Stripy Happy Fun

Despite my overall eccentricity, I consider myself a conventional knitter. I’m not into in improvisational design, knitting on broomsticks or arms or anything else that leaves gaping holes in the knitting, or using novelty yarns with lumps or wire or spangles in, or knitting models of gardens, fruit, royal weddings or anything else of the sort.

No judgement if that’s your cup of tea, but I am more a plain-but-well-made-and-durable-garments kind of knitter. But even I have my eccentric moments. The Dishonour Cow, for example. And more recently, the Diplodocus from Tina Barrett’s wonderful book Knitted Dinosaurs (winner of Pattern Book I’ve Used Most Often Without Actually Owning A Copy, Alas).


Continue & Comment

Wardrobes the Way they Were

Time immemorial…. Has a lovely sound to it, doesn’t it? Like days of yore.

In fact, in British law, time immemorial is defined as everything before the sixth of July 1189. This was decided in 1275, presumably because by that point no one could remember anything before the sixth of July 1189 and it was therefore literally time immemorial – a time that no one living could remember.

Hunterian Psalter c. 1170 feasting
Don’t worry, no one remembers you taking the last piece of pizza in 1170.
It is interesting to consider what time immemorial would be these days. It’s so easy to forget how short a time, relatively speaking, things have been The Way Things Are. Mass transport, antibiotics, Queen Elizabeth II, the Internet… Fast fashion has only been around for a few decades, and yet how strange it now seems to have just a few carefully tended items of clothing, worn for years and infrequently replaced.

Continue & Comment

Gardening Clothes

Ever since Eve, gardens and clothing have had a problematic relationship – particularly for women. Before I even made my passionate avowal of regular gardening, I had made a frustrating discovery in this regard. As suitable as my long-skirted dresses are for many a pursuit, gardening is not one of them.

Ladies' Home Journal Vol.10 No.11 (October, 1893)
Elegant train – doubles as weed mat!
What clued me in? Standing on my hem with muddy gumboots when bending over my work. Frustratingly unavoidable.

And yet, women (and even ladies) have gardened lo these many centuries. The problem, I deem, is the combination of ladylike attire with unladylike gardening. A full sweeping skirt is all very well for a little light flower-gathering on a dry summer’s day with a Sussex trug over one arm, but squatting down in the muddy grass uttering dire threats against a dock root is in an altogether different class of gardening.

Continue & Comment