Friday, August 26, 2016

Still Stretching

It's been six months since I last posted here. I miss this space.

Random songs are warming the mood as the fire crackles in the hearth and Decadent Dad is whistling, just like his Pops, and enthusiastically chopping and grilling our Friday Night Special Night dinner. This institution started in 2000. Tonight we are looking forward to hot baked rolls filled with our own Chinese spiced beef sausage and a cabbage pickle à la Jamie, followed by chocolate Tumble cake, as in chocolate coated raisin and shortcake balls baked into a cake. We will watch a movie and I will knit. Of course there will also be coffee.

I am making a tea cosy for my art deco Susie Cooper teapot that I inherited from my grandmother. I am using a squishy cream-coloured yarn with streaks of yellow, red, green and blue, a mohair/wool/acrylic blend: Toledo by Elle in the Smarties colourway. It will be topped with cream coloured roses and green leaves. I am making it on a whim after joining the Miss Marple Knit-along that A Knitter's Life is hosting. I am binge watching the Joan Hickson series of Miss Marple, Agatha Christie murders while I work on the tea cosy.

Since learning to spin, my taste in yarn has become a bit more discerning but, being Elastic Mom, I can't bear waste and will  try to make the most of my pretty acrylic yarns. Earlier in the month I went stash-diving and put together a Leftovers Diagonal Scarf using a collection of scraps of purple wool that my sister gave me a few years ago. It feels good to turn these bitty pretties into something that is fun to wear. I really like how it turned out. I am sure that some of the wool was hand dyed mohair blend from Nurturing Fibres, there was also eyelash yarn, some recycled sari silk yarn, and the leftovers from the Granny Stripe Blanket that I made for my daughter when we first moved up to the farm. Now she lives faraway and it is her-Hug-From Mum blanket. It is so bright that my son told me it hurt his eyes. My goal is too try to use up my yarn stash before I buy more yarn.

I gave away quite a bit of my stash yarn when I started the Hope Knitters group with the three ladies who live in the staff village up the road. I wanted to give them a way of earning some money to supplement their husbands' meagre incomes. The ladies live in rudimentary houses with outside pit toilets and no running water in their homes, just cold water taps outside. Their lives are hard. They collect wood to warm their homes. They do have electricity, but their diet mostly consists of mieliemeel (maize porridge). Even though we are a little group and the knitting project is a simple concept, I believe that it will bring them hope.

The idea is to start with an incentive pack of yarn, knit or crochet an item, sell it and use the proceeds to buy another skein of yarn. Once they have done all that then they receive another donated incentive pack from me. Then they are free to spend the profits or save them and use any leftovers for personal projects. We have received some generous yarn donations from kind people from Cape Town to America. We happily take leftover yarn and scraps and I put them into 100g packs. Blantina, who works for me has enthusiastically joined the group, and we have occasional visits from a middle aged Basotho man, Ntate Tshupa, who used to crochet using a match as his crochet hook.

Mentoring these beautiful ladies has been exciting and heartbreaking. It is wonderful to see their progress and their delight in selling the items they make. Choosing their well earned packs of donated yarn brings them such joy as they anticipate their new projects. They are quick and keen to learn new stitches and patterns. We try to meet weekly. One lady brings along her two little girls who play with educational toys while their mama knits. When I first started I didn't realise how much my life would change. These ladies have captured a piece of my heart. It has been heartbreaking to see the effects of poverty on their homes along with enduring the brunt of alcoholism and domestic abuse. One of the ladies has left the group because she can't see beyond her personal pain. Then came tragedy of a car accident that killed the young husband of one of our ladies. We have taken a knock. 

Yesterday three of us sat under some gum trees with a view towards the mountains of Lesotho. We stitched and chatted. It was one of those infinite moments where nothing else mattered except that moment.


  1. so happy you blogged again... Love reading about your life and all its happenings. I have always said that you have a way with words that make us feel like we are there, seeing what you see. I will pray for the ladies in your knitting group.

    1. Thank you so much Cindy. Your encouragement and prayers mean a lot.