Where to start? Tassie - love Tassie. Many people have travelled much of Australia, much of the world but have never been to Tasmania. I strongly recommend it as a holiday destination. Baby bear has been three times already. And there are great op shops there.
Have you ever noticed how an op shop's stock can reflect the area it is situated in? For instance, I have bought designer children's clothing from the Uniting Care Southport op shop in Albert Park (115 Bridport St; T+S 11:00-4:00, W-F 11:00-5:00; be sure to go to Woolbaa across the road while you are there!), a blue-chip, baby boom suburb. Well, Tasmanians on the north-west coast, judging from what is stocked in the op shops in Wynyard, Somerset and Burnie, like to make things. Or did twenty years ago. There are knitting patterns, sewing patterns, needlework kits and knitting needles galore in these places. Too many to sort through, too overwhelming. Although I did manage to isolate a few:
Child's Blazer by Robin. They recommend Robin Bambino Freckles, Tricel-Nylon, Bri-Nylon, Columbine Crepe or Vogue double knitting. As I am a woman who cares (don't you love the gender bias here?) I will be choosing some lovely 100% natural fibre 8 ply for this. So much to choose from though - as it will be for baby bear I think that a machine-washable wool (or wool/alpaca, /cashmere, /yak blend) would be best. I naturally think of red, my favourite colour, but how about navy with nautical silver buttons?
Patons Playtime Crochets - do you think that baby bear would ever forgive me?
Favourite Designs for Toddlers from Patons - originally priced 25 cents but I paid the inflationary figure of $3.00. Curious that the price is in metric but all the measurements inside are in inches. This is my favourite knitting find of the trip - the artlessly posed children, the vintage designs (each of which are named - Dennis, Beryl, Pauline ...). As with the Robin pattern, some of the yarns are now defunct - does anyone remember Azalea or Fuzzy Wuzzy? - but there are some tried and tested in there as well - Patonyle and my beloved Bluebell. I love Bluebell, it is such an old-fashioned yarn, 5-ply crepe dyed in old-fashioned colours and a pleasure to knit with.
Without further ado, I have pleasure in introducing:
Jeremy (left) - in Patons Jet (now this is the original Jet, 100% wool, as opposed to the current Jet, 70% wool 30% alpaca). I am considering, however, indeed using Jet - perhaps the steely blue (101) for a proper post-war look with some floral embroidery on the collar to lighten it up.
Noella (centre) - love the puff sleeves and the peter pan collar. This pattern calls for Azalea - pure new wool with a gauge of 8 stitches to the inch. Hmm, 4ply?
Lorel (right) - in Bluebell, hooray! Still available today. I'm thinking in cornflower blue (4103) with white stripes (0051) and red embroidery (3383). Yes, it will be Swiss darning for me, stripes are my furthest adventure in multi-colour.
And the tomten jacket - done! Just waiting for the sleeves to be seamed and we know how long that can take me. I shudder that I have knitted an entire garment while the baby ballerina top languishes for want of seaming. Why is it so much easier to cast on than to finish off?
Huge thanks to Pam and Neal for having us to stay - we had a ball.