discover what others are knitting, reading and talking about


Crochet like you’ve never seen before….

State borders being closed in 2021 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic meant we had to extend our ‘winter break’ in Far North Queensland.
I’ve mentioned previously we spent some of that extra time visiting Mackay, learning about a small city 950km north of Brisbane but just a couple of hours (190km) south of Bowen.

Of all the many crafts I’ve tried to learn over the years
there’s one I’ve never been able to master
But I do recognise and appreciate skill when I see I see it
These are just a few items from another exhibition I/we went to at Artspace Mackay.
Which I’m sure will appeal to many of you.
(I’m sorry but I can’t locate the description plates that tell what each exhibit is)
However the subject was Lichen -that ‘strange stuff’ that grows on things

Don’t Forget – if you want to see it best……Click/ tap or finger slide to enlarge







Previous posts from Artspace Mackay

But wait, there’s more….

The 2nd of the ‘big boy’ jumpers is finished.
And the 3rd in the trio is begun.
Another Sirdar pattern from the same era so I’ve just used the same measurements and adjusted the side panel stitches.
They should (hopefully) all be very similar in size

As simple as it looks
it took a little while to get the cable sequences right
and there were a few choice words spoken
and rows unpicked at one stage
so I might just chicken out
and do a plain back as well as plain sleeves

When all three are finished and finally on their way to Knit one Give one aka KOGO the time will have come to concentrate on something different- something close to my heart – something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

It’s two years to the day since Patsy my blond curly haired little sister died
Tribute – Sleep well my little one.

Next sister – Me – Little sister Patsy – Baby brother 1998

Take a look at this delightful photo (which I might have shown before) of Patsy (aged about 3)…….maybe just maybe, there might be some woolies coming up featuring little bunny rabbits. And as an aside it’ll be 20yrs on Saturday since my mum (she who knit Patsy’s rabbit jumper) died. These anniversaries are so hard on the heart.

I’m thinking my ‘2023 word to work with’ is going to be consider so I’ll have to think carefully about this one.
Cardigan or Jumpers (sweaters).
Size….can’t be too small or it will be dwarfed by the motif.
Colour……practical for children in unknown circumstances or ‘soft and pretty’ because that’s what she was.
I know there are graphs somewhere in amongst my patterns so guess what I’ll be doing today……if I don’t get sidetracked by my latest read .

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont is a very short book to begin a shorter than usual month. Hopefully this will rekindle enthusiasm after my short reading lull during the last month.

Apart from the two mentioned early last month there was just one more book finished during January.
The Commandant – Jessica Anderson.
Historical Fiction about Moreton Bay Penal Colony (later to become Brisbane), involving the strange combination of its real life controversial commander Patrick Logan plus his wife’s (fictional) sister Frances.
I didn’t make it to book club because covid had come visiting so after a reasonable pause this (January’s) book was delivered to my door. It would’ve been rude of me not to start it…….actually it turned out to be a very good read

Wednesday is the day Kat hosts ‘Unraveled Wednesday 
Today is also the first Wednesday in February so I’m sharing my post – pop over and discover what others are knitting, reading and talking about


Keeping your toes warm

Slippers – for the knitting of!

They come in one simple design – although there are variations to be found if you go looking.

They can be brightly coloured- soft and gentle – or even strong and sturdy

With these it’s whatever takes your fancy – or more likely whatever’s on hand

Several readers mentioned the slippers I showed recently so here are the instructions I was given by a friend many years ago. I thought it was from online but I was wrong.

(These photos are from a post I did years ago on another blog)
Click/ tap or finger slide to enlarge
The top one shows how they look on the final row
The lower one how they look when sewn and finished

The instructions suggested using 8ply/dk yarn 

(doubled – 2 strands knitted together to give the thickness for warmth)

and uk size 8/4mm knitting needles

but I’ve also made them in very chunky handspun wool for men – adjusting needle size and length 

Begin by casting on 3 stitches.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: Inc in 1st stitch, knit
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Knit.
Repeat rows 2 + 3 + 4 until 12 stitches.
That forms the heel section

Now you are about to make the foot part – the sole.
Cast on 11 at the beginning of the next row.
Knit 11, P1, knit to last stitch, P1 turn.
Cast on 11 stitches (34 stitches)

Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: K11, P1, K10, P1, K11.
Repeat rows 1 + 2, 17 times.
This is where you can lengthen if needed
– but remember they will stretch –

Then on to the toe area.
Row 1: K2, (P1 K1) x 5, K11 (P1 K1) x 5, K1.
Row 2: (K1 P1) x 6, K10, (P1 K1) x 6.
Repeat rows 1 + 2, 8 times.

