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Sunday, 16 May 2010

To teach or not to teach?

Lets start this post off with a bit of colour. This beauty started off as a small cutting from one of my grandfathers cactus plants. It reminds me of the colourful sight as you approached his front porch in Dunoon, Scotland when we visited in the springtime for his May birthday. It was full of flowering cactus and this one was my favourite and i could never understand how such small leaves could hold such huge blooms and so many of them too. Each one measures about 5" across and i was so pleased when i was offered a cutting to have in my own conservatory to watch it bloom in time for his birthday each year. It's a shame that each flower only lasts a few days and then you have to wait a whole year for it to bloom again, but what a magnificent specimen it is and always gets the 'wow' factor when visitors come.

DH visited one of his customers in their own home this week and was enjoying a chat and a cup of tea when their little 3 year old thrust a cup and saucer of her very own pretend tea at him. Being the kind man he is, he was chatting away with her and going along with the pretend when he noticed that poor dolly, who was stuffed under one arm, was in fact totally naked! A comment on where was dolly clothes and a shake of the head from mum that dolly in fact had worn out several of her outfits and those that you buy from reputable shops do not in fact take into account the dainty fingers of a three year old dressing and undressing dolly brought about a discussion....

DH's mum was a great knitter and when our own daughter was little, she often arrived with a brown paper bag for her, a little treat that she had been working on since the last visit. Often it was a hand knitted outfit for Barbie or one of the other dolls or sometimes a blanket to replace the grubby one that had been left outside. Also how all of the hand knitted clothes are packed away safely in the loft as DD wants to keep them for her children as they carry so many special memories of her time with Nanna. Talk flowed to how 'mum' also had handmade outfits for her dolls knitted by her granny, but alas there was no one in their family who knitted now and what a shame it was that these crafts are dying out and the younger generation dont seem to be taught these skills by family members.

DH is very supportive of my hobbies and told her about online sites that show you explicitly how to learn to knit and stitch and that if she really wanted to learn there were places that you could.

I know you can guess whats coming next can't you .... when he got home, we talked about who had taught me to knit (sleepover weekends at my maternal Grandmas was where i learnt to knit, crochet and sew, but also a paternal grandmother who ran a club for other ladies who liked to craft added to my knowledge) and why i enjoyed it so much and why did i think that the younger generation dont want to learn these skills like they used to. He asked if i could possibly whip up an outfit for dolly so she didn't catch her death of cold. Of course i could, i love to see little girls playing and learning to be a little mum but did i have anything that would fit this dolly?? Hunting through the patterns i found one for this little jacket, so a start to a new wardrobe of clothes for dolly has been made this weekend.

The pattern for the dolls clothes was amongst a pile that i gave a good home to when MIL passed away some 11 years ago. I also kept her old button tin - sorted into colours, just as it always was - oh to be organised! My own button tin that i have accumulated over the years is not sorted at all and i have to tip them all out to find what i need LOL. I bet most of you have one very similar that houses any old button that might just be useful someday. Inside MIL's were the perfect 3 little buttons for the jacket when i went hunting through it this morning. Memories of the kids playing with them on the carpet also came flooding back, and happy thoughts of MIL and her numerous craft projects, never without knitting needles or needle and thread, and a mind of information and advice. Funny how sometimes these things happen when you least expect it, today MIL (aka Betty or Nanna) DH reminded me would have celebrated her 83rd birthday.

I did stitch in the evenings last week. Much in need of relaxation, lots of phone calls with DD who is having imense stress with the builders at her place and now has to move out lock, stock and barrel as they say, whilst the work is completed, i added some blocks to Grand Marquoir which completed Part 2. Did i tell you i love stitching on this one LOL. The birthday gifts were also finished off ready for posting.

Well, i think i have written a book here today, if you have made it to the end, give yourself a round of applause, i hope it was worth it! Thank you for taking time to visit my stitchyknitter world, i do appreciate your visits. My parting question to you is... Who taught you to knit, stitch or crochet or whatever craft you enjoy, and would you teach a younger person in your lifetime so these much needed skills remain with us, what are your views, i'd love to know. My own daughter has done some stitching and tried to knit, but even though she is into art and design doesn't want to learn these crafts, maybe in the future when she has family of her own she'll want me to teach her, i do hope so otherwise i can see Granny Julie being very busy...


  1. Julie,

    Thanks for a wonderful post.

    The little sweater you made is so precious. You are right, the buttons are just perfect.

    I'm sure the little girl and her parents will be thrilled to bits.

  2. Woo, I made it rofl. It was not a hardship really lol.

    Love the little doll's outfit. You are so talented.

  3. I've kept the doll clothes my Mum knit for me too.
    No-one really taught me to knit, I just kind of figured it out on my own from a book, and actually I don't do it "right" because I let go of the needles to pass the wool over. The really strange thing is that when my Dad saw me knitting he said I was the only person he'd ever seen who knit the same way as his Mum, but I can't ever have watched her knitting as she died before I was born.
    There, now my reply is just as long as your post ;D

  4. Aww that is so lovely of you!
    I taught myself to stitch and I am learning myself to crochet, I was taught by my Mum to knit but at the time I wasn't that in to it, but I am hoping to teach myself again. I will teach my DD if she wants to learn.

  5. Awww Julie that's a lovely post. Well, knitting - I taught myself out of the Brownie Guide handbook and was recently horrified to find out they don't have it in there now!! Good job I have already taught my dd to knit ;). Stitching - my sister tuaght me 19 years ago! Funny enough, she doesn't stitch anymore as she is more into the papercraft/scrapbook/cardmaking thing going on.
    I would teach young people and already have done. When I was teaching at secondary school, we taught several groups of kids the basics of cross stitch and some of them really took to it - others did not. They didn't get past the needle threading stage. xx

  6. A lovely post. I love the little jacket you made for the dolly. I can't knit. I have attempted it a couple of times. A friend taught me to stitch.

