It was bound to happen eventually. It always does. But that doesn’t stop me every time wishing that it didn’t.
No Idle Hands finished. I hate when good books do that. I remember in high school having a favourite series of 3 books by David(cough)gemmel. The Diamond Throne series. When he bought out the second series to it, I read the first book in a night. With the second book I paced myself. That lasted a couple of days. The third and final book I slowed right down, because I didn’t want it to end. I got about 3/4 of the way though it, reading slower and slower until I… stopped. I wanted it to never end so badly that I just couldn’t read any further.
I realised at the time it was kind of silly, but at the same time, I still did it. So in a way, the book never ended.
It’s like my cat. When I was growing up, I had a cat called Amelia Jane (after the Enid Blyton character) and she got older and I left home, leaving Amelia with my mum. Then, for some reason that I’ve never been fully appraised of, my mum swapped my cat for a caged bird with a friend of hers. Although I know the bird died, I never had another update on my cat, due to a falling out between mum and the friend. So for all I know, Amelia is still alive out there. Thus I have an immortal Schroedinger cat. Amelia Jane lives on, because no-one can prove any different.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I hate when good books end. Idle Hands was written in the 80s, and I found myself wondering – what then? What happened after that?
It was a good book, there were holes in the information, or offhand references to things that weren’t explained which I found frustrating, but overall I loved it. I found out that during the Boston Tea Party rebellion that people refused to keep buying British cloth and clothing and instead felt it was their patriotic duty to hand knit and sew clothing of their own. Rebelling through craft! There were also a number of snippets of interviews from older ladies as to why they crafted and how they came to, which I found interesting. I’m a big fan of the personal histories of craft. There was heaps of information about America during the two world wars, and how people knitted for the soldiers as well as the injured and the war affected. It also chronicled the rise and fall and rise and fall of the popularity of knitting, which is a cycle that still occurs today. We’re certainly riding a crest of it at the moment. All in all it was a fascinating and well written study and I’d highly recommend it.
So after finishing that, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to read next. I’ve ordered a bunch of books off amazon, but none of them have arrived yet. So I finished Years of Adventure the 50 year history of the CWA, which has been kicking around for a while. Since I got Idle Hands actually. Again it’s a frustrating book because it mentions tonnes of things that it doesn’t explain. For instance:
In September 1940, the Country Women’s Association Home Help Scheme was inaugurated…(p28) It goes on a little about where the funding came from, and how in 1970 they closed it down as local governments were now running a Home Help Scheme. But it doesn’t specify in any way what that scheme did. I assume that it was ladies going out to help people who were having difficulty running their homes. But I would have loved details. What types of things they did, where they did it, why they were needed ect. But none of that is mentioned. There’s also the fact that in the State Exhibition in 1951, “three loan exhibits, one from the United States Library of Information, and two from England, greatly delighted all who were privileged to see them. The American one showed examples of several most attractive American crafts, one of the English exhibits was bought out to the C.W.A of Australia, and the other one from England came from members of the Surrey Women’s Institute. (P15)
It doesn’t say WHAT the exhibits were, just that everyone loved them.
The book is filled with names and dates but only sketchy information, and really, it reads like an old lady reminiscing to her friends about things that they all did when they were young, which to be fair, I guess this book is. But I was looking for a book that described what the CWA is, what it does now, why people join, I was looking for an outsiders guide to the CWA, which this book just simply isn’t.
I recently met a member of the CWA, and I asked her all the questions that the book doesn’t really answer, for example, why she’s a member. She told me that they have lunches and dinners, they have speeches and lectures from people, they do charity work and learn about other countries. Only one of these things is really covered in the book, which is the charity work.
Anyway, enough of that. There were some charming stories in it, and it was an interesting read at times, and I like history and craft, so it was ok, but not really what I was looking for.
The other book I was reading this morning was the first chapter in Patchwork Basics with Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine, which is a history chapter. I like the idea of a beginners book that gives you a little history before diving into the art form itself. The chapter, History of American Patchwork, by Jan Baker, is interesting and informative, but again suffers from either pre-supposed knowledge or simply the sin of omission. Whichever it is, it often refers to things without explanation or an accompanying photo. Now I can google the missing information, but I don’t think that needing a computer by your side makes for a successful book. Either explain fully what the hell you’re talking about or omit it entirely! Especially for a total beginner book, the expectation that they already have a bunch of quilting history knowledge is just plain silly.
So that’s the end of the book update for the moment.
The crocheting is rocketing along. I’m addicted to it. I’ve been crocheting pretty much non-stop since Monday night and Brown Owls. Here it is at the moment:
I’ve found I can now crochet without looking, so I can read and crochet, hence the large amount of reading this morning. I also took it to a theatre show last night and crocheted before the show started and during intermission. Oh my god, this thing has taken over my life. And I love it!
The other thing I finished today is a birthday present for a friend of mine. I gave him a knitted cocktail a few years ago (see Patty Mae’s Domestic Punch, the title was a nod to the wife of Australia’s 12th PM, Menzies) but it hasn’t stood the test of time (and several interstate moves) so well. So I’ve made him another one, this time his favourite non-alcoholic drink. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and grated chocolate floating on top:
It was a quick knitted rectangle for the mug and then crochet for the handle, mug bottom, hot chocolate and the marshmallows. And I was smugly pleased it stands up by itself.
I am so addicted to this crochet thing. I can’t believe it took me this many years to get around to trying it!