Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Knit and Natter Friday

I had a little unexpected time on Sunday and having been given a small craft kit decided to make it. I am being vague on purpose, it was a gift.

As I read the instructions which were very clear I realised the kit was intended for a child. Oh dear. The materials used were the cheapest and nastiest you can imagine. Some parts were supposed to be self adhesive, only the adhesive had missed at least half of one of the biggest bits, and two things which should have been self adhesive simply weren’t and in trying to peel the back off I broke it entirely.

Being an adult I battled through, but had I been a child I would have been put off crafting for life.

It was a reminder of when I worked with pre-school children and studied part-time for a year on pre school education. One tutor instilled in us the notion that you provide the best materials you can. Think of the paper known as scribble paper, which absorbs and spreads paint in a most unattractive way, or those awful nylon paint brushes and those paint blocks which don’t mix well with water whatever and how much you try, and how discouraging they all are.

I remember as a child wanting to plant flowers and being given my garden, a strip of soil beside a porch wall, with barely half an inch lying on concrete.  Mr E whose Dad was a self-sufficient organic gardener back in the 1950’s gave him the bit under the hedge by the compost bin. Neither of us had much success.

How many children have been put off from learning a musical instrument by that first recorder, which really wasn’t of playable quality.

I know children can get through materials at an alarming rate, but there has to be a compromise , as my tutor said, provide the best you can. A timely reminder I thought for the approaching festive giving season. And if a child wants to garden give them a bit with good light and loam.

Were you give “nice ” materials as a child, or the cheapest? I often wonder if that is why I have a tendency to hoard craft materials, just in case there is a time when I can’t afford them.

Enough! It’s Secret Santa time for real now. I am just doing the knitting one this year. I have my recipient. Oh My, is she a talented lady. I have scrutinised and started to follow lots of blogs taking part in the swap this year, I am not ashamed of emulating the gifts made by others. And I have secret plans.. the car is in for its big service and MOT today, York and the shops here I come. Yarn may be purchased.

But what about that crochet blanket. I had hoped to have it done by the end of the month, but I have accepted that this is unrealistic. Physically I can’t crochet more than a block a day, so I accept that and will plod on sedately. Like a galleon or a Duchess.

Here’s where I am now.

See the two blocks on the left, the grey and the orange, these will be the outer edge. Now I am happy with the orange, but am uncertain about the grey.

Please have close look and tell me your honest opinion.

Neither orange or grey or green are my usual colours, I am a blue, purple, turquoise, duck egg green person.

So out of my comfort zone, should I just go for orange, or keep the checkerboard feel and have orange and grey, or do something completely different…. HELP

Meantime matinée jacket is done.

Sirdar pattern 1391, yarn is Sirdar crofter shade 0191

I love the splash of red from the button

So onto some Christmas knitting

Guess what and who it’s for.

I haven’t written a 17 for 2017 October post, just in case you were wondering, simple truth, total failure to make any progress on the old goals. BUT, yesterday I made great headway on the family history front, so more in a couple of weeks time.

Busy today in York. Tomorrow is the Repair Cafe again, wish us luck!

So what are all your plans for the weekend? Hope they have some good things amongst the chores.

If this is your first visit to the knit and natter Fridays, please just leap in with a comment or three, especially today please chat amongst your selves till I am back to catch upwith you all at tea time.

Be Happy,



Comments on: "Knit and Natter Friday" (44)

  1. I like the gray and think there should be quite a lot of it, to provide a visual resting place from all the brights. Maybe not entire gray blocks but good doses of gray! I think I must’ve been given good art materials–I’ve loved everything about art and crafts all my life–I got encouragement from somewhere! You’re so busy!

    • The single grey is too much, but my thinking was that it would link the whole blanket together. I’l have a think about a two colour square, stand by for next week. You were lucky then not to have children’s craft materials, but good ones.

  2. It is true that when one is given shoddy materials, it just doesn’t feel right. I say go for the best and be happy with creating. Love your squares for the blanket. While the grey doesn’t look too bad, the orange really brings all the colors together. It you wanted to replace the grey, I would use maybe the yellow. Orange and yellow would really pop and bring the brighter colors out. That is my opinion. I can’t wait to see your finished blanket. The jacket is so pretty and I just love that little button.

