Saturday, 7 May 2011

The perils of feeling stitchy, with some economical hints on recycling

As I sat today and gazed upon the indelible stain on my cream merino I thought I might move on from fashion hints to those of a laundry nature, but unfortunately, well not unfortunately at all as the poor parched plants needed it, it has been raining this morning and thus not conducive to artistic pictures of washing hanging on the line.

Rare sighting of a raindrop

But the lettuces are looking distinctly perky, and the Head Chef is waxing lyrical about the smell of rain on fresh earth, and he is not a poetic type, except for the occasional doggerel presented to me on wedding anniversaries, which makes me cry; but as I am sure that I have said before, my family knows they have succeeded on the present front if it makes me cry.

(As well as perking up the green growing things, I hope the rain will perk down his hair as he marches off to bond with his pigs: he has a certain air of having spent some time with his fingers in an electrical socket this morning.)

Such is the rarity of precipitation in these parts that I did have an urge to leap from my couch and go and roll vigorously on the front lawn in thanks and propitiation to the rain gods, but I would most certainly injure myself, if not in the rolling, probably in my precipitation from the house.

And anyway, I have been feeling stitchy. I think it is the effect of spring and sunshine but I am filled with an overwhelming urge to make and create, in a textile way, you will understand.

Such is the stitchiness that I found myself sitting in bed this morning with paper pattern tissue spread across the counterpane. My little princess no longer has a call for maternally made ensembles, so I will divert my need to clothe someone into making clothes for myself.

Reject skirt

You might say that things have come to a pretty pass: nearly twenty-five years of marriage and the Saturday morning lie-in involves wrestling a paper pattern back into the envelope, with the Head Chef giving me helpful hints as to following the folds, and asking polite questions about what I am going to 'start making next'. But having been searching for many years, my view is that it takes a maturing of the mind to realize that the seeker can move a step nearing to finding out the meaning of life by pondering the potential inherent in the pattern, in all its forms and guises.

And little does the Head Chef know that making a dirndl skirt with an elastic waist will involve total immersion in enough patterns to stock a small shop, and midnight perusal of arcane books on tailoring with diagrams I cannot begin to understand. It's the academic training, I tell him, I need to read around the subject.

Anyway, today the pattern constitutes a distraction activity: as a fluffy vegetarian in a house full of hearty meat eaters, I find it rather uncomfortable listening to anecdotes about what happened on the way to the abattoir, or when he got there, or ... here I must draw a veil on behalf of readers as sensitive as myself.

I know that I cultivate the air of a sympathetic listener, always eager to hear about and engage with the various activities undertaken by my little flock (even when I would rather be learning how to twist a cable) but the intricate detail of the destiny of a pig is a step too far, and I like to pull down a little shutter in my head and pretend that they gambol in orchards forever.

Up the garden path

So back to the patterns: I fell asleep in a whirl of inspiration over this lovely little book, which leapt out of a shop window and kidnapped me whilst I was just off to have a cup of tea. (I can blame the General for this, only I wouldn't dare tell him, as his basilisk optics would look down on mine in a superior manner, and he would opine on the necessity of taking responsibility for one's own actions, a very worthy sentiment which he has, I must admit, learnt at my very own knee.)

Prolific digital artists with giant boxes and portfolios to transport about the country need a chauffeur on hand, and at very particular times, which necessitated my lurking about town for an hour, and some gravitational pull exerted by things tactile and textile drew me in the direction of a very magical shop where the assistants charm the fabric off the shelves and into your bag.

Unfortunate carrier bag and sensible knitting bag

The only drawback is that the carrier bags in the magical shop are, more's the pity, transparent. Rather than acting as a cloak of invisibility, these insubstantial bags somehow emphasize the extravagant enormity of the spell which has overcome the hapless wanderer who is charmed through the fatal door into a wonderland which is all too material.

And it is this magical bag of visibility which brings me to one of my handy hints to help you on your dusty road through life: always carry a knitting bag, just to be on the safe side. And a capacious one at that.

Because if magic shops give out invisible carrier bags, you can always transfer a portion of your purchases into the dark depths of your knitting bag.

And then when they emerge, it will just appear as if they have been in your possession forever and a day, and are just part of your crafty entourage which accompanies you everywhere, just in case you have a few minutes spare, and being so industrious and thrifty you never pass up an opportunity to whip up a little something out of nothing.

Capacious knitting bag

Like the knitting bag which, of course, is the acme of economy being a confection of repurposed fabric (and how I love that word 'repurposed' which has arrived on these shores with a sense of direction, and well, purpose, rather than the more meandering, rambling, happy-go-lucky, 'recycled'), from a skirt that didn't quite match the aspirations of a three-year-old princess.

So there you have it, more thrifty lifestyle hints from one who tries very hard: always carry a knitting bag, read around the subject, and be careful, be very careful,  if you feel an urge to roll on the grass in the rain.

And with that, dear readers, I will leave you, as I go off to practise what I preach. Have a lovely weekend.


Cathy said...

I found your post hilarious Pomona. I can just visualise your poor hubby with his hair sticking up in the air. Perhaps it was the rain. It always makes mine go frizzy. We had a bit of a soakiing today too and very welcome it was. My poor alliums were wilting with the heat. Now we have been threatened with temps in the high 80's very shortly.

I am with you on the pigs. I don't eat meat although I do eat fish for my brain cells. When I see sheep and cows in the fields I like to think that they will be there a very long time and enjoy life before they end up in that nameless place. Have a great weekend.

gillyflower said...

