Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Friday, 13 September 2013

A Stitch In Time

I'm amazed that this photo is one of only two of me with needlework in my hand, and the only one where I'm actually sewing. Considering that I get fidgety if I'm not creating something with a needle or hook, and that I usually have something crafty tucked into my handbag,  I would have thought there'd have been more evidence. There is a grainy, silent cine clip of me in 1979, sitting at my sewing machine making a soft toy, but I can't put that on here.

I'm obviously absorbed in the project, much like the woman in the prompt picture for this week's Sepia Saturday. Looking afresh at this photo from fifteen years ago, there are several facts to be drawn from it - apart from the obvious ones; that my hair is just beginning to get the first hint of grey, and that I could still do close work without the aid of reading glasses. I note also that we still had our beloved purple blanket, which always went on picnics and holidays with us.


This is before we owned a digital camera, but I can tell you the exact date and location, not because I wrote it on the back, but because it was in my holiday scrapbook. It was 1998, the year we had our second ever holiday in Ireland, having fallen in love with it the year before. According to my scrapbook we had found a quiet place for a picnic - Seal Harbour, overlooking Bantry Bay, Glengarriff, County Cork. We chatted with a local man walking his dog, went blackberrying, and one of us (it wasn't me) went for a dip in a surprisingly warm sea. Other photographic evidence on those pages, showed that the telescope was employed for seal-spotting, that we were content to explore rock pools and to admire the stunningly beautiful landscape.



The second picture was taken in May1992 on a visit to my sister-in-law's. Again, I was making the most of the opportunity to sit in the sunshine and take advantage of the good light to work on the sampler I was making for my parents' Golden Wedding Anniversary a few weeks later.






Our niece is holding up the 'work in progress' whilst I am studying the chart. I did manage to complete the sampler and have it framed in time. The picture I have is not very clear and doesn't show the true colours, and I will replace it when I next visit UK and take a better photograph or scan. Nonetheless I was very pleased with it.


I think I get my habit of using every opportunity to hone my craft from my mother.  Although she too was a good needlewoman, she prefers knitting. Like me, she is at a loose end with no knitting 'on the go' as she puts it. At nearly 93 she still always has a project to discuss with me in our daily phone calls. Scrolling down to previous posts here will show you some evidence of our collaboration.






 






Looking through the albums I found several where Mum was knitting whilst friends were round for a chat or a drink, like the one above. My favourites however, are the ones of Mum beach-knitting. This one from 1956, shows Mum knitting away whilst keeping one eye out for my brother and me.




Years later, when my parents shared a family holiday with us in Northumberland, I was crocheting myself a sweater, made up of a sort of patchwork of pieces.
The whole thing required stitching together and then finishing off with knitted cuffs, waistband and neckband. This is where Mum came in. In this 1989 photograph  she is turning to Dad, who is sketching the scenery, whilst I tackle another piece of the sweater.


In April this year, Mum came to visit us in Lanzarote and we were at it again; Mum is beach-knitting and I'm beach-crocheting. The dear old purple blanket has gone and now we are both silver-haired.


We still get engrossed in our needlework though, of whatever variety. To check on other absorbing posts, thread your way through to Sepia Saturday and see what others have made of this picture prompt.

21 comments:

  1. Marilyn, wonderful memories of busy hands, knitting, embroidering...Lovely embroidery gift for your Parents Golden Wedding. I did a lot of embroidery and I know embroidering eats up the time.

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  2. My Mom was left handed, I was right handed, I gave up trying to learn needlepoint, I wish I would have kept at it. My daughter learned from some college friends and still does beautiful work! Nice post.

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  3. A post with a perfect title. Just yesterday in rehearsal one of my musician friends described how she recently observed the harpist, who has very few notes to play, was quietly crocheting while waiting for her next entrance. Busy work for idle hands.

