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Today I thought I would have a go at redesigning a wearable garment by getting out my hardly used sewing machine. Recently I joined a local sewing group. I met a nice bunch of ladies who sew many different things, garments, accessories, cross stitch, embroidery, quilts, we all have ‘sewing’ in common in one way or another and many have been inspired by the recent fabulous tv show, The Great British Sewing Bee. What a great programme that was! I watched all the last four episodes back to back and I was in awe of everyone’s skill and confidence. Recently I’ve bought a few summery garments in charity shops that don’t fit or suit me properly in their current style and have grand intentions on changing them all (!) so I can wear them or use them. So, with that in mind, my first sewing project was to amend a lovely blue and lime green dress. It was my size, fitted perfectly from the waist down, but was too wide at the shoulders. I decided to take out the side zip, chop it in half, add a waistband and ta-dah I now have a skirt. I just went for it, without too much hand-wringing! I realized the ‘skills’ used (I use the word ‘skills’ loosely as I can be a bit of a bodger) were those I learnt as a 12 year old at school. I could still remember the teacher patiently explaining how to cut, pin, tack and stitch. How important was that tacking – I used to think it was a huge waste of time! Little did I realize then that I was learning something that would come in handy x years later. I really disliked our textiles lessons and didn’t take them after that year at school.
Then, another coincidence came later today. I made macaroni and cheese for dinner (a bit of an easy dinner, but I am on ‘holiday’ this week!). I melted butter, added flour, gradually coaxed in milk, with black pepper and mustard, just a simple cheese sauce. I have made this many, many times. I realized I learnt how to make this the same year at school, when I was 12. Again, I gave up Home Economics the following year.
The ‘life’ skills I learnt that year (there were probably many more, and in previous and subsequent years of course) have obviously brought fruition. I wonder what ‘life skills’ today’s 12 year olds are learning. My own son has passed that age. He goes to a mixed sex school, and I was pleased they all had a chance to try textiles and cookery. Textiles was a bit of a disaster – I have a book bag that says ‘M’ on it, instead of MUM – he ran out of time making it, bless him, and it is something I treasure. With the cookery, most lessons went ok, apart from the chicken pasta bake which gave me severe food poisoning! Yes, really!
Most kids today seem to spend their days on electronic gadgets, unless they are particularly sporty. Are life skills for this era going to be ‘quick fingers on keypads’, ‘text talk’, ‘how to ignore the world around you’ ?? Just wondering what life skills my own son will look back in years to come and think ‘I learnt that when I was 12’…
Last night I completed one of my knitting projects and I pat myself on the back for it. I have to do it myself as husband and son are not exactly forthcoming with compliments. They are used to me always sitting knitting and they don’t take much notice of the type of yarn/garment/size of item/colour of wool in my hands. (I have always struggled to train them and have almost given up! However, I suspect I show the same amount of interest over whatever football match they watch on tv.) I blogged last week that I was clicking away to finish a baby hoodie for an imminent arrival – luckily the baby has not arrived, although the mum has been told to take it easy so I have finished in good time. Hurrah! I will pop a pic on the next post (sorry camera not to hand as I write this).
So today I returned to another recent knitting project, a summer top. I had been happy to put it down for a couple of weeks as it hasn’t exactly been the type of weather to need it. It has been nice to get back into the rhythm of a larger item, once I had worked out where I was with the shaping. I did a few rows after breakfast then just a few rows more after dinner tonight. It’s my next project to complete and perhaps I have been spurred on with the beautiful weather we had this Bank Holiday Weekend. Here in the South East of the UK it was actually sunny for two days in a row – and I have sunburned shoulders to prove it! Silly me!
I had a peek in my craft room too today and was a bit freaked out when I admit what I have on needles. I have been hiding projects, only from myself though! If I undid (known as FROGGED) some of my projects (known as WIPs or Works In Progress), I suspect my needle wrap would be a bit more bulky and I would realise how many of the same size pairs of needles I actually own. I don’t think I am the only one who has moved onto another project and had to purchase another pair of needles to go with it as previous needles were already being utilized. How many 4mm needles do I own? At least one set in this new top, one set just finished with, one set in a cotton cardi being made for last summer, one circular in another wrap front top, oh my goodness, not sure I can continue! I think a true knitter is someone who does have more than one project on the go. I definitely fit the bill. Do I just get bored and move on? Do I panic when it gets complicated or goes wrong? Looking for someone else to confess they have a stash of knitting WIPS……
Is there a certain type of person who looks like a knitter? Do teenagers knit? I’ve been invigilating.
