Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yarn and a yarn...

My Nana was a knitter. I never saw her do any crochet, but come autumn she'd have the knitting needles out and a familiar click-clack would sound through our flat each evening as we watched the telly or sat in the kitchen listening to the radio.

Mostly she knitted socks, scarves, vests and balaclavas, all to be worn by my dear Pop in the cold night hours whilst loading cargo off and on ships at the Newcastle Port. To my knowledge she never knitted any other clothing, but there was an occasional tea cosy made to dress the pot when it's old finery had worn thin. 

I was reminded of Nana and her seasonal employment with yarn when a newsletter from Eco-yarns arrived in my email inbox one day last week. I bought a few skeins of Eco-yarn as a gift for a friend last year (and it's absolutely beautiful) which is why I receive their newsletters. I do swoon over their natural dyed wool but it's too hot here nine months of the year to take knitting or crochet seriously so I swoon a while and then delete the email. 

But in this latest newsletter they'd included a lovely, simple washcloth pattern of which I think I'll knit at least one if I can find some suitable yarn here in town. 
It's garter stitch for the washcloth with an option to crochet around the edge when you finish. The pattern is free and you're welcome to make it too by clicking on the link above the photo.

So that's the first 'yarn' in my blog title, now on to the other 'yarn'.

A yarn is what my Pop would call a chat. He'd say, "I was having a yarn with Joe at smoko..." or "Jennifer, come and have a yarn with your old Pop and tell me what you've been up to today..."

Whilst looking at that photo of the washcloth above I realised for the first time just why a chat was called a yarn. Because a yarn is lines of conversation interwoven from one person to another, back and forth, round about, creating a story, making something permanent - be it only a memory - out of mere thoughts.
Just like we use woolly yarn to weave, crochet or knit - in and out, round about, back and forth, creating something tangible, something more than an idea.

Nana and Pop had many yarns while she knitted with her yarn.
I usually sat nearby and just enjoyed being with them, eating bread with butter and jam and loving how right everything was in our little world in the poor side of town.

Thinking about the yarn and the washcloth also got me thinking about my favourite domesticity  book, in fact the book which inspired my year of gentle domesticity in 2015, a year that ran over into 2016 and is still giving me food for thought and joy in my ordinary today. 

Tell-tale signs of a well loved, well used, and generally read cover to cover and back again book...

The author, Jane Brocket, adores yarn.
She knits socks, lots and lots of socks.

In fact when I bought another of her books (The Gentle Art of Knitting) what was the very first pattern in that book? Socks.
I tried knitting socks...let's not relive that experience. 

I do like her cable knitted hot water bottle cover, though. When my children were little I knitted many cabled cardigans, vests and jumpers (sweaters) for them, spending many a contented hour click-clacking away on wintry Melbourne nights. 

Sadly we've had no need of a hot water bottle since moving to the tropics in 2009, but I do think one might look rather nice just lying beside a stack of Jane Austen classics, a vase of carnations, and a notepad. 

In Jane's knitting book, which I'm sad to say has not been read cover to cover, nor have I made one single thing from it, she also has a simple washcloth pattern which if memory serves me right I did intend making a while back??
(the red and white caught my eye, something Nana would have made...love it)

Fortunately washcloths and dishcloths all serve a purpose no matter what the weather or where in the world you live so I DO intend making at least one this year, perhaps even before my winter (which is more like a springy autumn) begins in June. 
And I do think that red and white is rather charming. Or is the heart ribbon wrapped around the dishcloth adding a touch of sentimentality that's got me romanticising? Mmmmm.

Today is my birthday and I spent most of it with Blossom and Cully May. We had cake and coffee at a nice cafe where for the first time Cully May was introduced to a high chair, which she "loved" almost as much as my lemon syrup muffin.

Afterwards we roamed our local Spotlight store so that Blossom could choose fabric and supplies for her fledgling baby and toddler clothing design business. I had plans to check out their yarns section for my washcloth/dishcloth plans but in the excitement of being the centre of Cully May's attention for those two hours I completely forgot!

There's always tomorrow.

When I arrived home mid afternoon my exhaustion level was on extreme, but my happiness meter was overflowing.
To top it off Mr E arrived home from work half an hour later with the biggest bunch of flowers and the whole house smells amazing!

We're going out for dinner tonight, then I will need to rest and recover all day tomorrow,
but for the blessings of today it's all worth it.


Thank you to everyone who entered my Splendid Giveaway.
There were 560 entries!
I asked my husband to choose a number between 1 and 560 for the winner and he said -
"Number 1, first in, best dressed."

You can visit Sheryl's blog here. I met her in Melbourne a few years back and can honestly say she's a really gorgeous lady from the inside out.
Congratulations Shez!!

Bless you all, and may your day be especially happy too.



Julie said...

