Category Archives: All things craft

The heat is on….

We all have our likes and dislikes don’t we?
Things we will do willingly – others we baulk at.

Any time I was asked to provide something for a cake stall I’d offer a cash donation instead or put myself down for double time manning the stall.
Cake or scone making were not my idea of good fun.

Same with knitting donations.
I’ll willingly knit all sorts of items for my chosen charities…..except for one.

Guess what item my group decided on for their latest winter drive?
The one item on my ’really do not enjoy making’ list 😊

2 down – ????more to go!

So as strange as it might seem here on the first day of Summer, the heat is on for each of us to make as many of these (in different sizes) as we can by the time we meet again mid February

Which will go a long way to making sure the stock cupboard will be full at the start of the cold weather next May.

What I’ve got against them is a mystery, because the toddler size is so easy to knit – and so adaptable as well. They don’t have to have stripes – they could be completely plain if you want and it doesn’t have to be a single rib band… 2×2 could work just as well.


Are there things you’ll do but not enjoy…..things you do, not because you have to or want to….things you do while muttering under your breath the whole time….and then wonder what all the fuss was about when you finish?

And if you’d like to find out a little more of what other people have been up to – you really must visit…..  Unraveled Wednesday  hosted by Kat…….As Kat Knits.  

There’s lots of knitting of a far higher standard than my Nana Knits there plus reading as well. I wrote about my recent readings the other day – which you’ll find HERE.

Looks can be deceiving…

As you can see our PM (about four years ago when he was treasurer) on the premise of making a point, thought it would be a bit of fun to bring a piece of coal into The Chamber….. to add a bit of misplaced interest to his argument.
This week he has been representing Australia at a Climate Change Conference.
Whatever your views on this issue are I’m sure you’ll agree – this photograph (which has now appeared in worldwide publications)and the reason behind it will haunt him and our government for evermore.


During that week we spent in Mackay early last September we visited Artspace Mackay – a gallery that exhibits not just paintings but other forms of art.

I’ll share some of the other exhibits in the next few weeks but I must tell you that when I walked into one of the rooms and saw what I thought were lumps of coal on the floor I laughed and jokingly asked The Golfer if he knew if Mr Morrison had been in town.

Anyway after walking round and studying them for a while, still convinced it was coal I was looking at, I came to the conclusion they hadn’t just been scattered but had been ’placed’.
But why?
If you open/enlarge the information panel you’ll discover it wasn’t coal but small pieces of rock from the artist’s ’country’ – cleaned, painted black then varnished ‘to conceal their identity and protect their stories within colonial spaces.

Country at night by Hayley Millar-Baker

Yes looks can certainly be deceiving

From a distance….

Because of difficulties accessing my usual library, for the time being I’ve returned to the ’little one’ just down the road in Montrose. There’s been a few alterations since I wrote about it HERE, like placing the library and community centre under one roofline with a single entrance plus different landscaping with more outdoor seating being the major ones but it’s still got a comfortable country feel nestled in amongst the gum trees at the bottom of the hills.

Recently when restrictions were eased slightly to allow people to gather in ones and twos you’d notice ’friends’ sitting there with little ones having fun under the trees or riding bikes/scooters on the level hard surface. So when I turned up at the library the other day I thought how strange it was to see a little girl sitting all alone on a bench by the book return with no adults anywhere in sight. Can you spot her there to the left of the white lamp post ?

Now I know my eye sight can be a bit off at times but from this distance away I was convinced this was a small child dressed in lavender coat and hat.

Well – ever been had!
After I nipped into the foyer to pick up some books (still call & collect – back to normal service in a fortnight) I wandered over to check on the ’child’
Someone (a ’yarn bomber/ street artist’) had dressed one of very conveniently placed protection bollards to look just just like that.
And it worked – I’m wondering how many others have walked over to check on this little ’girl’ sitting there all alone?

lol The crafty lads and lassies must have been busy because these, we’ll call them ‘works of art’ were attached to the a couple of poles out the front of the library. Two coordinated outfits standing side by side in that one spot complete with crochet flowers and leaves topped with artificial roses.
https://lilydale.mailcommunity.com.au/2021/10/08/yarn-bombing-montrose-mainstreet/

Linking to Life the Week hosted by Denyse at Denyse Whelan Blogs. 
Do pop over and see what others have been up to this week

When will it end…..

