Yarn, Yorkshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Knit and Natter

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments on my last two posts, I am no longer in bits but still prone to crying apropos of very little.

But normal life continues. I was asked on Sunday to cover for coffee duty at the U3A talk on Tuesday, I said yes without thinking really and I am glad I did otherwise I expect I wouldn’t have gone. The talk was called Smiles to Tanzania. This is a local charity( led by Filey rotary club) set up to help a charity based in Tanzania called Lake Victoria Children (LVC), and is designed to help children attend school by providing school uniform. solar lights, pens, pencils, food, bedding etc. Anything to improve the lot of the people living on this island in the middle of Lake Victoria. When the first party went out they sent over a container of goods, which included bicycles, homemade quilts and blankets, sanitary provision for the girls, pillow case dresses and something called fish and chip vests. The later are basic knitted vests for the babies. Babies were previously often dressed in newspaper, hence the term fish and chip vests. Well this container got held up for three months whilst some ridiculous questions were answered, For example where was the soap that Tesco’s had donated been made. The answer was unimportant, it was a bribe they were after, which wasn’t forthcoming.

So the charity took the next step, first they taught women how to make the sanitary protection. Which means that the girls no longer skip school for a week a month, or are teased by the boys for missing school, or not tempted to become pregnant to avoid the issue altogether. Next they decided not to send goods but money, but they didn’t want it disappearing as a bribe, so they directly employ someone through LVC to handle the money and purchase necessary items.

The talk really put my life in perspective. Many of the children were being brought up by grandparents as both parents had died of Aids.

Here’s a link for some uplifting pictures-here Needless to say the donation plate at the end of the meeting was pretty full.

It was lovely to see the children so proud in their school uniform and the children so pretty in their pillow case dresses. The fish and chip vests looked a bit hot.

I’ve walked a lot this week, being outside really helps lift the spirits. And I have taken a leaf from  Margaret at Crafty Creek    last year and this year as she has set herself the challenge of spending three ten minute sessions in the garden. I have been out twice so far for half an hour a time. Greatly aided by the very mild Winter we have been enjoying. I can’t believe it really but we have snowdrops already.

And would you credit it , rhubarb, not enough to eat but unmistakably rhubarb,

I bought myself some flowers

Lovely cheerful colours.

Sadly I haven’t really done any knitting. I tried but found I just couldn’t concentrate on the pattern. But I thought you might be interested in this. Kate keeps all her bobbins from her quilting to see how much thread she has got through, so in 2018 I kept all the bands from the yarn I used.

In weight that was 5,200 grams. Which is a 100 grams a week. A lot was used in the Eastern Jewels blanket, but a lot was knitting. Gosh is all I can say.

I have done some sewing. I was asked back in the Autumn for this project. My DIL told me of a baby quilt Little Miss F had. Every night she goes to sleep holding the ribbon label. You know the one which says what it’s made of, how to wash it etc. Could I make something to replace as the quilt was getting worn and the ribbon coming off. I was very tempted to suggest replacing the ribbon, but no I’d been asked to do this, and I have always been tempted by the patchwork panels in fabric shops. So I selected my top, consulted the lady in the shop, all via email because I was getting it from The Remant House fabric shop in Harrogate, and some wadding. I was quite confident about the quilting part having done cushion panels a lot of times. Humph, doing a quilt top is not as easy as doing a cushion. I kept finding reasons not to do it, and so it sat through November and December giving me the evil eye. I missed Christmas and there it stayed. It transpires that sewing by hand does not require concentration when you are following pre drawn lines, in fact can be quite therapeutic. So that part was finished. But how to complete. I have spent hours figuring this out, in fact the how to complete part was probably some of the reason it just sat there for so long.

One afternoon I decided to just go for it. After all what was the worst that could happen, I’d need another meter of backing fabric. I could live with that. So go for it I did. I decided that dealing with scary ( 6 years old now) sewing machine was not for me, so I hand stitched it all. Now it’s not even and it’s not well executed but I do now have something resembling a quilt with ribbons on the side. Let’s just hope it serves it’s purpose for my lovely Little Miss F.