Next row: K2 together to end of row (17 stitches)
Next row: Purl.
Next row: K2 together to last stitch, K1 (9 stitches)

Break off yarn (leaving a rather long tail)  and draw through stitches
Fasten off as tightly as you can
don’t cut the yarn short as you will need it to sew up the front

Now sew the cast on sides to heel gusset. You may have to ease to fit

Using the long tail where the toe is gathered
sew the ribbing up front to where garter stitching begins

turn right side out and hey presto – nice snug slippers (or bedsocks)

Yes, they are very basic
For a special gift you could use a circular needle
Pick up all the way round the opening and knit a collar
Or put a pompom at the front opening

These are simple and easy to make
Just the way I like them

Et voilà…

And there you go…..from flat to that – just like that!
Something that always amazes me
(And sometimes baffles and on one occasion definitely confused me)

Crossover Jacket link.
Tiny Trauma Teddy link
~ ~ ~

Slippers – no link. Obtained online years ago

I sometimes wonder what it is that intrigues me about these ‘all in one ‘ garments, they’re like those ‘one pot wonders’ the meals you can cook using only one pot
Take these ingredients, add your pot and see what emerges at the end.
Have needles- add yarn – a little twist here and there – no seperate pieces to mislay
And voilà – one item ready to wear.
~ ~ ~ ~
Back in November when I had a break between the back and front of the blue cable jumper this is what was keeping me amused. All in one knitted gloves – garter stitch, made on 2 needles.
Something I’ve been itching to make since coming across the pattern years ago

A group request for bright hats and gloves was all I needed
After discovering how easy they were to make I was off and running
one pair down …..and look, now there’s more!
(I used size 10/3.25 mm needles with 8ply/DK yarn)

There’s no rush ….winter’s a while away yet
It doesn’t seem that long left and I’m sure it’ll be back again😊
~ ~ ~ ~

As for the reading – over the past few weeks it’s been a bit hit and miss….more miss than hit if the truth be told!

At the moment I’m making my way through
The Dust that falls from Dreams – Louis de Bernières
And listening to
The Spare Room – Helen Garner.

I must say (for me) listening to a previously read book is strange….the story is familiar but it ‘reads’ differently. A little like watching an adaptation, there are scenes that just don’t seem right.
Does anyone else have thoughts on that?


Being Wednesday you’ll find Kat and others over at ‘Unraveled Wednesday 
which is where you’ll find lots of knitting and reading and talking going on

👇Vintage glove Pattern, making instructions + other bits of interest can be found here. Three blog entries in order👇


Unraveled Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again
the first Wednesday in a new month
The first Wednesday in December 2022
Which means it is the first
Wednesday in Summer in Australia.

 Also being Wednesday it’s the day Kat  hosts ‘Unraveled Wednesday 
which is where you’ll find lots of knitting and reading and talking going on

After finishing the Royal Blue jumper
– which turned out to be not as ‘cabled’ as I envisioned it would be –

Yes I see the ‘wrong’ stitch

I decided that knitting that larger size wasn’t so bad after all so using the same measurements have begun a similar one (patterned front and back with plain sleeves) in Fawn

The charity is closed now until February so even if I lose interest there’s plenty of time to finish it – and other bits and pieces I might fancy making along the way

~ ~ ~ ~

Reading has been really slow over the past couple of weeks
(The Golfer having Covid definitely hasn’t helped)
After finishing the book club choice I mentioned last time – Tourmaline – Randolph Stow I felt the need for something short and fairly light so
84 Charing Cross Road, (the ‘book of letters’ between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel…. a ‘buyer’ at a bookshop at that address) came home with me from the library.
Definitely what I needed!

And one just started The Dressmaker’s Secret – Rosalie Ham

It is 1953 and Melbourne society is looking forward to coronation season, the grand balls and celebrations for the young queen-to-be. Tilly Dunnage is, however, working for a pittance in a second-rate Collins Street salon. Her talents go unappreciated, and the madame is a bully and a cheat, but Tilly has a past she is desperate to escape and good reason to prefer anonymity.

