Sunday, November 26, 2006

The rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated...

I suppose the main reason is that I have Been Out. Three times in about two months, actually, and all to Durham Gala Theatre. In a vain attempt to Get A Life, I foolishly booked tickets for three different shows in October and November and, although I enjoyed all of them greatly, it has left me absolutely flat. Still, if you get the chance to see Marcus Brigstocke, Jeremy Hardy, or The Play What I Wrote then do go and see them because they are all - in their own ways - extremely funny.

I have done one important thing in between periods of recovery, and that was send off my swatches. In the end I sent three to Rowan, three to Interweave Knits, and two to Vogue Knitting. I've already had an acknowledgement card from Interweave Knits to say that the parcel got there safely, so Watch This Space.

We've also solved The Mystery of the Smelly Cat: every so often, Tigger has come in smelling pleasantly - but distinctly - of non-cat smells, like the incense I mentioned in the last post. Apparently he has taken to visiting a neighbour of ours, who has just lost her little dog. My immediate reaction was to go along and apologise to her, but the Warden for our block assures me that she's very happy to see Tigger when he visits, and that he's helping her get over the loss of Lady. Obviously it is from spending time in her house that he picked up the scents over which we then puzzled...


"I won't be long. It's baking day today, so I'll be back in a minute - smelling of cinnamon..."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A sobering thought

Before I get to the main thing I want to blog about this week, can I just say: thank goodness Bonfire Night is over! As the Beamish Boy said last year, "Some people go to firework displays; some people organise firework displays; and some people have firework displays thrust upon them..." The village has not had an official display this year, but we have had all the local youth trying to outdo each other with the number, size, and loudness of their bangers. The past two nights have been like living in a war zone :(

(Note for non-UK readers: on 5th November every year, we commemorate a plot to blow up Parliament. Some people let off fireworks because they are pleased that the plot was foiled; others do so in gratitude for the plot being hatched at all...)

Anyway, I was given a large bag of crochet thread this week by a friend who had received it from a recently bereaved family. She passed it on to me because she knew that I am a member of the Knitting & Crochet Guild and hoped that I would be able to find a good home for it. Before I gave it away, I naturally had a good rummage through. It was really quite sad; the threads were all tangled together, and had obviously just been dumped into the bag from a drawer or work box.

As I sifted through, I found a small piece of tatted edging. As I pulled it out, I found another one tangled with the end of it; then another, and another. By the time I reached the bottom of the bag, I had unearthed several pieces of quite elaborate edgings, some small individual motifs, three complete – or nearly complete – doilies, and three tatting shuttles:


Then something stuck in my finger. I thought it was a needle until I pulled it out and realised it was a tatting hook – the tiny hook used to draw thread through a picot on a tatted motif to attach one piece to another. We've put a penny coin in the photo to give you an idea of scale:

Tatting Hook

There's a mixture of crocheted and tatted stuff, but it all has three things in common: it all needs a gentle, but thorough, wash; it needs bits finishing off and threads sewing in; and it was somebody's pride and joy, which was never intended to be dumped unceremoniously into a bag and given to a complete stranger.

The last one made me think. What's going to happen to all of my stash when - although not for a good many years yet, I hope - I cast off my last row and head for the Big Stitch 'n' Bitch in the Sky? It's not something that any of us likes to think about, but even a small stash can be a great gift to another knitter or crocheter.

I have a friend who inherited a stash from the relative of a friend. It has taken her two years to knit her way through it, and everything she has made from it has benefited a charity. When she has knitted up the last ball, she intends to type up the list of items she has made and present it to the family. I'm perfectly sure that they will be amazed at what that small stash has achieved.

On an even gloomier note: is your stash insured? Even a moderately sized stash of yarn, needles, and books could be worth a considerable amount of money, if it all needed to be replaced after a fire, flood, or unexpected plague of moths. I'm not too sure that you can insure your stuff against plague of moths, but it's a niche market that I'm sure insurers should be looking into :)

So, in short, get your stash into your Will and onto your contents insurance; you don't want it ending up jumbled together in a bag in a stranger's home.

I'll do my best to restore and complete all these lovely pieces, and I'll post photos to show you what they look like when I've finished.

On a lighter note, Tigger presented me with a bit of a puzzle today. He came in smelling unmistakably of incense. The only solution I can think of was that he had gone to the Catholic church across the road, misread the sign as "Cat-holic" and joined the congregation for mass. After all, he can be a very devout cat: