Thursday, 7 May 2009

A French Dolly, a large bed and some pleasurable pastimes!

This is Yvette, and the eagle-eyed crafty ones will have noticed that she is a French Knitting Dolly. I had been knitting some drawstring bags and trying to do an i-cord, but found it so laborious and tiresome, took so long to get anywhere.. the phrase 'watching paint dry' came to mind! I then remembered french knitting, and had I had one of those capacious old-fashioned sewing boxes, no doubt in some corner would be lurking an old wooden cotton reel. In my husband's sheds are jars of screws and nails, and I am sure some carpet tacks could be found to create the old-fashioned tool of my childhood. (I wonder what I did with all those endless colourful woolly worms?) However, no wooden reels being to hand I decided to hang the expense and buy a propery French Knitting Dolly, and this is she. I sat and made the woolly
worms again, found it so relaxing I almost nodded off more than once. A fine pastime for listening to the Archers, or Desert Island Discs or cricket on the radio perhaps? I am blessed with a husband who will do anything to make my life easier, and so last weekend he built and painted this raised bed for me. I can no longer kneel due to a burning pain in one knee, nor can I bend over due to problems with lower back and dizziness! A right old crock am I. But I wanted to sow some seeds, especially having taken advantage of a free organic seed offer. I plan to grow carrots, beetroots, salad onions, maybe a courgette, some herbs.... haven't quite decided but as this bed is two feet high, I know that I will be able to reach to weed and prick out and so forth, with ease, which will be a first. Alongside this is a smaller bed, just four feet by two, and not raised to this extent, only about a foot deep, and edged with the same wood as its big neighbour. In here I shall have purple-sprouting broccoli and a bean plant or two on wigwams made from cut-down alder branches. A new compost bin, wooden this time since we have never really got on with the free plastic ones from the council, will be installed and we already have a rainwater collecting system in the same area, so I am all set to sow and grow, pick and eat. I also have large tubs on the terrace, filled with herbs and cut and come again leaves, tumbling tomatoes from a hanging basket as well.

Of course books had to feature again. The larger one is all about healing and creative journals. I have always kept a diary, but there is a difference between a diary and a journal... the former records events, and the latter the emotions felt at the time... that's a very simplistic description but conveys the differences between the two I think. Some of the journals created are works of art.. I don't aspire to that level of competency since my arty skills are virtually zilch, but with the aid of stickers, stamps, odds and ends and words of course, I think I can make a reasonable attempt at making a healing journal. I have a few books on the subject, having become interested in the idea of journaling, writing, for spiritual, mental and therefore physical well-being and growth. I was at the hospital this week for my six monthly check up at the transplant clinic, and always suffer dreadfully with anxiety, which manifests itself in unpleasant physical ways as well as mentally. I don't know why this is so, after over 26years of going to clinics of one sort or another regularly, sometimes monthly, you would think I would be accustomed to it. But no... the BP goes off the scale almost (though settles back down a few hours later, at home) and I feel pretty awful. Once it is over with, I almost skip with relief out of the hospital!But whilst waiting for the doctor I tried some writing therapy, writing down who was sitting near me, and how I felt at the time. It helped, took my mind off the wait, which in effect was no more than 15-20 minutes, but felt like hours of course.
The other book is 'The Palace of Strange Girls' written by Sallie Day. It is set in Blackpool, in one week in 1959, the Wakes Week holiday, an annual event when the cotton mills close down for their holidays and the majority of the workers from the Lancashire Mill towns head for the bright lights and gaudiness of Blackpool. Some are heading for foreign climes, travel to the Costa Brava has just become easier to access for all, but the majority stay with what they know. The Palace is one of those attractions on the Promenade, or was... a house of horrors, of weird and wonderful women, and this fascinates young Beth. She is not a healthy girl, has had major heart problems and is watched over like a hawk. With her parents and elder sister, a sulky teenager who wants to leave school but isn't allowed, she has come to Blackpool. Her father Jack is hiding a secret, her Mother Ruth is only with him for the semi she lusts after. Who gets their own way and what happens in the meantime, has happened in the past also, is contained in this lovely novel. I bought it because of the setting. At that time, although I only lived a few miles further up the coast, we never visited Blackpool. My late father, with ideas above his station, thought it too common, for a day out Southport, genteel and quieter, more reserved, was the choice. But once I left school, it was the best place to find work. In the town where I lived, the options were office work with soicitors mainly, shop work, working in Mullards Valve Factory, or in the fish processing plant on the docks. Blackpool offered much more, variety and money in your pocket, so that was where I headed. So Blackpool in the mid-60s holds lots of memories for me.. and someone who often posts a comment here!

