knit | sew

Small things: Christmas things

December 19, 2015

Despite the searing heat withering the leaves outside, my thoughts are turning to Christmas. There has been some baking, sewing and making of small things.

As my children insist upon growing, they have new aprons this year. These are drawn entirely from stash I am pleased to recount. Our Dear Boy has a brown corduroy one (destashed by Adelaidian friends) with a flour bag pocket and strings from an Operation Manshirt shirt.

IMG_2164Our Dear Girl has strawberries and bees on a lovely Japanese cotton/linen blend (destashed by a dear neighbour) and a gingham heart applique and strings. Our Dear Girl has specifically requested the liberal use of love hearts, unicorns, rainbows and fairies on well, pretty much everything.

IMG_2165I also managed a couple of pairs of shorts for Our Dear Boy, one in a khaki linen from a shop where I meet up with my oldest sewing friend of almost 30 summers and one in a fabulous vintage bark cloth, again from those lovely Adelaidian friends. They even have pockets, as all children prefer.

IMG_2161Much of that wee frenzy was sewn on a weekend in November organised by mum at our children’s school for other mums. It was my first craft weekend, indeed, my first time away from my little family.

IMG_2167There has been the making of tea towels from more destashed cotton/linen.

IMG_2166And the filling of gifted seed packets with Russian Kale seeds from our garden.

There has also been some modest Christmas decoration making inspired by FiberTrek’s lovely felt ornaments.

IMG_2036The embroidery floss was from a birthday gift twenty years ago and the button is from the collection of a friend from the UK, sent to me in the post. The heart is stuffed with some Shropshire fleece given to me by one of the lovely farmers at Collingwood Children’s Farm a when she found out I was a spinner.

Here is a knitted bauble inspired by elizabethstreeter21’s advent baubles that I have been watching pop up every day on Instagram. She knits them on the train whilst commuting to work.

IMG_2032I used some leftover undyed Finnsheep handspun and some that was dyed with indigo at a Guild summer school class run by the friend of the Finnsheep farmer. I photocopied the pattern from the copy of Arne and Carlo’s, 55 Christmas Balls to Knit that lives in the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria library. This library is a marvellous repository of all things textile and wool-related, funded and staffed entirely by volunteers. It is ball number 12, the ‘Handcraft Border’, taken from a booklet of old patterns by the Norwegian Handcraft Association.

So, as I made my gifts, I found myself surrounded by the gifts and kindness of others. I am reminded of David Gauntlett’s assertion that ‘making IS connecting’, to others, to the earth, to ourselves, to something beyond the catalog or the list, to an interwoven, interconnected thing that pulses with kindness, generousity and love. Christmas can feel sad, stressful and lonely. I think that is why holiday films projecting that perfect, mythical Christmas are so beguiling to us. I wish you all, some small act or token of making this season that binds you back to the goodness and the light.

Merry Christmas Dear Readers and a Happy New Year!

IMG_2031Needle and Spindle will take a short break over the holiday period and be back in the New Year. Thank you for your loyal readership, companionship on the adventures and your unstinting encouragement.

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  1. Merry Christmas, and thank you for all of your wonderful and thoughtful musings, which I so enjoy reading! Happy New Year.

  2. Dear Rebecca. what beautiful, soulful gifts you have made for your lucky family and friends. Made with heart and hand. Merry Xmas and happy new year for you and your family. Thanks so much for your inspiring and wonderful blog. I look forward to your blogging in (dare i say it) 2016.

    1. Merry Christmas Isabel, thank you for your company and commentary over the year. Time certainly has a way of marching relentlessly on whether we are ready for 2016 or not! Best wishes to you.

  3. It makes me so happy to see the destashed fabric being put to such good use! Those shorts are fantastic! Happy Christmas and New Year to you all xxx

    1. Merry Christmas Stevie, I hoped you would get a kick out what was being made with your fabric. Our Dear Boy would look perfect in those shorts, a long board and an old Holden stationwagon eh! The fabric is so lovely. May you both have a happy and easy Christmas time.

  4. Lovely gifts all of them and such interesting stories to go with them…hope you have a fantastic Christmas and enjoy your break…look forward to following your crafting adventures in 2016 xxx

    1. Merry Christmas Mousy Brown, May you and your family be warm and snuggled in your village and may all your crafty dreams roll forth in 2016. Cheers!

  5. Have a great Christmas with your day and hope this heatwave breaks soon it was even hard knitting on the train this morning and tomorrow will be harder but I have to make two balls tomorrow as one for my grandson as well as !y daily ball glad you got to at least make one ball enjoy

    1. Merry Christmas Elizabeth, Thanks for the nudge to get knitting a Chrissie ball. I just managed one and I bow before your Christmas commitment! Keep cool!

  6. Happy Christmas Rebecca, I really enjoy readingabout your thoughts and projects and amreally impressed with your achievements. Congatulations and thank you for making me think.

    1. Merry Christmas Sue. Gosh, that is a very nice thing to say…thank you. I am so glad you have enjoyed the blog. Best wishes for the season.

    1. Dear Diana, Merry Christmas to you! Thank YOU for all your kindness and encouragement this year and for sharing your makings with me. I wish you a bountiful, creative and fulfilling new year. Cheers!

    1. Merry Christmas Sophy, Thank you…those hedgehogs are quite sweet aren’t they! They are actually quite tiny and look like polka dots from a distance, it is only up close you see the hedgehogs.

