In quiet times when I knit alone I find my mind wanders back into my past and folk I have spent time with. This got me to thinking that we all share a love of crafting with wool, and how little we really know about each other in general.
I thought it would be fun to create this space on the forum for us to share a little about ourselves, as if we were sitting around a table with a hot drink, cake and biscuits creating together and chatting.
For example: - how long have you wool crafted and who inspired you to learn...?
What was the first item you completed....?
Have you any triumph or catastrophy stories...?
Where is your happy place to knit/crochet and what does time doing this mean to you....?
Share as much or as little as you feel. I'm sure we'll have some happy and interesting stories to share.........
Well I'm floored..... I found myself getting a little emotional reading about Valerie, Lesley and Gloria. All of these back stories are so beautifully written, thought out and so very varied and interesting. I really appreciate knowing a bit more about my crafting friends. We're like a patchwork quilt fitting together a little neater now (in my head). Thank you all ❤️
Karen, I love your image of us as a patchwork quilt - beautiful and so appropriate as we do our best to keep 'our' children warm. But I think we're short of a few patches - come on, folks, let's see some more stories here to make our quilt grow :))
I'm loving these stories, and getting to "know" my fellow KAS ers
Last weekend a good friend of mine gave me a navy blue 4 ply gansey style jumper that her Mother had knit her Father in the 1980's, which had NEVER been worn. She insisted I take it to pull out and use for KAS squares. As I started to unravel this jumper from the neck down I was reminded of my Grandmother Agnes. She was a short, cheerful, robust, hardened woman from inner city Belfast. She had a strong accent, a sharp tongue and was brought up with little money. I have visions of her pulling back garments that she had previously knit so she could reuse the wool. In my mind I saw myself sitting with my arms outstretched while she wound the wool into hanks to wash and dry - a process which took hours but she seemed intent on savouring. The main items I can remember her making with this wool were huge wellie socks and cravats in vast numbers - (My dog even had one or two!).
The outstretched arms bring back memories for me too. Either it was for helping Mum wind unpicked wool or new yarn that didn't come in nice neat skeins then.
The gansey style jumper reference is bugging me. I have a memory of making something in this style but I just can't bring it to the forefront of my mind. I'll have to keep dredging.
Let me introduce my mum, Col L'Huillier, who turned 96 pn June 12. Mum was born in 1924 in Melbourne between 2 World Wars. She has clear memories of growing up in the Depression era. She learnt to knit at primary school at a young age when knitting was included in the school carriculum, and taken very seriously. At age 8 she recalls having to produce a baby matinee jacket. ( no wonder when I was 8 she was horrified at my scarf knitting attempt). At age 10 all the girls had to knit a complete baby layette of singlet, dress, matinee jacket, bonnet, and booties. This was 3 ply wool knitted on size 10 needles.........imagine expecting girls to do that today! Parents had to purchase the wool ( money was tight, and many were in financial hardship), and the finished layettes were not theirs to keep, they were given to the Babies Home. By age 15 sh, along with many others was knitting Khaki socks for soldiers, and I remember when I was a teenager looking through an old photo album with her and seeing photos of her Red Cross group packing hand knitted socks and scarfs to be sent to the troops. ( I now have all her double pointed sock needles). My 3 siblings and I were all born in the 1950's, and I recall us all being dressed in mum's hand knitted jumpers and cardigains. There were often fancy buttons to complement her handiwork. I recall " double breasted cardigains with 2 rows of buttons. One year soft "fuzzy wuzzy" twinsets of short sleeved jumper, and long sleeved cardigain to go over the top were the latest , and I remember mum producing a set each for Sandra and I for the Sunday School "anniversary weekend service. Several other girls were also wearing cardigains in this new fuzzy wuzzy wool ( it was very soft). We children were all sitting on a tiered stage in the town hall for the service, with the parents sitting in the audience. To our parents dismay the boys sitting behind us were plucking "fuzzy wuzzy" off our new cardigains and blowing it in the air whilst sitting between singing items. This was an era of no wastage, and left over yarns were combined into striped creations of great ingenuity, and never looked like leftovers. There were creations of cable stitches for my brothers, and lacy stitches for Sandra and I. When our babies came along they were kept in knitteds from Nana. When they reached teenage years mum began knitting for charity. She has over the years knitted hundreds of jumpers for Australian needy. In 2.000 she started knitting teenage jumpers for KOTO in Hanoi ( a programme providing winter clothing for street kids and teenagers in jail in Hanoi's cold Winters ( this through a travel agent friend who started a charity" Carry For Kids"). My daughters and I have in the past also delivered bags of mums knitting to KOTO in Hanoi. In recent years mum has knitted for KAS. For several years she knitted her lovely jumpers, but in the last couple of years she found they were becoming too heavy for her arthritic hands, so she began making beanies, In March she was very ill for several weeks, and although now recovered she is a little frailer. At the moment she's not feeling like knitting, but after 88 years of knitting I reckon she deserves a rest.
Susanne, thanks you so very much for this beautiful account about your very special Mum Col. I was moved to tears reading about her, and the love and pride in your writing of memories and tales is evident. I'm aghast at her creative statistics in 6 years too!
This is exactly what I had intended this discusssion to be about, and I thank you and her so much for letting us into your lives. Best wishes for continued better health Col - you're a star now!
Thank you Susanne for sharing your amazing mum’s crafting history, what a story! Thank you Col for participating in this ‘getting to know you’ discussion, and more importantly, for all you have made for the vulnerable children in S.A. through KAS and indeed for the needy in other parts of the world too. You a a remarkable lady who continues to make a difference in our world.
Clearly, you have shared your skills with both Susanne and Sandra and I remember photos of your great grandson with a loom....... you and your family are remarkable. Thank you.
Thank you, Susanne, for this wonderful story and the beautiful photograph - I'm sure that's one the family will treasure for years to come. I had to smile at the reference to the 'fuzzy' yarn, which brought back memories - one of the things my mother made regularly was boleros in this yarn, usually to be worn over party dresses (and how I hated wearing those - I was much happier in my brother's cast-off jeans!) The boleros even went to relatives in the USA.
I loved reading your post, Susanne. You have an amazing Mum. My mother was born in 1923 and also had knitting lessons at school but I don't think they can have been anywhere near as advanced as your Mum's. I remember her telling the story of how she and her friends had to cross a bridge between home and school and it became a "thing" to dance across this bridge stretching their knitted scarves above their heads in an attempt to get to the required length more quickly.