Sunday, October 21, 2012

Improving the shining hour

Now, Thimbleanna and Molly Bawn: are you sitting down? Are you sure? Maybe you should hold on tightly to the arms of the chair. Because - I've started knitting! See below: I've done four rows. Well, it's a start.
A while ago, I acquired this book which gives patterns for lots of knitted blocks ranging from so-easy-that-a-baby-could-do-them to slightly-harder to slightly-harder-again. I've started with one of the easy-peasy examples and plan to graduate to the ones for which I'll have to stick out my tongue and frown. I'm going to knit enough to make a patchwork blanket. (Possibly for a doll, if I find it all a bit tedious.) I really have no desire to knit socks or a jumper but I thought that even I might manage a few squares.
I did knit a bit before the children were born. I knitted Mr Life a hat, a cardigan and a waistcoat, with V shapes at the front and everything. But I was never particularly keen. I never got to the point when I could do it without concentrating.
I also used to sew things: I made loose covers for a couple of chairs, lots of curtains and cushion covers, even a patchwork cushion cover in the log cabin pattern with plastic templates to cut out paper shapes. But I can't now quite imagine that I did some of this. I feel deskilled by the passing of the years.
When Anna came to visit, she very kindly brought me a cutting board, a cutting wheel and some lovely material to start me on patchwork. And I will start, Anna (and Molly). Life has just been a bit full of event recently, what with weddings and funerals and rearrangements of the house and visitors and holidays. Not to say Grandson. I need a period of calm and a flat surface and a clear head: none of these is in plentiful supply at the moment.
Especially this particular moment. Tony the Painter arrives tomorrow (I hope) to redecorate our study. This is the smallest of our rooms, which normally contains a LOT of stuff: archives of various sorts, household documents, photograph albums and so on, not to say three desks, a chest of drawers and a bureau. This has now all been moved into what was my mother's bedroom and WE WON'T BE ABLE TO FIND ANYTHING TILL IT'S ALL BACK AGAIN. ARGH.
And we really need to go through it and be ruthless. Do I need to keep every programme of every school concert that the children appeared in? The not-so-nice school photos? All the children's drawings? Every postcard they ever wrote? All the newspapers that ever reported on a momentous event? (I thought they would be interesting to look at when I was old. And so they might be, if I did. But do the offspring want to deal with them when I'm dead?)
And I probably need to admit that though I might polish up one or two languages, it's over-optimistic to hope that I'll really get fluent in Spanish, German, Gaelic, Japanese, Swedish and modern Greek as well as French and Latin. Yes, I have notes, books and / or tapes and dictionaries for all of these languages. Perhaps I have to face the fact that I'll only ever have a smattering of most of these.
And now I must go and practise the piano - now there's another of my unrealistic ambitions!


  1. Well done on the knitting, I have just taken it up again, much easier to do on a plane than stitching ! I really meant to sort stuff like you mention but sadly it all got packed up (again) and will be back in Michigan soon. Hope a quiet time arrives soon for some quilting.

  2. Oh dear - such a familiar lament in this house. I'm going to have to face up to the childhood ephemera pretty soon. It can't all come with us when we downsize.

  3. I so understand about the " deskilling". I have recently taken up counted cross stitch again, having found " stitching shed". They produce wonderfully modern patterns for pictures for my grandchildren, and I am enjoying the process immensely . Knitting was also restarted when my granddaughter was born 2 years ago, but only the simplest of cardigans or hats. I find I just can't be bothered to knit if I have to concentrate too much. I have toyed with the idea of getting a keyboard and relearning the piano. Having just spent the last 3 months " emptying" my Mother's house, I feel I should start on mine too. My parents never threw anything away . I found a huge trunk full of empty boxes that used to contain every ornament they ever bought ! Why? Mum had been in the house for 50 years so it has been a monstrous task. Still more than enough for "house clearance" soon. Good luck with the knitting, though you might find it makes your thumbs did mine!

  4. Hope you start to enjoy knitting squares, I'm feeling responsible! I've just finished a throw I started some while ago (before other projects intervened) Hopefully, it'll be ready to blog about soon - it's being blocked at present. Nice thing about squares is that you can pick them up and put them away again for a while without feeling the rush to produce a completed article - pram rugs are a good starting size!

  5. I can knit, but never relax with it. I feel as though someone is holding a gun to my head the whole time! I hope you can find it relaxing!

  6. Well done Isabelle......though I had thought that, being Scottish and all, you would have been born with a pair of knitting needles in your fist!

    Eager to see your first quilt!

  7. This all rings terribly familiar -- I, too, knitted a sweater and doll clothes, the latter by severely adjusting patterns, but all sooo long ago. I struggled a few years ago to start out again with a dishcloth pattern book, which sounds similar to the blocks you describe, but even that was awfully difficult with no one to guide me. I still have hopes of starting in earnest again, but yes, it will take more concentration than I have at present. I'm going to tune in frequently here just for encouragement. :-)

  8. WooHoo -- you're knitting! I do hope you love it -- you never know when it will come in handy. My Aunt and I spent many hours knitting at the hospital these last few weeks -- very helpful indeed.

    I feel your pain with all the weeding out. I really need to do that too. I received a little insight in that department recently -- a girl the age of your Dr. Son was telling me that her mother had boxes of artifacts from her childhood and she just didn't know how to tell her Mom that she really wasn't interested in them. The fact is, those things are probably our memories of our children's childhoods, not ours. I'd like to go through all of our stuff and just save maybe one or two significant things from each year. It's just so painful to throw any of it away!