And here are the Princesses in close up.

Well the sun is shining so I may go for another tramp or a little weeding session in the garden. Leaving you with a sheep as I used to when I first started my Knit and Natter posts. This one taken on my last walk. I’ll share the rest of that walk next month.

Be Happy my friends and once again thank you.




Comments on: "Knit and Natter" (51)

  1. Keeping your yarn labels from the year is a fun idea.
    We’ve got narcissi coming up but not sighted snowdrops yet.

  2. I have been doing a lot of walking recently – it rejuvenates me when my brain is feeling woolly and perks be up when I am feeling tired, it cheers me when I am depressed and it gives me time to think (or not to think… sometimes I just stomp along and sing loudly). I hope your walks and time outdoors in the garden are equally valuable to you.
    Grief is a strange thing and there no point fighting it. You feel how you feel and learning to cope with all the emotions is all we can try to do. I still think of my dad every day – more often with joy these days, but still the sadness is there. The inspiration to knit will return and you might even get more comfortable with the sewing machine – you never know!

    • Ah thank you for the kind words. Stomping certainly helps, and being here where I grew up connects me to my parents, memories round every corner. I can see part of the house I grew up in from the bedroom window , it gave me comfort this morning. I am trying to think of little things I can do which don’t require too much thought, I may try a bit of knitting this afternoon, if I can keep my mind on it. As to scary sewing machine, I was given it 6 years ago expressly so I could try free machine embroidery, it’s time I did.

  3. Sorry to hear it, my condolences. My glad you are finding consolation helping others and working on beautiful things. Love and hugs to you!

  4. Getting out in the garden sounds like a great idea. Your princess quilt looks fine to me. Pretty clothes they have but do look unhealthily thin!

  5. It sounds like you are managing your loss as well as anyone could hope for–being kind to yourself, getting outdoors, doing what feels right. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll do as well when I suffer the loss you did . . . Making the quilt for your granddaughter must’ve served as a fine distraction–different enough of a skill set that you *had* to focus. Plus I’m sure you could anticipate her joy in receiving it. Carry on, Cathy . . .

    • Thanks Kerry. Some days are easier than others. I have Mum’s picture in my bedroom and wish her goodnight every day. Sometimes that makes me cry and sometimes I am ok. The middle two weeks of the month are always busy for me, so that is helping, just keeping to my normal routine. The week after is going to be tough when we have the funeral.

  6. Wow, that’s a lot of yarn used! Amazing how it adds up, isn’t it?

    The quilt will be treasured because nana who can make anything made it! The fact that it isn’t straight will not be noticed! Good job!

    And good for you, getting yourself some cheerful flowers.

  7. (((HUG))) So glad you posted! You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
    The hand sewn quilt is sewn so beautifully!! I’ve made a few like your panel (mine were Minions :o) and handsewn them for my youngest boys. Its not that easy! Well done!
    I even had a very beloved dog who always pulled out and lay his head on the “tag” of the blanket or towel I lay down for him! What is it about those tags!
    Wow! Rhubarb! LOL! I will be lucky to see mine late May! The flowers are so pretty! and I love your dog figurines!
    Keeping track of your yarn is a neat idea! Wish I’d thought of that!

    • In other years it’s been June before I saw rhubarb. I have a feeling I may need to protect it if we get colder spell.
      Thank you for the kind comments about the quilt. I do work myself up about nothing! It was when I realised that even if it all went wrong, I could easily start again, and no harm done, that I could get cracking on it.
      Thank you for your prayers, they are really helping.

  8. I’ve read this over a couple of times. Things don’t stay in my brain from the top to the bottom of the page. Easily distracted. But I will say the little quilt will not doubt be very much loved. Looks absolutely perfect to me. Each stitch will have love and courage added to it. It’s interesting how we put things off the scare the dickens out of us. I’m not good at going outside my comfort zone but you’ve done quite the job of it. Love that you bought yourself flowers. They can soothe that part of us that aches. I must say, that’s a lot of yarn to go through in a year. I think sometimes we want to keep track of our accomplishments so we can see we haven’t been an entire waste of time on the planet. 🙂 I have to remember each night if I did anything useful that day. It’s a way to challenge ourselves. Machines have to be used regularly. Pick up some scrap fabric and just play with that old monster machine till it no longer frightens you. You’ll have lost nothing and gained confidence. I see a new craft in your future. 😉

    • I know you are so right about not being scared of machines, but I am. I don’t like gadgets at all. I am very glad that my young son taught me how to use a computer and I have husband who can sort out the darned thing when it needs it. I must keep on with the sewing machine.
      It was a long post, not surprised you got lost in it.

      • I have the attention span of a gnat these days. Over tired from moving my daughter since I must move so much to make room. 😉 I think I got lost when it settled in that you had lost your mother and I went back to find out. It’s never easy.

  9. Cathy, I was so happy to see your post this evening! This is not an easy time, but you sound like you are doing very well, moving through the process of healing one step at a time. When my mom died, I hid in my basement sewing room for more than a week. I’m not sure that was the best thing, your walking outdoors and finishing Miss F’s sweet quilt sounds much better. I am amazed to see those lovely little snow drops, but it hasn’t been a very harsh winter, so I guess that’s why. Sending you hugs.

    • Thank you so much Kathy. Part of my working life was spent with the elderly during which time I learned a lot about grief and how to work through it. I am now finding that instinctively I am doing the things that I know help, especially being with people and going outside, and allowing the tears to come when they creep up on me. Seeing signs of Spring helps too, Mum was keen on Nature and would have been most interested by this mild January.

  10. dezertsuz said:

    Oh, yes, the outdoors is so healing. I took so many walks in Texas after Paul died … walked miles all spring, watching the trees bud and blossom. It helps. I couldn’t believe your rhubarb and snowdrops from another post – your spring is as confusing as ours! Tears are healing, too, so let them come. You are doing all the right things, and now mix in time. Lots of time. Thanks for sharing the project pictures in Lake Victoria.

    • Thank you for this lovely comment. Mum was with me so long , I was lucky. I am finding that she is actually all over my house too, in pictures, ornaments, a cloth I have on my dressing table, tangible things she touched that touch me now.
      I went in the garden again yesterday, the bulbs are coming on so quickly. According to our weather forecast last night the temperature was what we would normally expect during the day.

  11. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    I am very impressed with you hand sewing. I am sure your granddaughter will love it. Good to hear things are getting a bit easier. Give yourself plenty time to grieve.

  12. I’m glad to hear you aren’t in pieces any more Cathy – I often think we kind of carry on for a long while as if all is well in our worlds until one day we wake up and find the grief has settled into a gentle letting go pattern…….. It can take a while. That quilt is so perfect for a little girl I bet she will be over the moon happy!

    • Mum left a beautiful letter for us, telling us she had a happy life, loved us and wanted us to be happy. I am trying my hardest to find pleasure in small things which was what she did.

      • That is such a lovely thing to hear – that your mum thought to write such a letter. You have been most fortunate in your parent Cathy – add that to the list of things to be happy for in your life. xo

  13. Lovely to hear you’re out and about, pulling weeds and enjoying flowers. (Yes, buy yourself a colourful bunch every week. Anyone using that much yarn per week deserves a treat!) The ribbon bit had me puzzled and I was wondering how you’d resolve. Masterful, m’dear! Sending lots of warm hugs~😘

  14. You will get back to things in time. Don’t rush. Do what you can when you feel it. I love the idea of saving yarn bands. I am going to keep that in mind for this year. Your pile is wonderful. I love the quilt!!! It is beautiful and your little Miss is going to love it. I love that the Disney panel included Princess Tiana (she is my favorite). So many Disney things seem to leave her out of the Princess line. I love how you stitched the top and the borders are perfect.

