I knitted some colourful rainbow-striped socks over the new year - much of the work was done while camping, in fact. Even though I don't usually choose bright colours for the things I make, I really enjoyed making these, especially the way the stripes look a bit like they've been coloured in with a crayon. The yarn is Zwerger Garn Opal self-striping, colour #9377 and I think these will be very cheering in the grey of winter.
Last week in a secondhand shop I found a stack of old magazines called The Web, which was the quarterly textile crafts journal of the NZ Spinning, Weaving and Woolcrafts Society (now Creative Fibre, I think).
The issues I found ranged from 1981 until 1993 but it appears the Society was established in 1969. I don't know how many issues of The Web were produced, but I've so enjoyed reading these issues, and they give a real insight into the crafting community before a different type of 'web' changed it forever.
Each issue includes weaving, knitting and macrame patterns from readers. These are for toys and shawls as well as practical items such as horse blankets and garments for amputees. There are also recipes for natural dyeing, instructions for building wooden looms and winders, poems about making things and community news.
One of the best things is the 'letters to the editor' section which is rather lively and occasionally quite harsh. One letter implores society members to remember to 'always do their best work' in case tourists see sloppy handwork and judge us to be a nation of mediocre crafters.
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There was one small article I thought quite beautiful, here it is (slightly abridged):
Spinning Hands, by Joy Garard.
I wonder if someone showed me my hands detached from my body, whether I would recognise them as mine, and yet they have been busy in front of my eyes all my life.
Such a confused thing the brain is, but then I just sit here all day now since I have come to Resthaven. The only thing I have in here that is private to me are my thoughts, and sometimes I speak them aloud by mistake. I don't mean to, but some days no-one talks to you at all. Oh the nurses say loudly, "Here's your dinner, luv," but they do not really want to talk to you. They are very kind though.
I wish I could talk about the future, but I do not expect to have a very interesting one - I haven't made any plans!
How I wish my days were still busy like they used to be. The children young and needing attention, friends popping in for a chat or a day at the beach. I was filled with life and enthusiasm for cooking, gardening, holidays, making love, eating, going out, staying out late.
Now I just doze and think, and hope someone comes to visit me. They do now and again.
"Hello, Mum" said my daughter's voice. "Just brought your spinning wheel and some carded wool around to see if youfeel like spinning some wool for me so I can knit Joshua and Jacob each a jersey."
"Put the wheel right here so I can start on it while we chat." My hands reach eagerly for the lovely, soft carded wool. Oh bliss, a job to do!
Yes, these hands are mine and they still know how to spin and I would know them anywhere.
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