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:

Everything

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:

DSCF0960

4 comments:

Vicki said...

Looking more catatonic than catholic in the pic there Tigger!

Mary Anne said...

Heather,

It's fortunate that you received the lot and can appreciate the quality and work that went into the lace making.

The Tigger pose is soo cute. Cat-holic - love that!

Linda said...

Good point! My mother was an excellent knitter, seamstress, crochet-er, patchwork-maker and quilter and was beginning to do some beautiful tatting. When she died I just didn't know what to do with what was left (although she had given most of her crafts away as gifts) so I'm still coming across bits and pieces almost 15 years later. All her knitting needles and crochet hooks went to a charity event - a 'knit-in' to make clothes/blankets - and I think her tatting shuttles went to a cousin who was taking up the craft.

When making a will, it's worth considering who should inherit your 'stash' - the last thing you want is it ending up in landfill, chucked there by some distant relative who didn't care ... I know my nieces would want to keep the cross-stitch pictures I've done, but their mother would make them throw them away!

Anonymous said...

Lol...so Tigger is a Catholic.Tell Tigger I adore Frankincense too .He'll want fish on Fridays....err Mondays,Tuesdays any day ending with a "Y". As for fireworks ..very funny quote from your son Malvolio!Sadly firework night here lasts for at least three months...sigh.angie Cox ..options wouldn't accept my new blog addy .