    • Oh thank you so much. I know the sides are all different and not uniform but it’s done which is the main thing. I hope to be able to get it to her this month, unexpected family gathering on the horizon…

  15. You make some lovely things Cathy. 🙂
    I’ve got some snowdrops peeping out of my very weedy flower beds. I really need to get out there and sort them out. I love snowdrops. X

    • I agree snowdrops are just so lovely, pure and white, and tell us Spring is coming. I can’t believe how early they are, popping up all over the garden. The birds are thrilled I’m having a tidy up outside but get cross if I stay in one spot too long and they want to get at my freshly revealed soil. A robin was supervising me all morning.

  16. Glad to hear you are feeling a little brighter and able to concentrate more on some craft work. The quilt is lovely and I am sure fit for a princess – she will love it who wouldn’t.
    My daughter spent some time in Tanzania 2 years ago doing some research into sustainability and she had to go into their homes (makeshift huts mostly) and interview the families and find out how they live – she came back quite a changed person – they have absolutely nothing mum she said and yet not only are they extremely happy and proud if they manage to own a bike they had stitched her a pretty tray cloth as a gift for her which she treasures.

    • That’s a lovely story about your daughter. We saw pictures of the huts, made of corrugated iron mostly. One grandmother had a bed frame but no mattress and she slept on it with the four grandchildren she had sole care of. The charity bought her a mattress and some bedding. We just can’t conceive such poverty. With only dirt roads there was no transport which is why the charity sent out bikes.
      Yes feeling a bit better, concentration is hard, so finding crafts I can just do is great. I was given one of those mindfulness journals with pictures to colour, and I have enjoyed just doing that.

  17. I like your idea of keeping the yarn labels – such a great way to really see how creative you have been. What an achievement.
    Well done for finishing the quilt – I’ve got a few of those sort of wips glaring at me from the corners of rooms! It looks fabulous, just right for a princess who has Nana’s fairies and dragons for friends.
    Three garden sessions a week – yes! that should be possible – I’m not setting any other New Year goals, but I like that one. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  18. I find hand quilting very scary – and avoid it whenever I can – so I’m full of admiration for your efforts. Of course, any little girl would be thrilled to bits with this princess quilt and especially a little girl whose nanna made it especially for her.

    • Ah thank you, it was the finishing it that defeated my brain for ages, I knew I wanted the top to turn over the bottom but how to do it and attach ribbons really taxed me, till I reckoned for goodness sake just do it.

  19. claire93 said:

    that’s a lovely quilt, Cathy!
    don’t be too critical of your work because you did very well and I love how you’ve added ribbons on the corners! Try and think back to your first ever knitting projects . . . and look at what gorgeous sweaters you make now! Patchworking & quilting is the same – it’s all about practice. Your first quilt isn’t “perfect” but Little Miss F doesn’t want “perfect”. She will be thrilled to bit because it’s made by Nana and made with love, especially for her.

    • Thank you Claire for the encouragement. My early attempts at knitting were dire!

      • claire93 said:

        my point exactly! we can’t improve if we never try lol. I was looking at photos in my crochet archives the other day, at my first attempts to crochet a wonky chain . . . and less than 2 years on, I know I have made huge progress.

  20. How could she not love that quilt? I bet she keeps it all her life ❤
    Glad you are able to keep busy and occupied xxx

  21. There now, who said quilts were scary/difficult? Oh yes, that was you, and now look at you! Well done, that woman. I can’t believe the weight of yarn you’ve worked through, that’s nearly five and a half kilos. Go shopping for that lot at once and your arm would tell you all about it. Makes my cotton reels look rather measly, even if my distance was greater. I wonder if Days for Girls has a chapter affiliated with your Lake Victoria support group, it sounds as if that’s a community in dire need of their services.

    • Fabric always scares me, and as for that machine… really looking forward to starting my patchwork class, I have a cutting board, a rotary cutter and ruler, so now I just need a 1 /4inch foot.
      I was shocked by the weight of wool involved, if I hadn’t kept the labels I would have disputed it.
      Days for girls might well be appreciated with LVC. It was rather nice seeing slides of women making sanitary towels, and seeing the pillow case dresses in use. And hearing what a difference it made to the people. Apparently they could not believe that complete strangers wanted to help so much, no-ne had ever offered help before.

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