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  4. I take my knitting a lot of places, but I've never taken it to the beach - well, so far, that is. But there's a first time for everything! My mother taught me how to knit when I was in my teens. I think I started out with one of those large wooden thread spools with four nails stuck in the top where you make a long skinny knitted tube which you sew together to make hot pads & such. From there I went to squares followed by sweaters. I lost interest after a while - got busy with other things. Then one day, many years later, I took a part in a play. The role was one of a gray-haired granny who sat in a rocking chair knitting & making wise cracks through most of the play. I wasn't gray haired then, so I had to wear a wig & some old fashioned looking wire-rimmed glasses. But I couldn't fake the knitting! Funny thing, but at first I couldn't recall how to cast on stitches! I sat there staring at the needle trying to remember how to do it. Finally I simply closed my eyes & let my hands do what they wanted to do & suddenly I was casting on. Like riding a bike, I guess. You never really forget. Now if I could just remember how to add a stitch in the middle of a row! Luckily my Mom's still going strong at 95. I'll have to ring her up!

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  5. There was a time when I like making things, but I never did it outdoors or with other people around. Sketching the scenery outdoors seems much more enjoyable to me.

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  6. I think that I would be worried about (the wind and sand) crocheting at the beach.

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    1. Why's that Sharon - afraid it would blow your stitches away? They are garments being created and we wear garments on the beach. Unless it's wet sand of course, then I'd keep my work in its bag.

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  7. I'm always surprised that someone can knit or crochet in the summertime.

    Your need always to carry along a project in the works reminds me of a woman that I saw knitting in the airport not very long ago. I wondered how knitting needles were allowed through security yet my teensy weensy sewing scissors (with a 1/2 inch blade and that fold up the size of a coin) were confiscated. Knitting needles seem far more threatening with their ability to take out an eye or stab deeply.

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    1. Well it's always summertime here - I can't wait for winter or I'd never get anything done :) I don't think they allow even sewing needles now on aeroplanes.

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  8. Oh my goodness the photo of your mum, beach-knitting did you say, is lovely, and I sure can see the likes of you in that photo, one might think, (which I did for a second) that was you. My next favorite after that, is of you, and your mum, with your daddy sketching the day away. A lovely bit of life, and one I remember and miss so today.

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    1. Yes, we were a creative bunch - did you spot the Times crossword? Husband's antidote to everyone else being engrossed in something. The kids were in the sea - or building sandcastles, and I'm obviously keeping an eye on them in the same way as Mum was in her photo.

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  9. Silver threads among the gold in your post this week. My wife's knitting seems to have been retired for many years now but I know see still has needles and wool hidden away.

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  10. I have all my mother's knitting needles but I have only knitted one thing in my life. Interesting family shot, all hands busy.

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  11. I'm amazed you have so many photos for this week's theme. Someone was handy with the camera.

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    1. Different people Lorraine:husband, son, me, Dad, Dad, husband, husband :)

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  12. Memories flooding back - my mum used to knit everywhere too - the trusty old knitting bag was always squeezed into the car somewhere. Us three kids had matching jumpers to show for it - one set yellow fluffy jumpers - like little ducklings! I was the oldest and hated wearing matching clothes to my brothers.

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  13. So many knitting photos! Looks lke it might almost be harder to find one of you not knitting, as you do it so often and in some many different situations :-) i used to knit jumpers etc, but now I mostly just make squares for charity blankets, or scarves or beanies etc

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  14. Except it's not me Jo - that's my Mum! Easy mistake to make as we look so alike but I don't knit.

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  15. Wonderful post Marilyn, and lovely pictures, especially the black and white one of your mum knitting on the beach. I definitely get fidgety too if I don't have something on the go. I'm in the car a lot more now since the kids changed schools, and always take a bag of not-quite-finished soft toys with me for the times I have to wait about. Doing nothing doesn't seem quite right somehow! And the light's great for needlework x

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  16. Ireland sounds so beautiful. I am coincidentally reading a Maeve Binchy bestseller set in Ireland. Women who create marvelous things with their hands amaze me, like yourself and your mom. A friend's mother-in-law is 92 and still quilting with her friends, also in their 90s. I used to hear or see that in books or films. Glad I am seeing that in blogs now.

    Hazel

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  17. My mom always had something to create with cloth or crochet. My wife is an artist so it is always sketchbooks, paint and canvas. I was reminded of a lady I knew in my early years and she carried her knitting with her to work with while waiting for a meal or just for conversation times. Everyone secretly laughed as she had a small piece that was suppose to be a part of her sweater. She was a grand sized lady and there was no way that piece would ever get blocked big enough to make a part of her sweater. She liked having people see her work.

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