However reading the first chapter and thinking about those recently unearthed photographs has brought back more forgotten memories
~ ~ ~ ~
First a little story…..
Singapore 1964
I had not long delivered a baby girl so ‘nothing fit properly’.
Feeling tired and weary, wondering how I was going to cope with two other little ones (even with the help of our live in amah) when The Golfer was away on an upcoming short detachment to service/‘fix’ some aircraft engines on Gan in the Indian Ocean
As in all Southeast Asian countries there were local dressmakers who would run you up something almost overnight but The Golfer, with all the panache of a man with his mind on other things, suggested I make one. “You’ve got a machine sitting there doing nothing, use it”.
I know I’ve mentioned before I inherited the knitting gene, not the dressmaking one, so as you can guess things didn’t go quite to plan – and The Golfer playing with his camera, thinking he was being clever, recorded my despair/misery in black and white on the afternoon I was finishing it off.

Here’s a few little quotes from The Dressmaker’s Secret, chapter 1…..

“ ….The new girl adjusted the tweed jacket over her knees. It was impossible to do really good work without her table, but every table was stacked with second rate fabrics…….

Our table was probably covered with children’s toys same as the floor behind me.
~ ~ ~ ~.
“ ….Deftly, she pinned and draped the material around the thick form, letting it fall, shaping it around the bulky curves…..”

There was nothing deft about my movements, I’d pinned then sewn it together in a clumsy way and in my mind there was no way it was going to fit properly.
~ ~ ~ ~.
“ I know that customer………she’s forty-four, forty-five, forty-four…..”

And seeing my reflection I remember thinking how ‘large’ I looked
and wondering was I ever going to lose that ‘baby weight’

The dress did actually get worn – just not by me.
It was ‘unpicked’ by our amah who ‘turned it into’ a dress for her oldest daughter.

~ ~ ~ ~

Our little girl (3mths) with Aho
our amah who helped me in so many ways during the time she was with us

Unraveled Wednesday ‘ hosted by Kat

Done it again…

It would appear I’m still as daft as ever.
Remember that old saying – measure twice cut once. Meaning double check before you do anything.
Spotlight had wool on special.
The brand I use for charity knits has a standard range of colours so I just pick up the colours I know I can work with and am happy to knit.
Many balls of Royal Blue went into my basket

After finishing the back of the cable jumper I had the plain sleeves done in no time at all……then took a break, working on something else instead.

On to the front with a new ball…..initially thinking the yarn didn’t feel the same but it had come out of the same bag and was the same colour so carried on knitting.
After several pattern repeats (4 x 8 rows x 94 stitches!) I looked at the ball band…….oops, it was a different dye lot number.
When there are sales, supplies are topped up continuously and a few from a different dye lot must have still been in the bin
In my haste I obviously hadn’t checked each one properly before going to the cash register.

So……. I have looked and looked in various lights and can’t see any visible difference, but just in case, have decided that as the back and front are the same up up to the armholes, what I’m knitting now will be the back, where it’ll be less obvious.
The already finished ‘back’ has been unraveled down to armholes and I’ll knit it up as the front.

And ‘why don’t you leave it as it is’ remarked a friend, ‘who’s going to know’
Me, I replied!

Another ‘done it again’ moment a few weeks ago saw me agreeing to ‘make up the numbers’ and join another book club. It wasn’t until later and some info arrived I realised this wasn’t going to be as casual as my other one. No ‘tell us what you read’ chat over a cup of coffee…..this one is ‘we all read the same book the library provides then discuss it’ coffee comes afterwards. Too late to back out – this month’s book is Tourmaline by Australian author Randolph Stow published 1963.

Tourmaline is an isolated Western Australian mining town – a place of heat and dust, as allegorical as it is real. Out of the desert staggers a young diviner, Michael Random, offering salvation to this parched town. The once comatose community is indeed stirred to life, by hate as much as by love, and its people find salvation neither in water nor gold.

It’s turning out not to be a read and devour hour after hour book. It’s a bit of a slog more like. After noting all the characters and working out how they relate to each other I’m having to take it a few pages at a time to actually get the gist of the storyline…breaks/changes of scene written into the quite shortish chapters make it a bit easier …. You know, they say nothing ventured nothing gained, try something new and different- this book is certainly something new and different – surprisingly I’m actually enjoying it. Hopefully when the time comes I’ll remember what it was all about😊

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it’s Wednesday – the day Kat  hosts ‘Unraveled Wednesday ‘ …….that’s where you’ll find lots of knitting (and reading) to admire and think about.

And Wednesday is also the day to look out for Wednesday’s Words & Pics hosted by Denyse …..  you’ll find much to interest you there

It would seem….

