Blog 15.12.13, undeserved flowers, the death of a kind man, French knitting and the kindness of strangers

Blog 15.12.13, undeserved flowers, the death of a kind man, French knitting and the kindness of strangers


In my last blog I hinted not very subtlety that, my men, (sons and husband – not lovers, oh if only!) might be moved to send me flowers after my very brief hospital stay – maybe they didn’t read my blog? Or maybe they did!

But my friend brought me flowers! She did have a slight ‘tongue in cheek’ look about her – but the flowers were – and still are –  lovely – thank you Val………..

Last week, Nelson Mandela died, as did Derek Bailey. Derek can’t claim to have changed a nation, but he certainly made a difference to our lives in this little part of Norfolk. Derek, estate worker, part-time fire-fighter, part-time undertaker, was, at one time, and for a long time, a most valued estate employee. I don’t remember the year he joined us, my children were small; they don’t remember a time when he wasn’t around (my youngest is 30). Derek could do everything – every part of the building trade. But he was more than that; in the entire time he worked for us, never once did he scratch his head and say “that can’t be done” if he didn’t know how to do a thing – he found out, then did it. But he was so much more than an estate worker. He drove us to airports – met my children from school, he even helped me hang curtains! He willingly did anything that was asked of him – yes he was one of life’s stars, he was always positive, always pleasant, always smiling and there was always a joke on the tip of his tongue (and not always a politically correct one!). A kind, brilliant, honest and skilled worker, a loyal employee and a good friend has gone home to his rest……  R.I.P Derek……………….

I’m still basking/recovering from the stitching and knitting show in Harrogate. It’s hard for me to leave my darling husband at home (alone) – he has Parkinson’s and often needs help with ‘stuff’,  so each year he valiantly makes the trip north with me, we find a hotel, or sometimes a flat, as close as possible to the exhibition centre. I go off to the show and make frequent sorties back to him to check that he’s okay. I pop out first thing in the morning to get his paper and I leave him amongst his books – his greatest pleasure is, and has always been, reading. I do ask him not to venture out alone – he really is a bit unsteady and he’s had a fair number of falls – some quite dramatic. So this year on the first day of the show, off I went (I was meeting up with my friend Ann). I have written my mobile phone number on all of B’s walking sticks, – I will cut the story short – he ventured out to find Waterston’s – more books? The call came from the ambulance, and here’s where the tale is really uplifting; several people saw him fall, and not only did they immediately rally round and help him and organise medical help and phone me to tell me the state of play, one lady even came down to the exhibition to find me so that she could show me where the ambulance (and my husband was) Ah, the kindness of strangers………..  Thank you…………….

But back to the show, and back to this week’s tip………………….

French knitting or knitting nancy; hands up who learned this as a child?

I use cords a lot in my designs, sometimes I knit an ‘I cord’ on 2 double pointed needles, here’s how –

Cast on 4 sts.

Row 1, Knit do not turn the needles but slide the sts to the right hand end, pull the yarn taught and knit another row, and so on………

For different cord thicknesses use thicker yarn/needles and use more stitches. Great for bag straps, belts etc.

I use ‘I cords’/French knitting a lot, great for the piping on a knitted garment and wonderful for decorative effects.


French knitting as an embellishment

French knitting as an embellishment

here’s a tunic  made from Rowan d/k and Rowan art yarn (used double) and embellished with French knitting ………………………………

In my experience French knitting has been a great conversation starter. In the train or the bus for instance – people invariably smile with delight and say that they used French knit as a child (that’s the blokes as well and the girls). And one of the joys of French knitting is that it’s so portable; it slips so easily in one’s bag or pocket.

So here’s the gismo of the week


automatic French knitter

automatic French knitter


An automatic French knitter, just wind the handle and the cord appears as if by magic! I love it – but wouldn’t take it on the train!

And finally a cloth of gold?  Ah…………. another glimpse of paradise ………………….

 early morning sunshine

early morning sunshine


This will be my last Sunday blog until after the Christmas break . Don’t forget the web-site – always something new being added there.

I wish you all a joyous Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year…………

Love Susan x

and  if you want instructions for the pin cushion













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