Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mercy's basket

Some time ago, Mercy, a dear old friend of mine died – 6 months before her 100th birthday. Her sister asked me if there was something that I would like to have as a memento of my friend and I chose her work basket. Homemade and a little battered after many years of use the basket is by no means a valuable item - to anyone else but me. I knew that I would find in it the usual workbasket items: needles, pins, thimbles, embroidery scissors, several crochet hooks, fine darning wool etc. The basket is one of my treasures.

Mercy’s almost 100 year old eyesight made it difficult for her to pick up the stitches that she sometimes dropped when she worked on the crocheted blankets that she churned out incessantly and so I had, on many an occasion, to delve into her workbasket for a crochet hook with which to rescue the work. Back on track Mercy would set off again, her crochet hook flying in and out. The blanket had to be finished because Mercy was already planning her next one. At her request I would start the centre of another blanket for her to go on with in case she got into a pickle before my next visit. Idle hands didn’t suit Mercy one bit.

So you can see that Mercy’s basket is a special link between us.

I never asked who made the basket but I can see that is constructed by using coloured raffia to stitch together the needles of the casuarina tree, also known as sheoak. It is built on a plywood base and lined with dark red satin that is quilted on the inside of the lid to form a pincushion. The button at the centre of the lid is a gumnut from a flowering gum tree (eucalyptus). What a great way to make something useful from next to nothing.
I’m guessing that the basket is probably about 50 years old. I keep promising myself that I'll have a go at making one but I've never got round to it. I use the basket all the time and think of Mercy whenever I do so.
Must go now. I've just finished a Woodworker's newsletter and so there's lots to catch up on around the house.
Bye for now until next time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The pile of granny squares that I showed you a while back has at last become the blanket that I intended it to be. As I knew it would, the sewing up thing took forever, hampered, as usual, by my arthritic thumb but now it's done and I'm so pleased with it that I have started on another. The picture here doesn't do justice to the colours, which are actually more pastel than they appear in the photo.
A couple of weeks ago I made a resolution. "No more yarn purchases until I've cleared some of my stash." Hah! that was a waste of breath, you know what happened the very next time I ventured into our local op-shop, don't you? Yep, another five balls of yarn followed me home, just begging to be used in the new blanket. Well I couldn't turn them away, could I?
Compulsive yarn buyer that I am I'm now working on the psychology of 'flooding'. You know, that's the theory that burying myself under so much yarn that I will feel revulsion and will never buy any more. I don't know if it will work but oooh I am so going to enjoy finding out.
Now I think I'll start on the pale blue first.......
Bye for now until next time.