Sunday, August 24, 2008

"A blue aran"

" Love is communucated not in the big event, but in the small acts of kindness"

Way back when I started this blog, you know around the time of the winter olympics and the buzz of the yarn harlot's quest for us to join in. Blogging was new to me and the whole world seemed to open up.. and get smaller and it seemed that knitters could truely change things for the better ...! In choosing a name for my blog I wanted to talk about yarn and also tell "yarns" or stories.. about life and families... hopes and dreams...

I have a "yarn" / story tonight for any who may have held on all this time and still be reading this poor missive of mine.

I give you the story ... of "A blue aran"

"Yes , but chances of you finishing it..!" So did my then dear husband meet my desire to knit him a jersey for his 21st birthday. Well he may have been right to be sceptical, my history until then didn't include large areas of knitting. At twenty my knitting to date included some designed on the needles dolls clothes, a bright pink jersey in a rather rough wool that my mother had to finish for me as I had run out of steam [ and yarn, it had short sleeves] , a bulky knit bright orange jacket for me and two items for our then 8 months old baby son.

These were a baby jacket which though lovely was knitted a little loose and he wasn't able to wear until 8-9 months as rather big and a "Bubbles" baby shawl. [ There may have been a pair of booties or two but memories been what they are , they are forgotten in the mists of time]

Many of you older readers may remember the Bubbles shawl pattern put out by Patons in the 50-60's , a circlar shawl with feather and fan increasing out. Knitted on straights, circulars were not the thing in those days in NZ. This meant a join once finished. The shawl ended up lovely if I may say so myself and baby Richard did use it but I was rather ignorant of what blocking meant so it was never properly dressed. [Moths got it too... so unfortunately too late now, shame]

Anyway I digress, having decided to knit a jersey and determined to show him I could and would finish [ his statement being a red flag to my stubborness ] I went off to our local department store James Smiths. [ Long since closed]

Then began the search for the "perfect" pattern. A long look through all the pattern books , baby in pushchair at my feet sucking on a rusk. I wanted to knit one that he would wear and be proud to show off my handy work. So I decided to do not just any old stocking knit jersey in a thick wool but a lovely aran in a good quality double knit crepe. I had never knitted an aran before but was confident if I just followed the pattern closely "she would be right".

So once I had choosen the pattern then the yarn, hmm what colour with his fair hair and blue eyes that was easy so a lovely royal blue good quality crepe wool went home with me that day to cast on and begin.

I was hooked from day one and slowly progressed up the back, then the front and finally onto the sleeves. Being a smoker in those rash days of youth, fortunately long since given up I discovered that cable needles been somewhat slippery and easy to lose a match made a good subsitute. With a young baby to care for and feed I was able to work on the jersey during nap times and at night.

My dear husband had just started a new job as manager of a new food bar and this meant he was not home until 10.30pm most nights. So nights were spent in front of the fire, it being winter at the time and I knitted the nights away in front of TV while the nappies quietly steamed on the clothes horse. Only black and white and one channel in those days, how times have changed!

The twisting of the cables, the texture of the double moss stitch and the crossing of the travelling stitches became a fasinating journey of yarn. But he was right! I didn't finish at least not in time for his 21st. His mother also had knitted him, and me matching jerseys of rib and textured basket stitch. [ I still have mine packed away, sadly a little small now] He was proudly wearing his 11 days later as he went off to work on his motor bike. Another pride and joy of his.

I knitted on through the day determined to finish. That night , a Friday there was a movie on TV and I twisted and cabled away as the story unfolded before me. So engrossed was I in the plot and the very nearly finished sleeves I didn't realise that 10.30 came and went and then at 11.15 a knock on the door... "who, at this hour!? "

Throwing down my meedles and being cauious and home alone with only a young baby for company I looked out of the window first.... "Police...there has been an accident" then a feeling of dread and so it started the phone calls to Mum and Dad, trusty Mum and Dad always relied on and turned to in need. The rush to get to hospital, the Doctor's face as he tried to tell me , too late.. the goodbye visit and hand holding of a still quiet man.