  7. A lovely post Julie and how kind of you to knit for the poor bare dolly.
    My nana taught me to knit and a very wise headmistress at my primary school taught me to stitch, she believed that everyone should be creative in some way.

  8. Lovely post Julie! I think it's so special that you are stitching that little girl's doll some clothes. The sweater is precious!

    I wish more people my age (mid-30's) craft. I'm always one of the youngest in my groups. My mom taught me to stitch when I was 7 (27 years ago). She also taught me to crochet but I've forgotten everything. I am thinking of take a 4 week course through the local park and rec this summer. I took a class to learn how to knit. I'm not very good and I get stressed out easily with it. Stitching is my relaxation hobby. I've taught a complete stranger how to stitch as well as my closest friend.

    Beautiful cactus!! I hope mine will come back after the brink of death! lol

  9. Grand Marquoir is looking great, Julie.

    Growing up we used to sit around on the lawn with our Barbies and sew clothes fot them. I also have knit or crochet doll clothes.

    Love your little sweater.

  10. Wonderful post. I learned cross-stitch and sampler stitches from my mother, and taught myself more advanced techniques than she had done. I learned how to knit in a class at a local knit shop, although my mother did knit at one point. And, I learned how to crochet and knit from my grandmother and mother. And, yes, I pass this on every chance I get!

  11. Julie what a chatty and simply lovely post to read,but something is really bothering me . Are you going to knit dolly something for her nether regions ,well I mean just for decency sake lol.
    Cactus is wonderful. What a lovely man your dh is taking an interest in the three year old,you will make lovely grandparents when the time comes.
    We have taught our grandchildren as they have grown as they have wanted to go to nannys as we have fun and make things. Jack our 15 year old can bead and Ella who is 12. Caitlin has just got involved in stained glass and Sam is just beginning to stitch.
    They did some paper sculpture with us and Jack made an owl Harry Potter was all the rage then,Caitlin made a cat . Oh I would love to crochet , My sil taught me to knit and I did a blanket of crochet before I was married for our bed. Long gone and cannot remember how I did it.
    Blimey Julie you will wonder why you asked. GM looking good ,look forward to seeing the challenge pieces . Hugs to dd hope it is all soon fixed. Take care of you

  12. What a simply darling sweater for the doll, Julie--you are so kind to knit a set of clothes for the naked little thing!

    My mom used to sew little outfits for my Barbi dolls when I was young--now that I know all that went into working on those tiny garments I am much more appreciative of her time and creativity!

    I taught myself to stitch and with all of the tutorials available on the internet now, I have come a long, long way!

  13. When I was a kid, my mother used to make all my dolls matching clothes and pillows/blankets, it was really awesome. I didn't manage to hang on to any of them though (or the hand knits my Nana did for me) so that makes me sad.

    She taught me to do hand sewing and embroidery at a pretty young age, which has always stayed with me. (I remember using my allowance to buy DMC floss as young as 10 or so. lol) Much later on, I taught myself to crochet and knit.

  14. What a lovely little jumper Julie. I haven't done any knitting properly for such a long time. My Auntie Joan taught me to knit and I, in turn, taught my girls to knit although both of them have never finished the scarves they started lol!

    Love your Marquoir :)

  15. Lovely jacket....

    My mum taught me to knit when I was young... learnt cross stitch at school.

    I have soem dolls clothes patterns if you would like to borrow them lol...


  16. What a lovely jacket you have knitted for the doll, i am sure it will be treasured.

    Your WIP is looking beautiful.

    Out of boredom during winter time here years ago i taught myself how to stitch and then learned most through the internet.

  17. Ah! Julie! Your post whether short or long are always worth the read.
    How kind of you to knit something for her dolly and very kind of your DH to mention it, lol
    My mom taught me to crochet and the lady I use to babysit for inspired to stitch. I kinda taught myself, but give her credit.I always admired her pieces. She no longer stitches :( I have talked to her about it, but she says her eyes can't take it any longer, What??
    She is only 52.
    Take Care!

  18. I knew when I was reading about the 'nakey baby' as I call the triplets, that I was going to read that you 'dressed' her!!! How precious!
    I am self taught on cross stitch. I learned basic knit & crochet in school.

  19. Excellent post. I had knitting lessons when I was in high school. My teacher was Evelyn Callahan and she worked at Allen & Jemison department store. I still have some of my sweaters I knitted when I was---slim. As for teaching someone, I learned early on that I'm not a teacher. By the way, where is the pattern you use for those wonderful little rabbits?????

  20. Fabulous post Julie - stirred up a few happy memories here. The cactus flowers are beautiful. Pretty outfit for dolly & GM is gorgeous - really enjoying watching this develop. :0)
    My Mum taught me to knit - no mean feat, as she was a leftie & I'm a rightie - learnt to crochet at Adult Ed evening classes & am self taught with needlework. Tried teaching my DS stitching but his enthusiasm was short lived - I hope I get the chance to pass on these skills, hopefully to grandchildren. :0)

  21. That cactus is SPECTACULAR!!! Marquoir is looking great!

  22. Hi Julie
    Loved the little dolly knitting, absolutely gorgeous.
    My Auntie Glad taught me to knit and I tried all sorts of patterns when my children were little, ended up showing my Auntie more complicated patterns that she had never tried. She used to knit herself knitted suits with the shirts in a pattern that looked like pleats. And of course I had some as well! And I had the knitted bathing costume the sort that stretched down between your legs when you went in the sea and it got wet, but they were happy days!
    Love the Grand Marquoir, I might still stitch it altho, of course now my time is taken up gardening!
    Happy Stitching
    Chris x


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