Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Unique Blogger?

I was recently nominated for the Unique Bloggers Award by Margaret at the Crafty Creek

Thank you Margaret, I was thrilled to be nominated and included in a list of some very inspiring bloggers.

The idea is to answer three questions, nominate others and then set three more questions. I loved Margaret’s questions, so decided to answer them, then set three new ones and then invite you all to answer any you wish, either on your own blog or in the comments, because I think we are all pretty unique when it comes to the content of our blogs.

Margaret’s questions

What’s your earliest sewing memory?- I was taught to embroider by my friend Jane’s Grandmother. She gave us pre printed fabric and embroidery silks, and away we went. I can picture us sitting in the kitchen/diner in Jane’s home, feeling warm and rather proud as coloured flowers appeared before us. Now that might sound ambitious for beginners, I think I had made things before in binca, etc and done simple running stitch at school, but if I can’t remember that, it’s not a memory! Jane and I both still embroider. So here’s to all the Grans and Nans who take the time to sit with children and nuture their creativity.

What have you made that you are really proud of ? Now you may all recall the hoohah I have made about making buttonholes on scary new sewing machine and putting a zip in last year, for the first time since I left school. So you maybe surprised when I answer a Dressing Gown to this question.

What happened was that I took it into my head 30 years ago to make Mr E a dressing gown, from towelling material. This was not as ambitious as it sounds as MIL was a very talented seamstress, who in the past when I had tried to make a blouse for myself, had taken it off my hands and done the difficult bits, like about made the whole thing. So I bowled along to her house and showed her the fabric and pattern. We laid the fabric out on the table and I waited for instructions. They didn’t come. Long story short, we didn’t know then that she was already beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s, and no longer knew what to do, and couldn’t help me.

Meantime of course I had lots of expensive fabric which was supposed to be a Christmas present for himself. Well somehow I managed to figure it out what to do, and a very creditable dressing gown it was and it was in use till the fabric fell to bits. I was very proud I did it, but I wish we had all realised then what MIL was suffering.

Is there another craft you would like to try? No laughing now. No not allowed. I would like to have a workshop session with a blacksmith. My 2x grandfather was a blacksmith, and his father before him etc etc, and I would just like to try to walk in their shoes, if only for a couple of hours.

My Questions and answers

1 Somewhere you always wanted to visit? Tempted here to say Peru and New Zealand, which are true, but probably won’t happen. So more realistically I could say the lavender fields in Provence or Manet’s garden, but even those are a bit ambitious at the moment. So my answer is Lowry’s gallery, Beamish Museum or the Styall woollen mill. If I limit myself to one, it would be the woollen mill, again because I have ancestors wo worked in mills.

2 What is the silliest/ or least successful  craft you ever tried? Years ago, maybe 30 again, I attended a craft evening class. In the first term we tried a different craft each week. I remember making candles using wax crayon and empty baked bean tins, and pasta pictures which we spray painted gold. The latter looked like pasta spray painted gold!

3 Of all the crafts you do, which is the most relaxing and why. I think the most relaxing thing I do is knitting. If I start to knit some afternoons, warm and cosy, contented, the motion of the needles becomes quite hypnotic. I often end up needing to have a nap!

So lovely people, over to you, you are all unique and amazing. I’m off to count sparrows now, as you do , for the RSPB bird count. Look forward to reading your comments, and once again thanks to the Crafty Creek, I was honoured.


Comments on: "Unique Blogger?" (33)

  1. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    I loved your answer to the first question. My grandmother taught me to crochet and i have this memory of sitting in the back of my grandparents car with a little crochet square in canary yellow wool. I was only about six when she did so it is a precious memories for me.

  2. That was so fun! I enjoyed your answers and all the lovely comments so far! Cheers Everyone!

    I always wanted to be an Auto Mechanic. My Grandfather was a very gifted Auto Mechanic until his alcoholism stole him away around age 30. He died alone at 60. Cars now are so different, I don’t wish to know the new computer/plastic stuff! LOL! That’s so interesting that auto mechanics came from BlackSmiths and BlackSmiths from Farriers! As we always knew that Grandpa was from British lines. Hmm, I don’t care to try BlackSmithing! LOL!

    I made a light brown, towel cloth robe (we don’t call them dressing gowns here :o) for my Mr Tom about 38 years ago! I used my very basic old old Singer machine (gift from Grandma) and broke many many needles doing it! I was so proud of it! Mr Tom only wore it a few years and when the children were school age he tossed aside wearing it. :o( He would be fully dressed.