  3. What a great post, you are absolutely right about giving children the right materials… I remember trying to mix paint colours and ending up with squidgy brown.
    I am with you on the grey… It is a pet hate of mine at the moment, someone a few years ago decided grey was the in colour, you see it in every magazine, every style picture.. we live in a climate that spends a lot of time grey….! Give me duck egg, or purple any day… but please, not grey!

    • Absolutely, no greys! I am giving serious thought today to the mustard colour. I think the thing to do is make one of each colour and then have a good look.

  4. I had never thought of that- giving quality tools to children to encourage them. Our ancestors let small children do all kinds of chores with adult tools. It makes total sense. Why did we dumb them down?
    I too bought one of my daughters a small portable sewing machine- we actually still have it and I wonder why? it’s useless.
    I did buy my 2 Grands I’m raising real sewing machines, real fabric. Now to get them to sit down and try it? LOL!
    I learned using a quality sewing machine in our jr high school. That nice machine is what got me interested in sewing for life! Sadly it was years before I could get my own machine.

    I think the grey square is too much too. :o) Love the sweater, and yes what is that other thing you are so beautifully knitting! LOL!

    • It makes me very happy that your grands are using real sewing machines. It makes such a difference. As you say children i the past used adult tools.
      I have just this minute remembered that toy piano I had. I think my parents thought it would help them see if I had any interest in learning the piano. Both of them learned as children and hated the practicing it entailed. The toy piano was so far removed from the real thing it was ridiculous. Apparently I didn’t show enough interest in the toy.
      When I went to college I had chance to try the piano once a week and loved it, but no where to practice. What a lost opportunity.
      Then I had a toy typewriter. Again it wasn’t any good. And look here I am writing a blog, entirely a self taught typist on the key board.
      So maybe I need to completely rethink children’s toys/ equipment.
      The grey block shall have to go.
      I can’t believe no-one can see what I was knitting. It looks soobvious to me, maybe it’s the colours. All to be revealed next week.

  5. And now for my two cents worth – I like the grey, but not in an entire a block. The little bit of edging on the other blocks looks nice in my opinion!
    I’m with you on quality of supplies – and not just for kids. My mother is a music teacher, so bad recorder or not, I got a good education on the topic, including recorder! Though flute and piano is what I excelled in.
    I do think it’s sad when I see those cheap craft or sewing kits in chain haberdashery shops. I’ve only used them once or twice, and have been upset and frustrated at them that I wonder who buys them more than once. I think we as crafters need to take a stand with our feet and educate people on shopping and buying those kits is just not worth it! Who wants to spend an entire sewing session unknotting thread in a brand new kit?!

    • Thanks Catherine. I am iinclined to agree with you on an entire grey block. I had an idea whilst I slept last night, so am going to have a bit of a play with colours.
      You are so right about craft kits for adults too. I think some of the worst offenders are the knitting/ crochet kits on magazines. And there are some really nasty cheap embroidery flosses out there. My preference is DMC, but I like Maderia too, and Anchor are good, but the ones that come in multi packs are horrendous.
      Maybe we should talk more about the quality of products in our blogs for people just starting out.

  6. Love the matinee jacket! I think I would try one of the blues or greens instead of the grey.
    Hope you have a great day in York and at the fix it Cafe!

    • Thank you so much. I am going to have a play around with the blue and greens . York was lovely, although the car repair bill will take some getting used to. Right repair cafe next. Have a great weekend.

      • Ya car repair never seems to be cheap:(
        I hope one of the colours takes your fancy as the afghan is beautiful so far!

  7. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    I think you make a very valid point on quality of craft material for kids. We do ladybirds (equivalent to UK Rainbows) and Brownies at our local community centre on Monday evenings. Girls love doing crafs. Even the simple things like colours we’ve learned Crayola are much better than the cheaper brands.

