It has been a while since I last posted. I know it’s easily said and it’s not an excuse, but I’ve been a little busy recently. On the positive side, I’ve been rather busy knitting and writing down some ideas. If all goes well, I’ll tell you about them very soon.
But I’m sure you want to know whether the “Maman les p’tits bateaux” project is going anywhere. Well, yes… to some extent!
The reason I’ve not been giving news earlier is because I’ve had a little bit of an argument with my knitting. So I put the project in the naughty corner for a while, until it tells me it’s going to behave.
The picture on the right illustrates what I mean by “not behaving”… Yes, I had to frog a little bit of it. No, I was not happy with it. And yes, I’m feeling better now! But to be honest, I’ll be feeling even better in a few minutes when I put all those live stitches securely on a needle again…
You may wonder whether it took me aaaaaaall this time to knit just these few rows and frog another few. You’re right, it didn’t. What happened instead is that, while the little vest was learning how to behave, I’ve been busy working on another project. I’m sure that, from the naughty corner, the slipover was getting jealous and realised that it’d better give me no more trouble, as I am not very monogamous as far as knitting is concerned…
So, what’s this shiny new project that has been taking all my time (and all my thoughts!), you may ask? Well, let’s start from the beginning. When Janice and I went to “the wee knitters paradise in the lovely Garioch countryside of central Aberdeenshire” (as Janice puts it really nicely), I might have bought a little more than just the yarn needed for the Maman les p’tits bateaux vest. I am not entirely sure what happened, but I think I remember that a few skeins of New Lanark Pure Wool DK also jumped in my arms just as I was heading to the till. Unbelievable, isn’t it, how yarn balls behave badly these days!
Now, I would like to tell you a little about New Lanark. It is a lovely village ideally situated on the River Clyde, in the South of Scotland (more precisely, in South Lanarkshire), which has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village has been founded towards the end of the 18th century by David Dale, who built cotton mills and tenements for the people working at the mill. But the popularity and wealth of the New Lanark business was the result of the vision and ideology of Dale’s son-in-law: Robert Owen.
Robert Owen was a philantropist. Under his management, New Lanark became a vivid example of what utopian socialism could be, with urban planning, emphasis on education and hygiene, as well as good working conditions (in the context of the 18th century!). Child care and nursery were available, as well as care for the elderly or disabled. Access to medicine was also provided, which, in these days, was not so common!
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to drive South, and stopped at New Lanark* for a few hours. It is an impressive place that deserves more time to visit and appreciate. Although it used to be a cotton mill, it is now a wool mill. I spent a little time watching the spinning machines as it is quite fascinating to watch them working.
So, when these few balls of New Lanark Pure Wool DK jumped in my arms, I remembered the old village, embedded in the valley, on the shore of the River Clyde. I remembered the pictures of the families living there, their working and living conditions. And I wanted to make something special with it, something that would embrace the idea of family, and would carry a little bit of Scotland in it. And I became obsessed with this idea: these few balls were meant to become a Christmas Stocking for my little one.
After a little bit of charting, some knitting and a few calculations, the stocking is growing and growing… And I can give you now a little preview of it.
And soon I hope, I will be able to show you what these little balls, which remind me of so many things, became.
*For more information about New Lanark, visit http://www.newlanark.org