Before we left home back in July I went through a lot of WIP/UFOs (also known as ’works in progress or unfinished objects😊) and mentioned to The Golfer there were a few things I really wanted to set to and finish while we were away.

One of them was this sampler – the one I wrote about 12 months ago. …..

Little did I know as I wrote that post then, when we in Melbourne were in lockdown a year ago, the city (Victoria…..and many other parts of Australia) would be in the same situation 12 months later….

And here we are with the finishing date to our winter stay looming and the little piece of embroidery still isn’t finished…not for want of trying though…..I’ve thought about it but somehow the light in the cabin hasn’t been the best or it’s been too hot/windy sitting outside….need to be able to see where the needle goes (those holes seem to get smaller) , can’t sew with hot sweaty hands or concentrate when the wind has been ablowin’, …..

Tuesday however was just right and while The Golfer was doing just that both am and pm I had a little self hosted sewing bee 😊

Somehow I don’t think It’ll be finished before we get home in October but I really hope I get the last stitches in before Christmas….same as I hope that by then there’s an end in sight to the madness in our country (as well as worldwide) caused by the Delta strain of Covid-19.

A little bit of this plus a bit of that

It’s Wednesday again, the first Wednesday in a new month
The first Wednesday in September 2021
Which means it is the first Wednesday in Spring in Australia

Mind you when I wrote this yesterday, here in this little usually warm spot in FNQ it felt almost wintery, very wet and very cool; so much so that because I had no reason to be out and about and there was more rain making it’s way down the coast, a strong wind warning plus the temp was only 18c (feels like 14c!) I resorted to wearing my bring along just in case tracky dacks and a windcheater.
The beach certainly wasn’t calling my name😊


Tuesday 10.45 am

As far as needles and wool are concerned I seem to have done nothing more than ‘look at and think about’ anything to do with them this month. I’m beginning to think a lot of the supplies brought up to keep me occupied will be returning to take up residence in the garage again once we get home…..however there’s hope for some of it because we’ve extended our stay and won’t (at the moment) be leaving for the journey down south until early October now….mind you that could also change given the circumstances in NSW (1000 cases again yesterday) as well as changing case numbers in Victoria.

A general feeling of ‘can’t be bothered’ seems to have crept into life….not just for me but also many in the park. I don’t mean dropping standards but a slowing down, in normal (pre covid) times it would be coming towards the end of the season with many packing up and making the trek back to southern or even farther afield states but more and more like us are staying put because border closures are a problem….especially for those returning to Western Australia or Tasmania.

The baby cardigans from the other day are still at the same stage they were when I spoke about them….unfinished- and thoughts of making another of these little white lacy jackets have progressed as far as casting on plus 3 rows garter stitch!


And that’s when I was interrupted – then glanced down to notice how dry my legs were…….dry legs, moisturiser, greasy hands….no more knitting but time spent lazily watching the clouds pass by through the palms in front of the trellis right where I was sitting 😎

I may not have achieved all the crafty things I planned
BUT…..I have done a bit of reading

One turned out to be a reread – two were a bit so so – and two were definite 5*.
Which ones do you think think they were? Have you read any of them?

August 2021

Sophie Green ~ The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club

Sophie McKenzie ~ The Black Sheep

Christine Piper ~ After Darkness

Christopher Koch ~ Lost Voices

Emily Koch ~ If I die before I wake

Oh my….. so many words here to tell you it rained all day, I did very little knitting and read a few books last month. There was much beach sitting and very little walking.
How did ‘your’ August go? And what are you reading this Wednesday?

If you’re interested in seeing other’s knitting and reading ideas you’ll find both at Unraveled Wednesday hosted by Kat. Pop over and have a look – she’d love to see you 

How did you….