See a book recommendation – see if the library have it in stock

Yes, it’s there – but see what they said

Previously borrowed- my first thought was…..but when?
Seems it was April last year but I don’t remember a thing about it 😯

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So curiosity piqued I ordered it again.
set to with the front of my latest knit.
yes, one of the ‘cabley’ ones I spoke about last time

and began the Robert Harris waiting in the wings
Front finished – a little wobbly in places but not too bad.
Second Sleep’ on the go

My first read by this author. ‘Oh, historical fiction’ is what I thought when I picked it off the library shelf. Then at the end of ch.1 that thought changed to ‘Oh, sci – fi or maybe even something else’. I’m up to ch.9 and to me it’s moving quite slowly but we all know that with some books that could change quickly!

Library reservations must be working overtime – my book arrived sooner than expected. Not just The Sea Gate but 5 others as well!
That’s me sorted for November I think 😊

…..  Unraveled Wednesday  hosted by Kat…….As Kat Knits……
is on again!.
Why don’t you pop over and see who’s visiting this week


Style – a form of appearance, design or production. source

Most of my knitting these days is for the baby & toddler programme of a local charity but recently they’ve been asking for larger sizes – so I’m looking through this pattern book and this caught my eye.

It’s one I’ve made a couple of times previously in a 2yr size – described as ‘a child’s jumper with yoke patterning front and back’

I found it a ‘relatively easy knit’, the shape reminded me of a fisherman’s Gansey. Patterned yoke, drop sleeves, straight up and down.

And the instructions are available in sizes up to 8yrs 😊

(Use of the word jumper (or other options such as “pullover” and “jersey“) is largely determined by the regional version of English used.[1] In the case of Ireland, Britain and Australia, “jumper” is the standard word, “jersey” is used in South Africa whereas “sweater” is mainly found in tourist shops and in North America. The word used in Irish is geansaí (“guernsey”). Source)

There’s just one problem – one that probably only I see – my plain stocking stitch knitting is becoming very uneven. And there’d be an awful lot of it to be seen on a four/six year old sized jumper 🙁

Sometimes I’ve used other stitches or cables to ‘cover part of the ground’ but that doesn’t always work. Remember how uneven the fronts of those little shirts were…..

I’m not sure why, it was the same brand yarn I’ve used before. Of course it’s possible my hands are losing their grip/strength and I’m getting sloppy in the way I hold the needles so that’s something I’ll have to work on.


I think I might have found the answer to my dilemma

Do what I’ve done before

Knit Aran style or similar

No (or very little) stocking stitch to worry about

Here’s a couple from my collection – vintage now, fashionable when I bought them!

Last week’s book was set aside when a friend loaned me this
The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo

A captivating and magical story set in 1930s Malaysia about a dancehall girl and an orphan boy who are brought together by a series of unexplained deaths and an old Chinese superstition about men who turn into tigers.”

Much writing about customs superstition expats life in Malaya  Brought back memories of life as expats during the 1960s when we lived in that part of the world.

Oh and I have a rather nice Royal Blue waiting in the wings
That’d be the big boxes in the garage 😊
I’ll keep you posted
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Wednesday’s Words & Pics hosted by Denyse ….. Denyse Whelan Blogs.
is on again

…..  Unraveled Wednesday  hosted by Kat…….As Kat Knits……
is also on again!

Click/ tap or finger slide to enlarge
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I’ll get there some day…..

A gentle reminder from an ‘acquaintance’ (just someone I see at a group) that I’d promised – one I have no recollection of – to knit some clothes for her granddaughter’s doll had me scrabbling through the garage looking for a long forgotten Tiny Tears. One of those things left behind years ago but ‘please don’t give it away Mum’ so it lingers out there along with various other bits that really should have been given away….guess when Mum’s gone those 60yr old children will finally make that decision they should have made years ago.

The 16” dolly clothes will have to wait a bit (Christmas is a while away yet) – Mum has been making decisions of her own since she returned home and discovered an awful lot more yarn in the garage than she remembered – several of those interesting 400gm ‘sealed so you have no idea what the ply is’ mill end bags suddenly appeared (tucked away in a box below another box – no idea when they were bought) so it’s use it or lose it. ‘Mill ends’ are the surplus yardage of yarn produced by mills every time a production run ends. source

Meaning I’ve some planning to do…….decide what to make and if I’m capable of offloading/donating/giving some of it away.

