Star the eighteenth

I’m creating a virtual star chart, to record my progress in Dry July. The star for making it through Sunday 18 July without touching the demon drink is a crochet star.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

(Description: Crochet star, made of fine white cotton. The star has eight points.)

The intricacy of this star astounds me. I wonder who made it, and why she chose to make this particular piece of craft. Did she do it for sheer pleasure, or was she paid for it? Perhaps the unknown maker made it to sell to support her family.

I enjoy doing craft work, ‘though these days, it’s mostly knitting, making jerseys (jumpers) and cardigans for my girls. There are some wonderful craft blogs about the place: a few weeks ago I found The Little House by the Sea, written by Calypso. She’s got a pattern for some perfectly delicious hats there at present. Kakariki engages in seriously seditious stitching at Radical Cross Stitch, and Sue Tyler crafts at SuperVery – take a look at these beautiful tree pendants. I love the geurilla knitting on display in Outdoor Knit; we came across one of their earlier works (scroll down) during our last trip home to New Zealand. M-H at Witty Knitter has been a little quiet of late: I’m guessing that the thesis-crunch is biting hard at present. Her knitting is a joy to behold. There’s the lovely, smart, thoughtful, glamorous Megan, at Craft is the New Black. A glorious melange of feminism, food, thinking and craft: what’s not to like? On this side of the Tasman, Mim writes feminism, food, thinking and craft, and I am very proud to wear a beautiful bead necklace that she made. To me, there’s something special about wearing or using some beautiful thing that someone has crafted, especially if they have made it with me in mind. I’m guessing that tigtog loves the scarf that her mother made for her, not just for its beauty, but because her mother made it for her.

So many women I know do some craft work, and derive immense pleasure from it. But because we call it ‘craft’, it’s so easy to overlook the artistry in it. Or to fail to give it the honour it deserves. I enjoyed reading Rosemary McLeod’s book Thrift to Fantasy : Home textile crafts of the 1930s – 1950s (on loan from the library: I don’t have my own copy) not only for the glorious craft, but because it celebrates the skill and artistry expressed by women in their craft. (Douglas Lloyd Jenkins discusses the book in The Listener: “Getting through the Kiwi Gothic”.)

My current project is a jersey for the younger Miss Eight. After that I plan to knit something for me. Are you crafting at present? If you are, what are you making? Or what do you plan to make, one day…?

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15 responses to “Star the eighteenth

  1. We were at Berrima today visiting antiques shops and at one there was an enormous bin full of lace doilies. I wondered how many of them were handmade and how many hours of crafting the bin represented. I used to have doilies on my dressing table as a kid and when I first left home, haven’t used one anywhere in the house for many years now.

    I’ve been weaving this weekend, I’m rather pleased with how it’s turning out: http://twitpic.com/261yy4

  2. That’s absolutely gorgeous, Mim.

  3. You are lovely. I am about to start knitting myself a scarf/wrap thing. But first I have to decide what yarn I want to make it in. Something bright and fiery red, I think.

    As for the artistry question, I was watching an episode of The Gravy on the weekend, and an artist talked about how art has “an idea”.

    And I was really offended. Because, as far as I can tell, all my projects are sparked by some kind of idea, and certainly there is creativity behind them. You can’t tell me that Sue isn’t full of ideas.

    I’ve always thought the distinction lay in craft being useful. As in, having an actual use, beyond being beautiful or interesting to look at.

  4. That is awe.

  5. I knitted my Dad a navy blue ribbed possum and merino scarf for his 70th birthday – very plain, just as he liked it, and rather nautical. He loved it and found it very comforting as he was seriously ill. He died recently, and we decided to leave the scarf with him for his final set of clothing.
    I spent a lot of time sitting with him, and learned to knit on double-pointed needles. I found it very fiddly at first, but am enjoying it now. I’m making some socks from a Kaffe Fassett pattern using beautiful self-striping wool. It is fun to knit and see what colour is going to appear next.

  6. I’m currently knitting a sweater for myself. I started this in April, 2009, while working as an election judge and have set it aside several times as I made gifts for others but I’m determined to finish it so I can wear it this upcoming winter (I’m in the U.S.). Last week I started a pull-over hoodie for my great-nephew’s Christmas present. I’ll be working another election in August and the hoodie will go with me so I can work on it during the inevitable down time when no voters are coming in.

  7. I’m in awe of you makers. I don’t craft myself but my husband has made it his career now. I go to the markets sometimes to visit and marvel at all the fabulous stuff people make.
    Two of my favourite things at the Rose st market are bowls made of old LPs, softened, moulded upwards and laquered over the circular label which is now of course the bottom.
    And old hard back books rebound into notebooks, with colour plates retained and interspersed with the good quality blank pages.
    OBfem: My son has always been a keen sewer and knitter, my daughter, not!

  8. You might also like The Other Andrewwho took up knitting, got a part time job at a Yarn shop and now has a whole new career going which includes knitting up his own patterns for their window displays. He has actually sold some of his work that way and now teaches knitting. He does some beautiful work.

  9. I should also mention that he often has fashion pictures of gorgeous young men on his blog, as is his wont.

  10. Thanks for the heads up, Deborah. I always seem to go into a blog slump at this time of year; I’m thinking of blogging about it!

    Any crafters out there who want to have your mind blown, get a free account at Ravelry.com. Your life may never be the same again. Huge worldwide databases of yarn and patterns, a page for you to put up photos of your work and look at what other people did with the same pattern/yarn, downloadable patterns for sale, indie dyed yarn for sale, thousands of forums if that’s your thing. Mostly knitting and crochet at the moment, but also some weaving, spinning etc.

  11. At the moment I am knitting a cotton cardigan for a baby relative due to be born in Sydney later in the year. There is something deeply, deeply unsettling about knitting cotton in this weather.

    Next time you’re in Melbourne go to Craft Victoria. Craft Pride!

  12. I’m a compulsive crocheter. I started when my first twins were born (yes, it’s me, with the two sets) and everyone admired some very ordinary crochet blankets that I had got free with a co-sleeper. I realised that very few people in my circles seemed to have elderly aunts who did this kind of thing, and none of my generation seemed to know how. I taught myself online – these days there are lots of grannies on YouTube who will walk you through the stitches.

    I crochet exclusively baby blankets because there is just enough pattern to keep me occupied but not too much to really necessitate concentration. They’re also a safe way to express creativity – very set in pattern, but it gives me an outlet. They’re as much a mental health project as anything else – crocheting keeps me relaxed. If I were smart enough, I’d send some pictures – the ones I’m proudest of are on my facebook page.

    I originally planned to donate them to a hospital but it seems that each time I finish one, someone else has a baby, so I have never quite got myself a stockpile yet. I’ve been at it for about 6 years.

    My mother was a fantastic crocheter/macrame doer/knitter – also an at home mother, with similar large creative urges to mine, channeling into something smaller. She did the kind of picture you show.

  13. I sew, I am making two wee pillowcase dresses for my big girls, and am about to start making another baby sling. I love making, its creative, I play with textures, colours etc.

    I love old doilies too…. esp on skirts or tshirts. my mum and Grandma used to sew together, I got given a box of Grans lace and bits and pieces when she died…. its hard to use it, i just look at it and remember all the awesome things she made us

  14. I play with a number of textile crafts – sewing, knitting, spinning, dyeing and surface design and a bit of weaving. Can I have a little brag? I finally got around to entering the Bendigo Woolcraft, at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, sending a knitted lace scarf, and two skeins of handspun wool. They came home to me yesterday, with a Highly Commended, a Second prize, and a First prize ribbon!

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