I can’t actually remember when I learnt to knit, I know it was well before I turned 10 because I have memories of knitted scarves my class in primary school made ‘for the poor’….as for who taught me, well even though I wrote about it HERE it’s still a mystery.
Growing up after the war I don’t remember there being much shop bought clothing in our house, Mum sewed most of our clothes and we knit. I was about 15 when this was taken and both my little brother’s jumper and the striped one I’m wearing kept me busy the summer before.

The other day Tiggers Honey aka F remarked about even knitting (something I don’t often give much thought to ) – I usually just go through the motions and piece together the end result 😊

Actually I’m of the opinion that the tension and final appearance have a lot to do with the wool/yarn that’s used. I’ve two little cardigans on the go at the moment, both using acrylic but one is a more expensive line which is firmer but maybe not as soft as the other. They are slightly different designs, both have the same pattern (k5 – p1) yet I have to say I prefer the look of the green knitting but definitely like the feel of the pink more than the other

Anyway back to my ‘when did you learn, who taught you, how were you taught’…… all those thoughts came to mind when a little meme was forwarded to me last week. I’ve never heard the process of making a stitch referred to in this supposedly humorous way – has anyone else?

Call me old fashioned but somehow I think my words of encouragement
(the same ones used by my Dad)
~ needle in – wool round- pull through- slip off ~
sound a lot nicer 😊.
Which leads me to – how was the process of knitting explained to you?

One early covert – another slightly older

A little bit of this – A little bit of that

Yes, that’s all I have done recently.
Hopefully the sadness of the last few days will pass and my mind will settle again.

Thank you all for the comments on my last post.….one day I will be able to relate the events and the trauma they caused over the past eight weeks but just for today all I want to say is Thank You

I did do a little bit of knitting….after the green and white cardigan was put right it was popped into the ever filling charity box to wait for the volunteers to return from their summer break. Then I took pity on a neglected wip and finally the Teddy jumper (which had only been on the go for six months) was finished ….and instantly decided to make him a friend. Same as I did in 2016. Unlike back then I found the plain back and sleeves were ‘easy knitting’ and just what was needed to take my mind off other things so Mr Lion was finished in no time at all. Just right for 2yr olds don’t you think?

2021
2016

I did a little bit of reading during January.
Just a few books….some I enjoyed….some not so much.
And some went back unfinished.

* Cover her face by P.D.James
I certainly enjoyed my first time reading an Adam Dalgliesh mystery. Will look out for more in this series.

* The House between Tides by Sarah Maine
Debut novels can be a mixed bag. Also reading ‘new to you’ authors can be an interesting experience. This is one I thoroughly enjoyed and wanted to stretch out as long as I could by reading a little each day.

* The Binding by Bridget Collins
I wasn’t so keen on another debut novel by another new to me author. Told in three parts, each relating to the same time period. I really enjoyed the first part, not so the other two.

Then I dipped into a couple of self interest books, picking at bits here and there …..have renewed them so will be doing some more ‘dipping’ during February
* The mindfulness in knitting — Rachael Matthews.
* When things fall apart — Pema Chodron

The length of the day/night elements in our days are changing a little…..yes it’s that time of the year when the ‘days’ are getting a teeny bit shorter and the ‘nights’ are beginning to get a tiddly bit longer. The lights are needed just a fraction earlier in the evening and even though it’s daylight when we wake in the morning it’s hard to judge the time. There’s been so many dull rainy starts recently you don’t know if that’s the reason or whether the light’s not appearing as early as it did the week before.
And that’s good a good thing for those in the northern hemisphere because they can now look forward to a little bit more…..if you follow what I mean.

And if you’d like to find out a little more of what people have been up to – you really must visit….. Unraveled Wednesday hosted by Kat…….you’ll find it here at As Kat Knits.
Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

Down the rabbit hole….