Today I was in my ‘other’ job, not the knitting one. I invigilate teenagers taking exams at a senior school in Kent, UK, which basically means they sit there in silence writing their papers whilst I and other ‘responsible adults’ supervise and make sure they have the equipment they need and that they don’t cheat. Obviously I was paying attention to the kids in the sports hall; there they were diligently heads down scribbling away (well, most of them were) but my mind started wandering. I got to thinking about whether many (any?) of them were knitters outside school. Some might say this is a brain wandering off very oddly, but others will totally understand there are only so many ways you keep alert in a sports hall of 150+ silent students. Anyone else out there ever invigilated? On other occasions I have counted girls vs boys, redheads vs blondes, boring shoes vs trendy shoes, those with pencil cases vs those without… and so on (told you my brain can wander!) Today I tried to imagine any of them picking up knitting needles and making something. There was the standard bunch of kids with ‘attitude’, and those others who consider themselves so ‘high fashion’ they would never dream of having anything homemade (god forbid!), or non-designer (what do they know? a knitter can be the most original ‘designer’ of one offs). There were those extra studious looking kids who might not consider knitting academic (little do they know that knitters sometimes learn the most complicated stitch patterns and knitting terms way beyond anything ever taught at school). There were big kids and little kids. There were well dressed and not so well dressed kids. There were capable kids and those who looked completely stumped by some of the questions and sat looking into space. I could imagine absolutely no-one in the hall with sticks and yarn! I wasn’t looking for anyone in a homemade cardigan or handcrafted hair band. There is a school uniform everyone has to wear albeit sometimes they do so in their own ‘style’ (imagine wonky ties, a different sweatshirt sneakily worn under the blazer, fancy socks rather than boring black poking out beneath trousers, painted fingernails, false eyelashes (oh yes!)).
There isn’t a standard ‘look’ of a knitter or a ‘style’ we all have, or is there? I would like to throw that question out to everyone. I know knitters of various ages and we all have our own styles. They aren’t all grandmas, they aren’t all new ageists knitting with home grown hemp, they aren’t all first time mums desperate to make their newborn handmade cuddle sacks. We are a mixed bunch. We all look different. How about you and people you know who knit?
I loved this blog!
You might be a Knitter if:
1. You have at least one project stashed in your bag/purse
2. You have multiple projects on the go
3. And they are based on how you might be feeling, one that requires concentration, something mindless, a long-term project, near instant gratification
4. You have been given yarn or knitting accessories as a gift
5. You pause the movie or television to study a character’s knitwear
6. You comment on character’s knitting techniques and become dismayed when they aren’t doing it right
7. You may or may not have been caught staring at someone’s hat, scarf, sweater, or mittens trying to figure out the stitch pattern
8. You laugh at knitting jokes
9. You make knitting jokes
10. Your family and friends know not to mess with you, because you are always armed with pointy sticks
11. You have more yarn stashed than you…
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I work in a job where I can knit sometimes. It’s great but today I haven’t done any yet! My fingers are itching to gently weld sticks, to coax some yarn into something wonderful. I am surrounded by balls of wool piled high on shelves. They seem to tease me. Instead I have been sorting stock of a different range. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me if I don’t knit here. I know when I get home and all the chores have been done that I can sit in my favourite chair and get on with my own knitty projects. However, today I just want to be creative and because I do not have the opportunity it is beginning to bother me. Creating something doesn’t have to be a physical ‘craft’, as in knitting, textiles or baking, does it? I guess I am ‘creating’ by writing this. I should be satisfied then, shouldn’t I? Well, I am not, going off to knit right now! Teacosy on the sticks closest to me ,,,,,!
I had a few hours this afternoon to actually knit. So, what have I been doing? Playing about with social media, equally important but …. I am knitting a striped baby hoodie. The baby it’s for is imminently due. I am worried it will arrive and I won’t have finished my baby gift (I know what ‘it’ it is, but I am not telling yet, mum’s strict instructions!).I am wondering how on earth I am I going to find time to do everything on my ‘to do’ list. .
Most weeks I have plenty of time to please myself but for the past ten days or so I have been extra busy, with more work than usual in my part-time job and another casual job that crops up just twice a year. I have also been visiting a friend recovering after an operation. Plus, I have been emotionally supporting my son who is avidly revising and taking exams. (Emotional support equals reading his mood swings, providing an ear when needed, giving sugary snacks when needed and complete avoidance when requested!)
Am I the only one who never finds enough time in any one day? I read in a recent article elsewhere that those who needed to find time should stop watching their ‘stupid soaps’ and just get on with whatever it is they need to get on with. I fully believe everyone needs some ‘down time’, be it watching tv, going for a run, doing a craft, making a telephone call to a friend or whatever they wish to do that is not work or a chore.
I favour any of those (except a run – I don’t!). So, I shall stop beating myself up about not knitting yet today. I plan to get the pins clicking a bit later on and to tell the friend to wait a while before she pops out baby number three!