    Back then did you ever make those men’s/boys velour shirts? They were so popular here in America. I made one for Mr Tom, and I had only 2 boys then, so one each for them! We couldn’t afford to buy them at the store! Your robe story brings back so many happy memories! ;o)

    I’m sorry to hear both your mom and MIL had alzheimers. We’ve had different types of dementia and Alzheimers in the family. My dad died from an early onset dementia at 76. My Mom is 85 and taking her annual train trip from Minnesota down to Alabama to see friends. Oh how I worry about her. She’s the size of Vera Mouse! in those crowds! She transfers at the Chicago station- the largest in America!! But I’m so happy she has no dementia!

    Whew! Sorry that was a bit long! :o)

    • That was lovely to hear all your stories. Thank you. No I don’t recall velour shirts, but well done on making them. How great that you wanted to be a mechanic.

  3. Ha ha! The baked bean tin wax crayon candles sound like something a 5 year old would devise as a craft lesson. I too can hypnotise myself into napping with knitting 🙂 Such a sad story about your mother-in-law.

  4. I’m another one who stopped accepting awards years back after being inundated for a while and finding it got quite demanding….. but I still enjoy discovering more about the folk I follow along with and your memories are compelling. So well done on the award 🙂 I’m with all the other commenters re the blacksmithing thing – give it a go, have the experience, why not!! I’ve tried all of the crafting ideas as they have come along during my years, I stuck with some and made pigs ears with others, but I enjoyed finding out about them all. I think I’d still have a go at anything I got the chance to – except maybe sky diving these days 😀 The most relaxing is probably crochet work if it’s a straightforward pattern because I’ll sit quietly and do that with either music or a movie playing in the background……. but hours can go by when I sit in my art room making cards or painting or drawing something smallish. That’s often a very zen time.

    • I can imagine you lost in your work in your studio, sounds blissful. But can’t imagine you making a pig’s ear about anything.
      Little stories we share about ourselves are lovely to read and the questions Margaret asked were very good ones.
      I am always flttered to be nominated for anything, it’s the bot that says nominate others as I know people get them all the time and don’t like saying No, so I don’t ask but throw it open for everyone. Because everyone deserves one.

  5. Congrats on the blog award and on the dressing gown!!
    I thought that a Blacksmith only made horseshoes but I see that’s not really the definition anymore (if it ever was).

    Like a few of your other commenters, I don’t ‘do’ blog awards anymore (used to in a different blog), but… I’d always wanted to do wood carving but as I’m pretty clumsy I don’t really trust myself with sharp things! And the most relaxing craft I do is crochet. (You’d think my blog’s content would be the most relaxing, but I can’t entirely forget what I’m doing with this, whereas with crochet, I can.)

    • Wood carving would be good too, I would be too clumsy though I think. I reckon you could do it, you must have a steady hand.
      My ancestor was a blacksmith and a farrier, and farriers do the horseshoes. Blacksmiths make gates and that kind of thing. Many blacksmiths became car mechanics, whereas my ancestor took his farriering to the next level and became a horse doctor and in the end described himself as a Vetinary Surgeon. His son was one of the first students at Leeds University to study to be a vet to degree level.

  6. what a fun post! I love your stories, and can very much relate to them. My MIL was a wonderful baker of sweets. Toward the end of her life, before we were quite sure what was going on, we noticed that the chocolate chips in her cookies were rather scarce. We learned that she was counting them out, 6 per cookie. And that she bought the mini chips by mistake, so that was 6 mini chips per cookie! She was unable to deal with the change and adapt, and that was when we knew things were really not right.

    As for a craft I would like to learn – there are so many out there that look interesting. I have taken lots of classes in different ones over the years, but I have never learned to paint or draw, and I would like to know the basics of that. My least favorite craft? I can’t really think of one I don’t like to do! As a kid, I made some really awful things for my poor mother, but I also made some good ones. One I would not bother repeating, I think, would be making an angel out of a magazine! You fold all the pages down and open the magazin so it is in a circle, making a sort of dome shape. Put a Styrofoam ball on top, fashion wings and a halo, spray paint the whole thing gold. And wonder what it only was on display for one Christmas!

    • I can just picture the paper angel, I bet your Mum loved it!
      Recognizing the early stages of any medical condition is so hard, and dementia one of the hardest as people cover it up so well. In the case of my MIL I thought she just didn’t want to help me as she didn’t say I can’t or I don’t know. It was nearly a year before it was diagnosed. In the end my FIL got tired of half prepared/cooked dinners when he came home from work and being accused of hiding her things, and so he became her carer.
      I can’t paint/draw either, that would be a good one to learn.