  7. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for all your great writings, inspirations and just good stuff. Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year to You, Dear Man. Dear Boy and Dear Girl.

    1. Merry Christmas to you Elaine and to your family. Thank you for your kind words and your stalwart company this year despite your own adventures. May your year be filled with beguiling fleeces, a fast wheel and nimble fingers!

    1. Thank you Stephanie, Merry Christmas to you. Enjoy your first Christmas in a new place and all the fresh thoughts and plans that can bring. Have a wonderful, snowy season.

  8. Hello Rebecca – Such an absolutely gorgeous post today just brimming with thoughtful creativity. I love the little clothes you have sewn and the Christmas baubles – perhaps I should start to knit some of those for next Christmas. Once again I have to say that all your making is an inspiration for me and hopefully will kickstart my rather knocked about creativity for the New Year. Wishing you and all your dear ones the very happiest of Christmas times….and with huge thanks for the wonderful blogposts which I read with pleasure. Now, where is that tape measure….. :)) Lydia

    1. Merry Christmas Lydia,Thank you for your generous words. I think it is pretty normal to have a decline in creativity around this time of year. Things are finishing and the days compressing…You are wise to think about the New Year, a time of beginnings. May that tape measure lead to verdant pastures!

  9. Merriest of Christmases to you and your dear family! Your (not really so) little things and thoughts on the connectivity of making delight my eyes and cheer my soul. One day I will knit some of those Christmas balls, so good. Have a lovely break, and looking forward to reading more of your thoughts in the new year. Jx

    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours Pinry. Thanks for your company on the blog and instagram this year. I have really enjoyed the curated images of your mum’s work and your wonderful kid’s costumes. Keep as cool as you can (in all senses!) over the school hols this summer. Cheers!

  10. Merry Christmas to you Rebecca and your Family!
    I love your little felt ornaments. We have some French friends staying with us and I think those would make lovely gifts for people so far from home.
    See you in the New Year when my spinning machines should be up and running. Meanwhile I a knee deep in grease and WD40.
    X Suzette

    1. Thank you Suzette, Merry Christmas to you too! Brava for giving us a year of hope for the revitalisation of small mills in Australia. May Santa bring you as much WD40 as necessary to get those wheels a’turning!

    1. Dear Alina, Merry Christmas to you and your bloke for your first Christmas in your new town. What a pretty place to celebrate in. Best wishes for the new year!

  11. Merry Christmas Rebecca! I loved seeing your beautiful, thoughtful Christmas makings. I especially loved those barkcloth shorts. Such a great idea for a boy! Have a restful holiday, and I look forward to reading your lovely blog again next year. Fiona x

    1. Merry Christmas to you Fiona. Thank you for reading needle and spindle and your kind words. I do hope the shorts are a success. Sometimes it takes him a while to warm to new clothes.

  12. Lovely to see all your Christmas makes – you have been busy! So very nice to see you have found a use for that button – Clever you! My abiding memory of you and your family at Christmas is the picture you posted on Instagram (I think?) last year of the backs of your children and partner as they strode off to get the Christmas tree – in the hot, hot sun. Little children marching behind with so much excitement and determination. Happy Christmas to you and yours – I’ll be thinking of you all as you celebrate the Christmas season in all that searing heat.

    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family Katherine in your house on the hill. We went to the same tree farm this year but it was cold enough to wear a jumper. So glad we got one then and not during the heat… It was cruel, not unlike your winter but opposite!

  13. What wonderful items you have crafted from your stash. I’m sure your Dear Boy and Girl will love them ( I especially like the barkcloth shorts). I should warn you that the love of Unicorns and all things sparkly does not diminish with years, my daughter is 20 and STILL demands such inclusions! Your gifts and decorations have been made with lots of love and are very thoughtful. I wish you and your family a joyful Christmas and every good wish for 2016.

    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours Deborah. That is good advice about the unicorns, I must confess a mild unicorn fancy myself that lasted a wee while!

  14. These are lovely holiday touches, and your post makes me glad that I was able to finish at least one gift for xmas this year. 🙂 Maybe next year I’ll get to some handmade decorations. Happy holidays, and thank you for all of your thoughtful posts.

    1. Merry Christmas Alicia, given your extremely busy last few months, I think it is a miracle you managed anything hand made this Christmas! May you enjoy the rest that comes after great busynesses.

  15. Merry Christmats to you and your family, Rebecca! I look forward to reading your blog again in the new year!


    1. Merry Christmas Rachaeldaisy, my gifts won’t be the exciting ones on the day. Hopefully though they will be the slow brewing useful ones that become part of everyday life. Best wishes to you!

  16. I do love a handmade festive season! I love all your wee items, but especially the seed packets. What a great gift idea.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Rebecca. Thank you for a lovely year of musings and thoughtful insights.

    1. Ah Kate, there is no such thing as a late party guest, only a welcome one. Thank you for visiting and your kind wishes. All the best to you and yours!

  17. Late as always to get to read your wonderful post, though not as late as sometimes! I’m amazed and inspired by your productive creativity and also your thinking about it. Making is connecting – lovely. How lucky your family are to have all these beautiful things made with so much thought and care. When I was young it was the other way around, I was making things for my parents! (Largely unappreciated unless that is just a bad memory). Too late to wish you a happy Christmas, but in Rilke’s words ‘now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been’.

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