I know what started it……middle of last year (2020), little internet messages between sisters. ‘Do you remember this….when we did this’ backed up by photos floating through the airwaves (or whatever you call what the internet runs on). Thoughts on what we inherited from our mum….I got the knitting gene…..middle sister got the sewing machine gene….and little sister joked and said, all she gave me was her arthritis. Which sent us into fits of ‘LOLs’ because we all inherited it in one place or another. Them in both hips, me in my spine and little brother in his knees.

Feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square 1954 – we ( just we three girls then plus mum….baby brother was there but not in person….yet) were on our way to Germany. Dad was there already, he’d been posted weeks before, so we made our way with lots of other service families on a very old ship across the North Sea from Harwich to Hook of Holland and then by train to RAF Wunstorf.

This photo of little sister’s beret shows mum’s love of fair isle knitting, something I enjoy as well. I’ve never attempted to knit a beret, wouldn’t it be a good project to take on I thought. Maybe even try to reproduce one like little sister’s. No pattern in my pile so off I go the source of all things knitting (preferably free if you know the right way to ask)…..yes, I changed my name to Alice…..which incidentally was my mother’s and my gt grandmother’s name, ……and made my way down the rabbit hole of the WWW.

I came up trumps with this pattern (pictured on the right) but it’s in 3ply so saved it for another day, however the site itself (Vintage Knitting Pattern Archive) is a fantastic source of free vintage patterns.

Another find was this picture of a very unhappy looking little boy wearing a really good looking fair isle style jumper/sweater similar to some I’d made for my children…….if you’re interested the pattern is here…. A Boys Jumper.

Look what came to light this past weekend when I sorted out some WsIP I’d tucked away in favour of doing something else. So enthused at the time by how easy the pattern ( as in the colour work stitches) appeared to be (and actually turned out to be) I’d started on it there and then, finishing the back and a sleeve before putting it to one side. Even though I like the distinct sharpness of the suggested red, white and blue on the cover and knowing I have no control of wherever it goes and to whom, I feel the softer colours will make it suitable for both girls and boys whatever their circumstances.



Looking at the wrong side you can see that like traditional fair isle there’s only two colours to each row, short breaks between each colour meaning short strands. And I tried to have the same colour on the top as I went along the row.


So when I get around to giving some attention to those half finished projects I think this little jumper will be the first cab off the rank.

First book for this year will be A Month of Sundays- Liz Byrski. Four women who have only seen each other on screen during their monthly online book club sessions decide to spend some time together …in person…at a property in the Blue Mountains. A soft read, with lots of tears, revelations and decisions coming up I think.



Unravelled Wednesday hosted by Kat is here at As Kat Knits. Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

Little boys and baby girls…..

October seemed to come and go quite quickly. Not a huge amount of anything was done except wonder if and when things would take a turn for the better and life would become more free and easy (in other words we’d be free from restrictions). The garden started to come alive so there was a bit of pottering done and rainy days meant there was a fair bit of reading done

As far as knitting went I actually had something else in mind but decided it easier to fish out a WIP (work in progress) and finish something‘simple and straightforward’ rather than get crotchety trying to work out increases & decreases at the same time as keeping different colours under control so plain and simple with easy stripes it was. A simple boat neck ….no designated back or front …..which means an ‘independent 2 yr old’ is able to ‘dress themselves’. Who else remembers the “me do it” stage??

After a conversation with a very excited younger (going to be a grandma) friend last week I’ve begun something much smaller and a lot more subdued in colour. Her daughter (mother to be) wants her newborn baby girl’s clothing to be soft (and girly??) so at her insistence soft pale colours it will be and as she’s not a knitter herself I was asked to make several cardigans as well as something like an old fashioned matinee coat, not lacy like feather and fan but plainer…I met up with ‘Grandma’ in an allowed meeting in the park where she looked over a selection of patterns and this (bottom left corner) is what we’ve agreed on. ‘Grandma’ will look at cardigan patterns another day and (all being well) Babe’s not due till May so there’s no hurry 😊

Feather and Fan stitch is often referred to as Old Shale – poking around on the net I found this article that disputes that and shows the reason why. I’m sure many knitters will find it interesting. The comments on the post are interesting reading also. Feather and Fan versus Old Shale

I’m between books at the moment. Actually it’s more like I’m‘book’d out’. The last one I read was The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a coming of age for the main character, a look at life in rural 1870’s Florida. Maybe it was the patter of speech used…..written and spelt as spoken, set in 1870’s Florida it wore me out trying to concentrate. I’ve read lots of books written in dialect but none so taxing as this one.