Great post!
That book you have found is a goody - i bought it a little while back (mentioned it in a post actually and tempted a few others into buying it!)as that skirt on the front and the tops inside look brilliant - i can't wait to find the time to try a few things out!
Good Luck with your skirt making!
Love the knitting bag by the way!
Thanks for your birthday wishes

marigold jam said...

This sort of thing is exactly why I missed you so much whilst you wee away! Loved it. I'm definitely with you when it comes to kidding myself that the little dears gambol in the fields for ever even though we lived with a field of cows next door in France and restaurants serving veal!!

Loved the knitting bag and thought the hint really funny and so very useful!


KC'sCourt! said...

Your post has just made me chuckle out loud! It has really cheered me up :~)!
Pretty knittng bag
Julie xxxxxxx

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Do you know I had fallen out of the habit of carrying my enormous knitting/carpet bag around with me! You know the one with the faux bamboo handles in a beautful green brocade, shame on moi! Consider this slip rectified! As for electric socket morning hair, hmm we have aimilar issues, unfortunately I like it and so fail to mention to Mr.Lane when perhaps it would be a meeting with the accountant?
So enjoyed this post, made me smile,
Sarah x

lily said...

Hilarious...........I have an unspoken code of conduct with my local fabric shop...........I will happily spend many of my hard earned pounds while visiting but if anyone asks, (mainly OH), they can be relied upon to relay the fact that they haven't set eyes on me for an absolute age, they will protest with absolute certainty that my sweet little countenance has not even been spied in the vicinity of their delightful establishment.............whatever I purchase I know my secrets are safe with the dear ladies of my local fabric emphorium.

Love the repurposed knitting bag, a little gem and very volumptious for all your hidden counterband, I must aquire one post haste!

Bring on the rain, (I think grass rolling should become a national pastime),

enjoy your weekend lily x

silverpebble said...

I am wondering if you could rustle up a hatstand out of that capacious yet chic knitting bag.

Caroline Lovis said...

You have such a poetic way of describing the events of everyday living. It really brought a smile to my face when you talked about the 'research' necessary before you start a new project. I can't wait to see how you transform your fabric
Caroline x

Jooles said...

thanks so much for the tips, will be popping back frequently in the hope of more!
one for you from me...NEVER say 'no' to cake. this has always stood me in good stead.
now where is my knitting bag!
j x

dottycookie said...

You did make me laugh! Hope you have had plenty of rain - we've been promised a downpour but there's no sign of it yet ...

mooi hoor... said...

Haha Pomona. You're priceless. I take it that it is really you on the cover of that sew serendipity book. Making your way into the garden, with that gorgeous re-purposed skirt and a (not visible) granny cardigan. Ready to dance light- and barefooted in wet grass.

Seems you're making headway cleaning out the knitting cupboard as well...
Lovely baby blanket!

Indigo Blue said...

This was a lot of fun to read! Love the knitting bag. After 18 years (13 married) my hubby is almost idsappointed if I come home purchaseless as he knows that out of all of the shopping habits I could have fabric buying every now and then is actually quite cheap!

harmony and rosie said...

All duly noted, I shall without doubt be avoiding any rolling in any grass today! Very acceptable bag indeed!

Kate x

melanie said...

What a great post, very funny, I did laugh :) xxx

Chrissie said...

Lovely post Pomona - but I'm surprised it's taken so long for you to work out the 'knitting bag' technique!! :-)))

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

You always put a delightful, funny spin on your posts... that's probably why we missed you so.
Love the knitting bag and I'll give the book a second look.
Have a great week!
Susan x

Anonymous said...

I do love your posts, they are hysterical and just what you need if you are ever tempted to take life too seriously!
We have had rather more than a drop of rain up here this weekend, put it this way, we shouldn't have a hosepipe ban for a long time!

Catherine said...

Delightful indeed! I thought that you perhaps like to quote a lot, but I find instead that you are in fact enjoying life most daily : ) What a lovely word quotidian. I am attempting to acquire the habit of the knitting/carpet bag present at all times as our local fabric outlet "Spotlight" has recently taken to providing no bags at all. Better to have a little transparency than to feel like a thief..cotton rolling under fittings on the way out...2 buttons less when I arrive home..oh no that's right they slipped under the car floor mat! Have a lovely week. Much love Catherine

Lola Nova said...

Oh dear, I don't know how I missed this post! Excellent and so enjoyable.
I wish I had th motivation to make clothes for myself...I have lot's of patterns but, the type of figure that requires endless hours of fiddling and fit adjustments which, are hard to do on ones own, and not much fun besides.

I have also taken to carrying a cloth bag of my own making about with me if there is the possibility of ending up anywhere near a fabric shop, it is the only way to go.

I am now having a smile imagining you lolling in the grass, rolling about!

Francesca said...

hello! yes they are still called doodles, although i was the last to know. i was just calling them spring shoes! what a lovely sunny spot you've got over here, i'm very envious of people who can grow things, i'm hopeless. v funny post.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Do you know you are so right cake IS fortifying. Thank you for that reminder.... tee hee!

Sarah x

Ever - The red house by the lake said...

Great post!

I too am a vegetarian, and I really do not like when people start talking about the animals that they are eating. Makes it harder to accept that they are eating them, I think.

The fabrics and the bags are just wonderful!


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