Monthly Archives: August 2013

recording history

I once blogged about the scarcity of photographs reflecting my handiwork (sorry, I’d link to it but it’s among the lost posts). Recently, however, I’ve had cause to review that notion. Perhaps my handiwork is so much a part of everyday life that I forget it’s there. We have tablecloths and table napkins that are in use on a daily basis and whose appearance in photos is as unobtrusive as they are; but they’re there, utilitarian objects quietly doing what they’re intended to do. Lavender bags are everywhere, if fewer of them in photos. Sewn and knitted garments are often seen on folk and my recent Very Large Photo-scanning project, which saw me trawling through thousands of hard copy photos, made me realise anew that when you wear your own handknits, you just wear them and get on with life.

Perennial favourite jumper

Quite early in the morning. I’m wearing my perennial favourite jumper and Dr B a matching beret. My Dad and younger sister had been adventuring with us on our (very steep) property. We were then still living in a caravan!

It turns out that I have photos of myself in most of the jumpers I’ve ever knitted (I can’t explain the missing two, except to think that perhaps I might have been camera-less around that time). The one above appears in many photos. I started knitting it before I left for Italy, put it away so I could knit a thick jumper for each of us, then hauled it out and finished it while I was in Italy. If you look carefully, you’ll see that Dr B is wearing a little beret made from some of the leftover yarn. I knitted a pair of socks and a beret for myself, too.

There’s no photographic record of the large, warm jacket I knitted and wore for years, at least not in my photos. Someone else might have one. I even have photos of myself in clothes that I’ve made, just incidental to everyday life. There are photos of my nieces wearing the christening gown I knitted. I know there’s a photo of Eldest Niece wearing the little angel top I knitted, though that’s not in my own collection. I know there are photos of her wearing the boatneck jumper I knitted as well as the stripy cardigan, because I have a recollection of seeing such things in other people’s photo albums. (And, by golly, that boatneck jumper was gorgeous!)

So, as I struggle with a backlog of WISPs – let’s call them, rather than the UFOs they’re rapidly becoming – it’s heartening to know that, yeah, I do finish things and people do wear them and they look all right (we might except the abovementioned stripy cardigan which, although a lovely garment, was rather large for its recipient; but, you know, she grew into it and it looked fine then and all the other kids would have worn it, too). One jumper I knitted for Dr B even made it onto national TV. Now that’s fame for you! There are any number of shots of us wearing my handknits among the photos recording our life in Italy. Those thick, warm jumpers were just the thing for those snowy winters. There are photos to prove it.


Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Knitting, Photography, Sewing


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rebellion at the Centrelink queue

That may be a little misleading. I wasn’t in the Centrelink queue and I had no plans to go there, either; so it was more a rebelling at the idea of the queue.

I wanted somewhere to put my hankies, somewhere that wasn’t scrunched up under all the other stuff in the undies drawer. I wanted a hanky sachet, by which I mean a special container for my hankies, not a lavender sachet made from old hankies (for which you’ll find tutorials here and here, for example, and I’m sure there are many others). I used to have a hanky sachet, back in the days when everyone used hankies and had such things (and, therefore, knew what they were). It was a pretty, blue satin number with a decorated top and I don’t quite know during which move I lost it, but I did. The other day I’d had enough. Just enough.

So, instead of following up on more leads and employment websites, instead of queuing at Centrelink, I cleared the sewing table and fossicked around in my drawer of fabric scraps. (It’s not the same thing as the undies drawer, I promise you.) I came up with some leftovers that I thought would be large enough that I wouldn’t need to do too much fancy footwork and I ironed them all. I’ll repeat that: I ironed them all. There’s nothing complicated about straight sewing, but when you’ve foolishly included a piece of stretch satin fabric and everything else is plain woven, you should expect to have a few problems. I did.

However, after I’d put some of my lavender and spice mix into the gap between the outer and lining layers – because that keeps the hankies smelling sweet and the undies, too – I stitched it up envelope-style and called it done. It’s not the neatest sewing I’ve ever done but it does the job. I also made half a dozen lavender bags to hang in my wardrobe. I’d been borrowing them at such an alarming rate to give away with knitted gifts that I’d almost run out. These are small achievements, however messy the results, but they break up the boredom of my days and give me some positive reward for effort (job-hunting certainly doesn’t do that).

Hanky sachets are old-fashioned things, I know, but I’ve made quite a few over the years (including one for YoungB that he loves) so it’s time I had my own again, even if the fabric used – camo with helicopters! – mean it looks as if it would be more at home in Dr B’s undies drawer than tucked away in mine.


Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Sewing


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half a leg, half a leg – onwards!

The purple cardie has been frogged. Goodbye, purple cardie

The purple cardie has been frogged. Goodbye, purple cardie

That was rather a lot of work to unpick. But, what the heck. Now I’m doing something different with a plain yarn (at Dr B’s urging). You know the lovely thing about 200g balls of yarn? You can do a lot before you run out. And the good thing about doing a cardie all in one to the underarm? Think how much you’ve achieved by the time you get there! The downside to both of those, especially in combination? You feel like you’re never going to get to the end of that ball of yarn, no matter how furiously you knit. And you can’t believe how long it’s taking to have something worthwhile to wave about by way of explanation as to how busy you’ve been. If you’d done the pieces separately, why, you’d have the back finished.

Also, photos are very boring. Just large swathes of cranberry-coloured stocking stitch (and a couple of inches of good-looking 1×1 ribbing). However, I’ve done about 10″ of the cardie so the dividing for back and two fronts is not far away (in other words, I’ve almost caught up to where I was on the purple cardie, where I’d knitted 13″). For me, that’s good progress. It’s a bit lumpier than my usual output but part of that is, I think, that I’m getting lots of interruptions, so it’s being put down and picked up more than is good for its smoothness. Never mind, the lumpiness will certainly block out when finally I reach that stage.

Meanwhile, it’s back to the Bendigo Woollen Mills’ Classic 12 ply in combination with the faithful Patons Classic pattern (a good match). I’m using shade 664 which is cranberry and Patons Classics Book 102 Raglan Cardigans for Ladies pattern number 1 in size D/95 mm. I’d probably normally fall into the category of tight knitters (rather than loose, if you had to err either side) but I’m using needle sizes recommended for average knitters because they gave me correct tension/gauge. I knit more loosely on circulars (even when knitting to and fro). That means I’m using UK 4/6 mm and UK 8/4 mm (a confusing combination when you write it down).

Oh, and I’m still trying to find a job, of course.


Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Knitting


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just wondering

When YoungB comes home from the emergency department with a backslab on his broken foot, is he going to be able to climb up the steps to his cabin?

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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in Health