This little sweater/cardigan is so easy to knit it’s become a favourite of mine ( see the very well used, bit tattered and torn pattern…..priced @ 6d! One I bought for my first born – 1962😯)

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And it turns out this particular ‘mystery yarn’ knits up like a dream. Soft and comfortable to work with, smooth on the needles and using 10/3.25mm with 8/4mm needles is sizing to the pattern measurements.
I’m sure it could be used in the same way as an 8ply……Watch this space 😊

My latest library book turned up a couple of days after we got home…..I definitely timed the putting on hold process just right
It’s a new to me author so I must have seen it recommended somewhere
The sea, the sea by Iris Murdoch

As they say…in for a penny, In for a pound. If I don’t get on with it, it can go back😊

Remember Violeta – I mentioned her back at the end of August and again in September.
After a few false starts I finally made it to the end of over 300 pages.
Different – Interesting – Readable – no plot as such, more a letter to her grandson.
it did seem to go on and on at times so I had to stop for a breather now and again
Having said that I enjoyed it but sometime or another I’ll try another, with a ‘storyline’, to get a better feel of the author

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…..  Unraveled Wednesday  hosted by Kat…….As Kat Knits……
is on again!

Others are sharing their knitting (and reading) – pop over if you’re interested.
Maybe join in – they’re very welcoming.

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I’m not just a pretty face….

There’s more to me than a pair of knitting needles!

That was an expression used by a friend I had in England many years ago.
I met her at a ‘mum’s and babes’ group and marvelled at the knitting she produced.
However it seemed in a previous life before she married she had been a plain clothes policewoman, now dissatisfied with her present life (…..”reduced to nursing a baby and clicking knitting needles”….) she certainly let everyone know where she’d been and what she’d done.

So to prove that I can do more than knit I’ve managed to read several books in the last couple of weeks😊
My aim for these last few weeks we’re here has been at least a book a week, meaning I had to finish the ‘backlog of 3 by the bed’ before I could start the two new library ones

David Baldacci introduces a new character in Zero Day (the first in a now 10+yr old series of 5 books) John Puller, who could be called an army special agent investigator, sent to rural Virginia to look into ‘an unusual death’ he meets up with Samantha Cole a local police detective and the story unfolds from there.  This was an impulse ‘pick off the shelf’ from the library. I enjoyed it – a pick it up – put it down – and pick it up again – to get to the end as soon as possible sort of book.  A great way to pass a couple of wet windy days.

Linda Fairstein hadn’t been on my reading list before – this was a find on the ‘drop & swap’ shelf in the laundry.   Final Jeopardy is her first novel about Alexandra Cooper, a sex crimes prosecutor (there’s about 20 in the series now) so I got in on the ground floor as the saying goes.  Friend is killed, she becomes involved and then is a target as well.  I’m not a picky reader (will read anything and everything) but to me this seemed a bit humdrum.  I might see if I can find others and try again.
Other readers love her so maybe I should have another go.

David Mark’s Dark Winter was also another I plucked from the libary shelf.  Some days I go there with nothing in mind and just take something for the heck of it – not sure if I should be more organised or not.  Anyway this is his first novel about Aector McAvoy (10 in total now) – a policeman living in Hull, not the most glamorous city in Yorkshire but one that had a serial killer on the loose.  I became really engrossed in the story as it unfolded just before Christmas (Christmas in the book not real life Christmas lol) – 3 deaths that seemed unrelated till right at the very end.  And yes I did guess the killer but not the way he was involved.  He had vaguely crossed my mind sometime or another and it was only when it became apparent who it was I remembered my thought about that character lol

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Did I knit over the past couple of weeks – well, sort of 😊

I got fed up with the fawn shirt, then remembered I brought some half finished items with me – aiming to finish at least one. These rather crumpled looking pieces of green (which when finished will be a matinee coat looking like the pink top left corner) will be going home looking very much like they did on the way up. I reworked one of the sleeves then put the pieces back on the big stitch holder…..guess who forgot the very long needles to use for the yoke 😟

A very old pattern book from my very large collection

SO…..if you aren’t just pretty face and there’s more to you than meets the eye would you like to tell me what you’ve been up to ???? 

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I’m linking to Wednesday’s Words & Pics hosted by Denyse – you’ll find many interesting blogs there. Perhaps you’d like to join in as well.

Oh, and why don’t you pop over to see Kat…….She’s hosting Unraveled Wednesday
a great place where you’ll find lots of knitting (and reading)

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