When I was expecting Samuel, I was overcome by the desire to knit. I think it is part of “nesting” which many pregnant women experience! We were living in Sussex at the time and there was a lovely wool shop situated in Burgess Hill. You don’t tend to find those sorts of shops very often as they did go out of fashion. It was filled with wonderful wools and pattern books and I could spend a very happy morning browsing. Unfortunately, it caught fire one day and is no longer there. I was due to have an amniocentesis test. As I knew I would need to rest for a few days after, I bought a number of pattern books and lots of lovely wool to start knitting for my baby. I started making a beautiful blanket in soft, cream Aran wool. It had a leaf pattern and you knitted lots of little squares to sew them all together. I also made Samuel a number of little cardigans and socks in various pastel colours as I had no idea as to whether I was expecting a girl or boy.
By the time Lydia arrived, I was fed up with knitting clothes, mainly because I can never get the tension right. So I moved on to soft toys – so much easier! I started with a snake, then progressed to crocodile (snake with legs!), zebra, monkey and elephant. And then I discovered crotchet and was hooked! That is when Stewart the Minion joined the family on Lydia’s 5th birthday.
Animals patterns from “Knitted Wild Animals” by Sarah Keen. Minion pattern by AradiyaToys
At this time of year, most parents are on tenterhooks waiting to receive the dreaded school report. What will it say? Will it be positive or filled with doom and gloom?
I am fortunate to say that both my kids have had very good reports but it is my little girl’s one which has touched me. Lydia is 6 and will shortly be moving up to Year 2 in September. She is the youngest of my two so has always grown up aware that Samuel processes information in a different way.
At the end of the school report there is always space left for the class Continue reading
Certain clothes can bring back rich memories. Hidden away in an old, battered, black suitcase at the back of the loft, I have kept a number of clothes that I am not yet ready to part with.
I open the case and on the top is Lydia’s orange and pink stripy Babygro that made her look like a fruity humbug and Samuel’s first pair of red checked flannel pyjamas that Nanny bought him. Under my children’s baby clothes I find my old Bastille Day t-shirt that a friend bought back from France in 1989 to celebrate the 200th anniversary. There is also my favourite black dress from Next with red embroidery on the collar. I loved that dress and kept it with the thought that one day I would unpick the stitches and create a dress pattern from the panels to recreate it. Right at the bottom, tucked out of sight I find my skin-tight black top which creates a riot of memories. I used to wear it with black leggings and a big, elasticated black belt that fastened with hook and eye. It has three strategic holes cut out, tear-drop shaped leaving little to the imagination particularly as I never wore anything under it. But that was over 25 years ago and under wiring is now my new best friend! But oh, how I loved wearing it for a night out on the town.
Looking through old photographs brings back memories of clothes made by my Mum and Grandmother. When I was growing up, Mum used to have “sewing evenings” with her friend Linda who used to come around every Thursday evening and they would sew together. Mum made me and my sister bright red jumpsuits. My grandmother was a very talented seamstress. She could create her own patterns and Zoe and I had some lovely clothes as a result. I particularly remember blue winter coats with white fur around the hoods, red dresses with white box pleat inserts and matching knickers and my ultimate favourite a silky, bottle green party dress with a pattern of little dogs in boxes with a beautiful circle skirt in which to twirl and swirl. Surely every little girl’s dream.
I am not yet ready to part with those clothes. So I close that battered old suitcase and leave it hidden with its memories, nestled in the shadows where the spiders spin and weave.
From Rags to Riches