out with the old…

First of all,  thank you so much for all your lovely birthday wishes – they really made my day!

At our wedding ceremony the vicar, knowing how much we loved hiking and hill-walking, spoke beautifully about cairns, the piles of stones that act as landmarks or were used to guide travellers on their paths. He used them as a metaphor for events, such as a wedding, that mark moments in our lives. The image has stayed with us over the years, as we have taken various twists and turns on our  journey together. This week we have arrived at a cairn that marks the start of  new phases in both our lives.

On Sunday I started my yoga foundation course, which is the first step towards training as a yoga teacher. I should be fully trained and have just started teaching by the time Alex leaves home to go to university. (That moment will be the beginning of a whole other phase!)

And Steve has gone back to work this week after a three month sabbatical. He flew off to Chicago yesterday, the first of many trips there and elsewhere around the world. I’m excited for him about his new job, as I think it will be one that he’ll love and on which he will thrive. But I am feeling quite sad at the change from having him here every day, to him being away for perhaps half his time.

These thoughts of old phases and new, of cairns and turning points,  reminded me that I have not yet shared any of my vintage knitting collection here. I love collecting, both the tools and the products of the handiwork of previous generations of women. I find that these relics in themselves act as markers, as comforting reminders, of how our craft has been passed down from one generation to another.

These are my grandmother’s knitting needles. They are not at all good to knit with, as they are sticky, bendy and all round unpleasant. But I adore seeing them in a jug on my shelves as they transport me back to my grandmother’s house, to her teaching me to knit tiny scarves for my teddy bears while she made amazing outfits for my Tiny Tears and other dolls.

The tin is a metal sewing box. It’s too rusty to use, but again, I love it. It has compartments inside for such essential items as glove buttons, pearl buttons, studs, darning needles and linen buttons, all of which sound like relics from another world.

And how about this illustration? I think it would have both obsessed and scared me when I was a child!

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