Each time I stay at my grandparent's house I'm encouraged to pick up my knitting. I progress from mastering 'plain' to learning 'pearl', to casting on and off. Then on to casting on an even number and knitting 'one plain, one pearl' to form 'rib'; followed by casting on an odd number of stitches and knitting one plain one pearl. The result, my favourite, moss stitch!
My grandmother teaches me to follow patterns, to increase, decrease and more. I make my first rib stitched beanie, with a pom pom. I loved making pom-poms! A circular piece of paper with a hole in the middle forming a tool around which wool was wound, the process completed, a wonderful pom pom! Scarves, then over time jumpers and cardigans follow, with Nanna's servicemen's knitting books providing patterns using four needles to make gloves or socks. What confidence was gained in persevering to achieve the milestone of turning the heel of a sock!
These were times of post war shortages, times when clothes were still made of wool and cotton, when tariffs protected the Australian clothing and textile industries. It would be some decades before the mass production of acrylic fibres and the mass production of cheap knitted clothing.
We would sit by the little fire in my grandparents' sitting room after dinner, listening to the 3DB News, my grandmother knitting woollen jumpers with cowel necks for my grandfather and uncle, or knitwear in various shapes and sizes for her grandchildren which were destined to became hand me downs as we grew out of them.
Ever resourceful, my grandmother often used left over wools to make striped jumpers of which we always seemed to have at least one.
Over time I also learnt to crochet - equally fascinating to do, but different. I'd grown up familiar with Afghan squares on bedspreads made by my grandmother joined together then affixed to a sturdy floral poplln material. In 1977, having returned from overseas and bought a little house in Daylesford, I had very little money to spare. However, wool could be put away at the local drapery store to buy on an as needs basis, so I began to make an afghan square rug based on the colours of polyanthus flowers with black borders and edging. Over time it grew to become a large double bedspread, quite a joy to behold!
Not so long ago, I spent some time restoring the edging on this bedspread, which is now almost fifty years old. It epitomizes to me the results of perseverance. I think of it when I doggedly persevere to add the Newsletter reports to the group pages on the web site each month. I go into 'Afghan Square' making mode when doing this and always enjoying seeing the reports of group activities and the stories written by As Time Goes By and Family Research group members build up over time.
Adding the newsletter reports and the stories each month is a labour of love which requires perseverance. Sometimes I think about succession planning and ask myself ...'would anyone else be prepared to persevere to do this if I couldn't do it?'
I have my doubts, but then again, perhaps someone might be able to persevere, if they'd learnt to knit and crochet!