Oh gosh Jenny ... first of all ... Happy, happy Birthday to you my friend. Secondly, congratulations to Shez - I follow her blog & she truly does seem SUCH a lovely lady. Now speaking of the dishcloths - I am currently knitting one at the moment. Today I got halfway up & had to pull it all undone as the pattern was wrong & somewhere along the way, I had gained another two stitches. Did you hear me groaning all the way across to your place??!! I got my yarn at Spotlight - a nice cotton bamboo mix. I can just see those red/white dishcloths sitting in a lovely old enamel basin. Have a wonderful dinner tonight dear girl. Sending much love & friendship to you x x x x x

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,happy Birthday my friend ,wow thankyou so much for having this awesome giveaway and also a big thankyou to you hubby.
I am blown away your designsd are always so lovely.
I have quite a few knitted dishcloths and love them i also have some knitted squares for polishing,thankyou so much jenny for making my day xx

Joanne said...

Happy Birthday!
560! That's a lot of dessert ideas! Congratulations to the winner! IT's always nice to get introduced to a new for me blog via your blog!
Knitting....that's been tried and in the " not for me" experience pile!
Take care,

Jude said...

Happy Birthday Jenny with all good wishes for the coming year, hope its a good one with many fun family times, perfect way to spend your special day with your gorgeous Blossom and Cully May, enjoy your dinner outing to top it off. Blossom's new venture sounds very interesting and lovely for her to be making for Cully May. There are so many beautiful fabrics and prints and all the bits to accessorize and embelish. Congrats to Sheryl, I am familiar with her blog and all the beautiful work she shares, very inspiring talented lady. Thank you for another lovely post, special memories shared and a knitted wash cloth sounds like a great addition to my gift list, a good way to ease back into knitting or crochet at the end of summer and always looking out for quick useful items to make. Wishing you a fun birthday week, Judithann :-)x

Anonymous said...

A Big Happy Birthday Jenny! Glad you had a lovely day.
Carol O

Suze said...

Happy happy birthday. I love that you spent the day with your daughter and granddaughter. So special. God bless the year ahead.

I am a knitter through and through. At present I have at least two pairs of socks on needles, a baby blanket and a massive amount of squares waiting to be sewn together. While Beth and I travelled in January there were hours on flights and trains. Bethany was fascinated my socks and she filmed me knitting a few times. I must admit it is too warm in Brisbane most of the time for knits but I still do so. I have fallen in love with hand sewing again and in the last 12 months I have collected so much....I must start.

Tricia said...

Happy birthday, Jenny! And thank you for sharing the washcloth pattern. I will definitely be making one or more of them! I am trying to make more handmade items for Christmas this year and this will be a lovely idea!!

I hope you are resting and relaxing today. Take care of yourself!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the 'yarn' - so fun to look back fondly at those special memories! My sister is the knitter in my family, she lives in southern California, so like you has little need for warm knitted items. Lucky for me, living far from the tropics in northern Minnesota, I have received many of her lovely warm creations. Hope you have a wonderful birthday! - Diane from Minnesota

tink's mom said...

Sounds like an absolutely perfect birthday. Many happy returns of the day..

Natureluvr57 said...

Happy Birth Date.....Lovely blog. I knit a bit but I struggle and I'm slooooow at it. I did knit a tea cozy and then I crocheted (more my cup of tea) lots of flowers to sew onto it. I loved the results. Then I read you can do a simple stockinette stitch in the round so it will curl nicely. It only needs to be about an inch or so, then you slip it over your teapot spot to catch any drips. What a great ideal since it's hard to find drip catchers anymore and the sponges get so nasty looking on them. I have started my Roses and Pineapple crochet bedspread which will take many years to finish. I have several "long term" projects I work on, such as 3 quilts I'm making with a large tractor on each surrounded by pinwheels-I'm slowly working on making 498 pinwheels. I have to have some short term projects so I can have the satisfaction of finishing something. I embroidered some pockets for two aprons and finished those recently. Over the weekend I bid on and won a tea cup, saucer, desert plate and matching spoon that has May and Lilies of the Valley on them. This will be my birthday setting starting this year. So enjoy the rest of your birthday with loved ones.

Susan said...

Happy Birthday. May God's grace and power continue to bless you throughout the year.

Glad you had a wonderful birthday. And yes, some days are worth the price one pays the next day or so.

Lin said...

Happy Birthday Jenny! and congratulations to Shez. xx

Debra said...

A very Blessed and Happy Birthday to you, Jenny! It sounds like you enjoyed a perfect day! I knit cotton dishcloths and find them to be superior to store-bought. Also, they are great portable projects, and make sweet little hostess gifts when paired with a special bar of scented soap. I have "The Gentle Art of Domesticity", which is a favorite of mine as well, thanks to you, and although I am not familiar with the knitting book, I plan to check it out!

CalamityJr said...

Happy birthday, dear Jennifer. Thank you so much for all you share - not just patterns and stitching/finishing ideas, but more importantly, your faith, love, and wisdom. I learn so much from you, and I thank God for you. Blessings!

Farm Quilter said...

Happy Birthday!! (If it is still your birthday where you are!!) I hope your entire year is as blessed with family and friends as your day appears to have been! May God bless you the way you bless the world!

beefi8 said...

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays, Jenny! May you have a blessed day!!!

Lori said...