Better luck next time eh ??

Yarn Along can be found at Ginny’s. Do pop over to small things to see what others have worked on this past month.
Unravelled Wednesday hosted by Kat is here at As Kat Knits. Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

Where did it come from

My mother and her sister were twins. Fraternal not identical. Two eggs producing two sisters who were so very different. One blonde – one dark. One out going, talkative, loving life to the full, an extrovert – the other quiet and retiring very much the introvert. One definitely liking the drink – the other very much the teetotaller.

Children of the 1920s when money was a bit hard to come by. I love these photos of the two of them in their homemade shifts, with my grandma standing to one side, smiling at them getting to know the parrot in the big cage. Mum (the dizzy blonde with the curly hair and her drawers hanging down) is trying to open the cage, Aunty Madge (the dark haired quiet one) is obviously not that interested.

That’s the way they were all their lives.  Aunty Madge (below L) quietly and politely waiting  her  turn.   Alice (my mum) ‘quick’ impatient, impulsive, outspoken, always wanting to lead, never wanting to be left behind.  Sometimes known to bite her tongue when she saw things she didn’t like but decided that wasn’t the time to let people know.   Not quite sure what it was the photographer was doing she didn’t like but her tongue was obviously being bitten lol

They grew up ‘motherless’……my grandma died when they were just 7 so an aunt helped raise them as well as their two brothers.  All mum ever said was ‘it was was fun when her father was around, not so the aunt’.  
So come the time of WW2 what does a very high spirited young woman do when advised by her father (a career soldier mentioned in dispatches for bravery during WW1) that women do not go to war but take the overnight boat from Belfast to Heysham and enlist in the WAAFs.  Yes she ran away from home to join the Air Force.  

Aunty Madge bided her time and was ‘allowed’ to work in a munitions factory where she found a husband and lost the tip of a finger.  Mum spent her time dodging bombs on an airforce camp, packing parachutes and dancing.  She ‘reacquainted’ herself with Dad (who she had known in Belfast) and the rest is history.  

Alice and James 1985

During this time of lockdowns and restrictions I’ve been trying to do something different for a change – I gave up on ‘teach yourself crochet’ because I just couldn’t get a grip on manipulating the wool in my left hand – so dug out some cross stitch that’s been on the go for a fair while.    
A little something for The Golfer, ( a sampler of historic buildings in Colchester which is where he was born and bred) supposed to have been a surprise birthday gift a couple of years ago it never got finished in time and has been 
loitering  waiting patiently for me to rediscover it.  Yes I know I should have rolled it……..I’ll have to wash it so hopefully the crease will come out when it’s ironed/blocked before framing.

I know my love of song and family was passed down from my father, the thrill of dance came from both parents, my delight in knitting was given to me by my mother who ‘was a whizz with the needles’ but I’ve often struggled wondering where did my interest in needlework come from.  
https://cranethie.com/2017/06/23/putting-it-all-together/

I certainly didn’t inherit the sewing machine gene – that delight was passed on to my next sister and I don’t ever recall mum with an embroidery needle in her hand.

But see this lovely embroidery hoop and floor stand – it was given to me years and years ago – by Aunty Madge!  Unbeknown to me my quiet patient retiring aunt shared the same interest and thought I might like it.  It’s great for large pieces, I can adjust the height and angle of the hoop or remove the hoop and use it on my lap.  Perhaps as she had no children of her own she had silently (Invisibly) gifted me with her passion for threads of all sorts.


Linking to Monday Musings 

 

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