Here are the drawstring bags I mentioned. I have no idea what they can be used for to be honest. I have done one is a cheery red, lined with Christmassy fabric of a red background and tiny green trees, made an applique from the fabric in the shape of a tree and sewn to the front, and tied with red glitzy ribbon. These I used the french knitting for, and I suppose they could be used to keep gloves in, stockings, little scented sachets and hung up somewhere, maybe? And then there are the sherbet baby socks, a lime green with yellow heels and toes, made the same way as my jelly bean socks of last year.
So that was my last bank holiday weekend.. I wonder what the next will bring? Most likely making a start on taking my workroom to bits and starting again. It is a clutter of different bookcases, cupboards and so on, and whilst that may look like shabby chic in some surroundings, in mine it just looks messy. So I am going for a more uniform look, getting a new work table, one that I can use the sewing machine on as well as laptop.. new bookcases matching, for my hundreds of novels.... new storage for craft materials and a glass fronted cabinet for the finished articles as well as my oldest, precious books which are a bit fragile. Should keep me busy!























11 comments:

blackbird said...

The spool knitter is the best way to do cords- we called it a knitty knobby when I was little. When I had my yarn shop, my daughter, probably 8 at the time, would teach classes on its use. She had also learned how to use her fingers to do the same thing which resulted in frothy little neck scarves that were very popular.

A neighbor with a tailoring shop sews up little bags to wrap gifts in- that would be a great use for your cute little bags.

And, I envy you your raised bed- they are so much easier to work in and the plants love the heat.

We have such grey and cold weather here that I haven't put any seeds out yet. Maybe soon.

potheat is my verification word- maybe that means something?

Pondside said...

What a busy bee you've been!
I well remember knitting endless long wooly worms with a knitting dolly. I think that the goal was always a rug for beside the bed, but I don't remember if I ever knit enough!
Blackpool - I've never been there, but the name has always stuck with me. When I was a little girl I met another little girl who had a brother-in-law (imagine - a little girl with a brother-in-law...how exotic to the 10 year old me) who was a clown in Blackpool. I was never sure why there would be a call for a clown in Blackpool, but it stuck with me.

pinkfairygran said...

Pondside...Blackpool is famous for its Tower Circus, so that could be where the clown worked... a very famous English clown, Charlie Caeroli worked there. (Spelling wrong, but those who know Blackpool would know the name.)

Quilting Cat said...

That's a raised bed and a half and super colour. The old sleepers on my beds are falling to pieces now, have raised bed envy. The Sallie Day book sounds good, will look out for that. Used to do the french knitting thing also, must be a lot of woolly worms around somewhere!

Calico Kate said...

I hold my hand up to being in the woolly worm club too! We used to have competitions at school at who could knit the longest, we would walk around the play ground chatting and knitting with vast coloured loops strung around our necks! No idea where they are now or where they went when we got bored with them. I too have been on the look out for one recently though I can't remember now why or what for!!
Am so admiring of your socks PFG I can't manage anything more than a square or rectangle!
Your A is such a lovely man! Your raised beds are very CL and th eenvy of all who cast eyes on them.

Sorry to read you still get stressed about your appointments. Drink some chamomile tea before you go? Or pehaps suck Rescue Remedy pastilles?
CKx

Fyldecoaster said...

PFG as you know I can fully understand your feelings for Blackpool, after all good times are to be had there, and yes there are parts that are past their sell by date but the town is going through a regeneration. It was in the 60's that I first came to the area as a boy in short pants, so I can see me having a look at the book. By the way, remeber the old mecca ballroom on Central Drive?? they've just bulldozed it.

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HieuThao said...

negletekniker

restroom partitionsThe spool knitter is the best way to do cords- we called it a knitty knobby when I was little. When I had my yarn shop, my daughter, probably 8 at the time, would teach classes on its use

HieuThao said...

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breitling replicaA neighbor with a tailoring shop sews up little bags to wrap gifts in- that would be a great use for your cute little bags.

And, I envy you your raised bed- they are so much easier to work in and the plants love the heat.

We have such grey and cold weather here that I haven't put any seeds out yet. Maybe soon.

naruto said...

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tandem trailers brisbaneI well remember knitting endless long wooly worms with a knitting dolly. I think that the goal was always a rug for beside the bed, but I don't remember if I ever knit enough!
Blackpool - I've never been there, but the name has always stuck with me. When I was a little girl I met another little girl who had a brother-in-law (imagine - a little girl with a brother-in-law...how exotic to the 10 year old me)