Happy Birthday, Jenny! You are an inspiration to me!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Jenny, and many more to come. I love crocheting and knitting, though it would be hard to justify the time it takes in a climate that doesn't call for sweaters, hats and mittens. Maybe you could try some baby headbands to accessorize Blossom's creations. There are some adorable patterns out there.

Cindy in NC

Robin in New Jersey said...

Happy, happy birthday to you, Jenny! It sounds like your day was wonderful. I love reading about your grandparents. Blessings to Blossom on her business.

TerriSue said...

Happy Happy Birthday Dear Jenny! What a lovely way to spend the day.
I always have a dishcloth in the making in my purse. You don't need long needles. You are making it up in cotton yarn so it can take abuse, and if it gets dirty it's a washcloth, so what. I have something to do in waiting rooms, and the occasional times we go out to eat, waiting for food. I have three patterns for simple dishcloths that I have memorized so I always can pick up where I am at easily. I don't drive anymore so doing something simple means I can have a "yarn" with Jim since he takes me everywhere.

Kristy said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you have enough energy to enjoy your dinner out! Many blessings on you and your family. You are a very special lady and your husband seems to understand just what brings you joy! That is so special too. I hope you can rest well tomorrow. Thank you for continuing to give to us as often as you can. You are a highlight to my days and an encourager beyond what you know. Thank you for your example of selflessness and humility. Jesus shines through you.-
K- lkw2x6-apq@yahoo.com

Deborah said...

Happy Birthday. Wishing you a spectacular year. (My birthday was yesterday and I celebrated with my husband, daughter and son-in-law).

the girlfriend gap said...

Happy Birthday Jenny! You add Sunshine to my days. I enjoy your thoughts. I don't knit but I do love yarn washcloths for the bath. Why should the dishes have all the pretties? My kitchen dishcloths get such abuse and don't stay nice very long. I love the crocheted edge added. Janita

Createology said...

A Very Heartfelt Happy Birthday Jenny Dear. Keep celebrating and enJOYing each and every day. I love hearing your "Yarns'" of living wth your Nana and Pop. Today I was reminiscing over my simple lunch of wonderful times with my Grandma Dot and her Aunt Flossie. I always felt so special with them. I might try knitting a small washcloth...but NO socks. Happy Birthday to YOU special lady! <3 XO

Ondrea said...

WOOHOOO! Congrats Shez!!!! I agree, she is a wonderful lady. Such beautiful memories you have of your dear grandmother. Socks! They scare me too. Way too difficult to wrap my brain around lol. I do love knitting and crocheting but have found crocheting to be much more enjoyable these days than knitting. Quicker and easier to rectify mistakes. I am so pleased to know you spent your birthday with your beautiful Blossom and little Cully May. Bonus getting to spotlight too. Enjoy your beautiful flowers.Angel hugs.

Baa. xxx said...

I hope dinner was wonderful. What a super day and you're right it will all be worth it and you can have a quiet day at home tomorrow. It might be fun to make a washcloth. I have never knitted one before - it is cotton isn't it? I will have to check out Spotlight like Julie said. Happy happy Day! And God's blessings on you for an amazing year!

Christine M said...

I don't remember ever seeing my Grandmother knit. I love hearing your stories of your Grandmother. They are so special. Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday, Jenny. xx

Nanna Chel said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Jenny. I am a bit late to the party. I have borrowed a few of Jane Brocket's book from the library and she does beautiful work...much better than I can do but I like looking at the pictures...particularly the ones of socks. LOL!

Carol C. said...

Happy Birthday, Jenny!! Sounds like a perfect day, with those you love, who love you dearly!! I always love your blog posts, and am so inspired by your words of wisdom and your beautiful stitchery and pictures! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us!!

Helen Philipps said...

Happy belated Birthday Jenny! So great to spend time with your loved ones on your birthday. Hope you enjoy the rest of the week.
Helen xox

Winifred said...

Hope you had a lovely birthday Jenny.
I hated knitting socks, almost as bad as knitting gloves.
I loved your post about your Nana. I was the same with mine, I spent lots of time with her & granddad who was a miner like my dad. Like you we spent hours in the pre telly days sewing, embroidering, knitting & chatting. Like you I loved the jam & bread. Still love it, I had a slice tonight with a coffee. Yummy! Might just have another.
Congratulations to Shez,it was a great pressie I'm sure she is over the moon.

Connie said...

Congrats to Sheryl!
I've heard of calling a story a "yarn," such as someone telling the story with embellishments and details was telling a "yarn."
I love to knit but I'm unable to knit socks so far, perhaps one day, although I'm not really moved to do so at this time. I love knitting scarves because I know I can and I don't stress. There are many patterns and yarns and colors and one can't have too many scarves, and if they do, give them as gifts then. I've knitted little cotton spa cloths which is a gentle term for a wash cloth actually.
I'm collecting your free patterns as I love to embroider and quilt, and they can be used in so many ways. I enjoy your posts. I'll be back for another and another!
connie xo

http://thankfullga447 said...

Happy Birthday! You had a lovely day but tomorrow is your day of 'rest'.

selina said...

happy birthday for tuesday!
glad you had a wonderful day!
thanx for sharing