    • I agree, Crayola are a good brand and worth the bit extra. I inflicted The Woodcraft Folk on my two eldest. The youngest did cubs for a Spring and Summer, they had a hut in the woods and he loved it. Come winter they moved to the warmer village hall and he refused to go then, he loved the outside bit best.

      • Murtagh's Meadow said:

        A hut in the woods sounds wonderful!

      • He loved it, they built dens, learned about nature, made camp fires, then inside in the Winter to do first aid! I think he felt short changed and misled about cubs when that happened. Football and rugby took over after that.

  8. I’m wondering if you will be sorry you asked…….. My preference would be to try the other colours rather than the orange or the grey and am wondering what it would look like if you went with the green and a bit of the blue? You would, I think, have the vivid orange ruling the centre of the blanket and the more restful colours holding it in place. I’m also wondering how it would look if, instead of continuing with blocks you started to work around the edges, making a series of finishing borders of varying colour rows. Then you could add in the grey and even a row of orange if you wanted , it would just be a finer look – which might not be what you were going for in the first place…….. 🙂

    • I trust your colour knowledge a lot. I will have a play around with the green and blue. I want to make a border round the outside blocks in the other colours too. Thank you for your thoughts.

  9. I too remember much discouragement in the arts in school. As for gardening, I had no clue food came from the ground or trees. I thought it all came from the commissary on base until I was well into adulthood. I know all about have to put some things on the back burner and proceed with things that need more immediate attention. I like the grey in there as it seems all the colors are a bit on the warm side. Your grey seems a warm shade as well. I will not even hazard a guess as to what you are making but will wait to see the finish. Love the matinee jacket.

    • Gosh that tells us how confused childrencan be about food, One of my sons was that confused about money, I told him we didn’t have enough for something and he suggested I went to the “hole in the wall” and got some.
      I think I am going to play around with grey some more.

  10. I think the gray looks good, just lost without a differently colored border, maybe the orange or the green?

    I don’t ever remember painting as a child, I think my mother tried to avoid the mess with four kids. We did get lots of craft materials, leftovers from her sewing, needlepoint kits (for grownups, not kids). I still remember crafting little tin foil boats to separate all the different colors of my seed beads for some project when I had the chicken pox. I still have leftover bits of the many packets of embroidery floss I had for making bracelets.

    I will admit to being somewhat averse to buying my daughter expensive hand-dyed wool yarn in colors that I don’t like when I know she won’t finish whatever project she is getting excited for. But since I try to steer her towards things that I will be happy using when she has grown tired of them, I would say the quality can’t be too bad.

    • I am likng the idea of an orange border on the grey block. Thank you.
      Using left over grown up craft materials is a good idea. When my grandson wanted to try cross stitch I gave him some 11 count binca which I bought specially and for thread perle thread that I used myself, he thoroughly enjoyed and when he visited again asked to do some more.
      I think hand dyed wool might be too expensive!

  11. I do like the gray, but it might be too much to have it checkerboard around the edge. What about using gray as corner blocks with gray as the final border? I didn’t craft much as a kid, though I do remember cutting up the Sears catalog to make “stuff.” When we wanted to do knitting or embroidery it must have come from whatever mom had in the chest. When I started sewing, it was on mom’s machine, but I was 13 by then. 😄 I started my girls sewing at age 5, they sat on my lap and I ran the “gas pedal,” so I guess we went for the real stuff.

    • Good for you starting your girls off early and on the real stuff. I am sure that’s the way to go.
      i like your suggestion of grey corners, I had wondered about it too. I will try it out next Friday.

      • With all the ideas shared, I’m sure you’ll latch on to one that is the perfect solutions, or at least gets your mind thinking of the perfect solution!

  12. I’m normally a lover of the same sort of colours as you, but the combo of orange and grey is gorgeous, especially with the other sunny colours you’ve used. I’d stick with it. Could you do orange with a grey border and grey with an orange border alternating round the outside?
    I well remember the frustration of using poster paints and a nasty splattery brush. I couldn’t get them to produce the colours and effects I could visualise. Luckily I was stubborn enough to persist until I discovered watercolour and gouache paints… And then, my mother’s hand cranked Singer sewing machine. I took to that, and eventually was the one to teach her to use the new electric sewing machine my father bought her 🙂

  13. I’m reading this on the train! It is my birthday tomorrow. Very excited to be meeting up with family, for lunch, we are all dressing as an homage to Frida Kahlo, there will be pictures! London, here i come!