Then home, where Mum held fort with baby on her knee. Dear Mum , as I walked in and saw the knitting so close to finishing yet never to be given, dear Mum " should I finish it.." Mum ever practical later , "Yes your Dad would love to wear it" They must have had a quiet talk.

So the jersey was finished , sewn up and presented to a loving father who wore it with pride. How he thought about it I never knew... but it was well worn and passed on to my brother and I think back to Richard when he grew enough. Where it ended up ..?? I am not sure. But I did finish it and it was worn , with love. And in my stash still, is the pattern and a small blue ball of royal blue crepe.

And since.!? well knitting became a passion, a retreat, an outlet for expression and now my art form to tell my stories... and my baby ?

The biggest and best gift any man can give of himself and leave behind , a son. A son who in a gesture or turn of the head and especially his laugh can remind with loving pride of a childhood sweetheart once loved and long gone. A special son with a special place in a proud mother's heart who, this week turns 35. Happy birthday son... you make me proud.

A mothers' small loving act and a fathers' too meant a jersey finished and worn that would have been a long ago UFO.

Knit on >^..^<

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

A time of revival!

Hi all!!

Ok! I know it's been awhile. No excuse really other than I promised myself I would finish module 2 of my City and Guilds before posting again. Just didn't realise it would take so long....All in all knitted 86 samples this time. I think I may have got a bit carried away. I am really enjoying the course and find my head just buzzes with ideas.

How's life you say...hmmm two house moves, [ DM and DS2] DP misplaced a disc in his back, sick cat [ better now ] frantic at work [ wet and cold brings them in, what else to do but read of course] house full again of "stuff" to be sorted and moved otherwise much as normal..

The weather here in NZ hasn't helped either. The computer room being at the back of the house in the smallest bedroom cum office [ as they usually are ] means it is freezing in here. We have had the cold wettest winter since some time in the early 1990's. Rain, wind, rain, snow, rain, thunderstorms and did I mention rain! The poor sports teams have had more games cancelled than they have played, with 7 continuous wet weekends and of course rain mid week as well. I don't think I have ever seen, or heard so many thunder storms with them lasting for hours and accompanied by the heaviest of hail storms.

It is fine tonight but the promise of more to come and the prospect of a heavy frost tonight. Brr sitting here with a wheat sack and blanket. See ...

I did make it over to the Hutt to a club spin-in.. brought some lovely hand dyed, hand spun silk for Module 3 and took a pic of the hills....

But all said and done spring is in the air and with the cold we now have an early sign with the garden starting to look a lovely sight with daffs and tulips etc.

As a result of all the rain and occasional sun we discovered this historic oak log in the backyard covered in fungi.....

It is an amazing sight.. forgive the rubbish photos still trying to learn my new camera. This log by the way is from a tree grown from an acorn grown from a tree that grew from an acorn my great, greats brought out from Scotland in 1852 when they first came to NZ!

Oh exciting news ... a group of five of us "The substainable sisters" are going to have an exhibition next year. The emphasis on reusing, recycling, and enviromentally friendly mesages to our art. So have to produce at least 8 pieces. Plenty of ideas but time...

But I have made a start with a semi circle wrap knitted from cassette tapes and yarn.

This pic doesn't look like much ... and the sun has washed it out somewhat as it is a real rich chocolate brown worked from the neck down in stripes of tape and yarn using garter stitch and stocking stitch and edged with the lovely rich dark chocolate wool. Cassette tapes are somewhat of a challenge to knit .. have a tendency to split quickly, some mending has been done already.

Next up a curtain out of video tapes and to dress a window with copper wire "spider webs" in Shetland lace and plastic bag lace curtains to create an outside scupture. I am also still working on my "boxes, hope chests" with mini quilts and found objects.

So art and knitting wise have been very busy, just wish I could afford to give up work. One day...

I did treat myself tho once my module was posted and did some spinning... a lovely deep pumpkin and silk mix... am thinking of plying with pure silk ... should come in handy for module 3 as this features silk.

Anyway my fingers are going numb, time to warm up with some hot milk and off to bed. I leave you with this......

Anyone for a ride... suns nice and warm in here think I will sleep on the back tray for a while.

Cheers and knit on >^..^< it's nice to be back!

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