      • oh, the poor thing! she probably didn’t know what to do. And you no doubt wondered why she wasn’t helping!

      • That’s it exactly, I just couldn’t understand why she agreed to help so I went over and then she didn’t help. And I was in a funk about what to do with all that towelling fabric, it had cost a small fortune for me.

  7. Like Kate, I decided against participating in blogger awards early on but it’s always nice to be nominated and Margaret asked some good (sensible) questions which have elicited some interesting answers from you. A warm and cosy beginner sewing memory, a sad story about your MIL and a not at all odd wish to try blacksmithery (probably a made up word) – it always looks so sexy when you see it in period T.V. programmes although I don’t suppose you’re intending to strip off to the waist are you?
    I laughed at your gold pasta tale – craft has come a long way in the past decade or so hasn’t it?

    • I shall spare the blacksmith my naked torso, and there would be nothing remotely sexy about my huffing and puffings at the anvil, unless it turns out to be in the genes!
      I’m not a fan of these awards, but sometimes there are interesting questions which lend themsellves to a post, and it’s always very nice to be nominated. I learned early on that on the whole bloggers don’t like them which is why I don’t nominate people now.
      I think I actually used the pasta idea in playgroup but couldn’t let the children loose with the spray paint so had to do that part without them. I don’t suppose anyone does it nowadays!

  8. Oh my goodness, do you ever find yourself enjoying a blog or a story, and suddenly a detail makes you forget everything you just read? That’s what I just did…when you mentioned the Beamish Museum. This world is can be so small. My brother works at Beamish! He works with the Collections. He ‘s been there 8 years or so now. It’s an amazing place! I hope you find a way to visit. 🙂

    (And as for blacksmithing? Totally awesome! I took a tour of a small blacksmith shop in Fairbanks, AK a few years ago and it was amazing.)

    • Oh my Beamish museum, what a dream job for your brother. He must like it too if he’s been there 8 years. We have talked about going this year, we need to find a cottage to stay in as it’s a little too far for a day trip.

  9. Such fun to read your replies to the questions!
    About a year after I started my blog I got a lot of nominations, to the point where I don’t really participate any more, but I do enjoy reading responses from other people!
    I’ve always had a fancy for leatherwork or shoemaking…

    • I don’t like the nominating part as I know folk don’t like it, so I throw it open to everyone. My Cousins Nan taught us a bit of leatherwork, we made purses, I was so upset that she finished them for us when we went to bed, I had enjoyed the session with her so much and was really looking forward to having another one.
      Shoemaking would be good, but I bet it is very demanding, I mean it has to fit a foot and be comfortable and pretty. Come to think of it I have 3x great grandfather who was a cordwainer for a while, before he became a painter and decorator!

  10. Blacksmith workshop sounds wonderful. Why would anyone laugh? Go for it!
    I agree about how lovely it is when you make something for someone else and they just wear it til it falls apart. Even now, sewing as I do for a living, I find it more pleasurable to make something with the end-user in mind 🙂

    • I suppose I thought people would laugh because blacksmithing is such a far cry from sewing and knitting!
      I usually do have an end user in mind when I make stuff, sometimes I think I would love to play more and produce less!
      I can imagine that it is more satisfying for you to have someone in mind when you make something, rather than hoping someone will love and buy your creations.

      • I like renovating wooden furniture – also a far cry from crocheting and sewing (but maybe not as far as blacksmithing 🙂 )
        I think the last time I made something with specific people in mind was the two patchwork pinnies – one for Karen, one for Sharon. Maybe I should make more….

      • Renovating furntiure sounds terrific. I have painted an old chair with chalk paint, which is the most ambitious I have tried. My friend Jane does upholstry which sounds very physical, but she is good, such a perfectionist.

  11. I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions, and to learn a bit more about you. The least successful craft I’ve tried is knitting, believe it or not. I can knit, just a bit, but not very well.

    • Knitting was hard to begin with, purling completely defeated me, it is just practice. Glad you know me a bit more, these type of questions are good for this.

  12. It was such fun to read your answers and to see your new questions! I’m very impressed with the story about the dressing gown and it makes me a little sad, too, because my mom has dementia and has forgotten entirely all she knew (and it was a lot) about sewing and knitting. And I would take a blacksmithing course with you in a second!

    • My Mum has alzheimers too, she did some embroidery but her last passion was calligraphy which she gave up because of arthritis, but also I suspect because she couldn’t remember what to do. I chrish now the proects she made as gifts to me. So happy you understood the blacksmithing wish, it would be fun if we could do it together….

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