  14. your comment about bad quality supplies for kids is one of the reasons I’m having 7 year old Cléo round for sewing lessons. Her gran bought her a kiddie’s sewing machine last year and gave her some cheap fabrics to encourage her to learn to sew but (despite costing 80€) it’s impossible to use. Too small, too light-weight, and too finicky – even I have problems sewing a straight line with it. Which is why Cleo comes here, is allowed to use my Juki, and delve into my fabric stash. If left to use her toy machine she would have been put off sewing for life. Whereas with Juki sewing become easy & fun.

    • Cleo is a very lucky girl. Her Gran will have meant well but the quality effects the finished product and how a child perceives her efforts. Now she is going to be creative for life thanks to you, what a legacy.

      • yes her gran meant well, and sadly the gran has a few health problems so isn’t up to teaching Cléo herself.

  15. You have made me think of Joyce Grenfell and I’m going to have this going round in my head all day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clOdyzP9fcw I can think of worse earworms and it’s made me laugh to revisit it.
    I had an early start this morning with a visit to the Friday fruit and veg market. I’ve returned home with nets of parsnips, leeks and onions, a sack of spuds and a box of sweet peppers, not to mention cauliflowers, cabbages, sweet potatoes and squashes. Over the weekend I’m going to make lots of soup for the freezer… roast pepper, leek and potato, curried parsnip. I love homemade soup and fresh bread for lunch and this lot should set us up for a few weeks.
    As to your question about craft materials, my mum always tended to give us good quality supplies when we were knitting or sewing (I think all the local mill shops helped to keep costs down), but I do remember those dreadful paints. Perhaps the discrepancy explains my particular crafting interests!
    Right, better get on with making some soup for my lunch guests. Oh and I like the orange squares best; I think you already have enough variety and you need a frame now so you don’t distract from the beautiful central flower squares.

    • I have just had a good chuckle at Joyce Grenfell, and whilst I was there I listened to her nursery school monlogue, which is probably what I sounded like a lot of the time when I worked in pre-school.
      Your homemade soup sounds delicious. My two stand bys are homemade leek and potato and celery and stilton. We bought some split peas today for some pea soup.
      I am gong to make a few more of those orange blocks and then we can all reconvene for some more thoughts. Thank you for your help, so appreciated.

  16. I remember the painting blocks. They were very messy and ‘kitchen paper’ as it was known was terrible stuff for painting on.
    Love the knitting. I’m trying to knit Christmas jumpers for my grandchildren. Mostly finished one then my daughter asked for mittens for her 2 daughters so I had to divert the knitting task and made one pair. Back to the Christmas knitting whilst I wait for the correct colour wool to be delivered for the other pair. Happy crafting. Have a good weekend. 🙂

    • Why do we do that to our children? I sometimes wonder how the discussions in firms go when it comes to producing these products. Does no-one say, but they are rubbish?
      Well done on the Christmas jumpers, by the time I think to knit one I have left it too late! I have come back from York with a super pattern and yarn, hate to think what my Secret Santa lady is going to make of it…

  17. I almost drove my parents mad with constant renditions of ‘London’s Burning’ on my recorder when I was at school and, even though it probably was a cheap one, I’m not sure I can blame it on that for why I didn’t progress further in my musical career.
    I think I would be tempted to do a single colour border around the blanket but, if you’re not keen on the grey, why not pick out another of the colours – is that a mid-blue I see in there? – to go with the orange.
    As for your Christmas knitting – is it a Willy Warmer? 😉 If so, I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess who it’s for. 🙂

    • The recorder tune I recall was one about telling Aunt somebodey or other the old grey goose is dead. I too never progressed musically!
      The blue is rather more steely than mid blue. I will try a block and see what it loooks like. Thank you for the suggestion.
      As for your other suggestion “OOH Missus”, I am blushing ….

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