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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Story From Scrap

This is a scrap blanket made by my paternal grandmother. As a knitter/crocheter of many years I know how yarn scraps retain memories for me of projects past and I so wish I could ask Grandma the individual stories of these squares.

If we look at it from an anthropological view point, the blanket does reveal a story of place, life and times, with a little help from my limited knowledge.
For a start, it's size. It measures 1m x 1,2m and is intended as a "knee rug". In QLD the winters are not bitter and certainly not long, the houses are built primarily for coolness in the longer hotter temperatures, Knee rugs were just the thing for a couple of months of the year sitting in the lounge room watching TV or reading and they were also handy for car travel before heaters were common place.

Although I have no doubt my grandmother acquired some scrap yarn, I can guarantee most of it came from previous projects. The range and amount of colours shows that she was a prolific knitter/crocheter as many had to be in order to clothe family and provide household necessities, like tea cosies and toys etc.
The yarns can be dated by their colours and say a lot about fashions in different decades. I suspect these yarns date from the 1930s to the 1950s. It also shows a consistency of ply and fibre commonly used in that era.

It speaks of an era that wasted nothing and used every scrap.
An era where many garments were home made right down to socks and singlets. Of fishing berets, baby layettes, trendy twin sets and smart toddler play clothes.
Of socks in all sizes and some for the boys at the war front.
It speaks of industriousness even in the down time of sitting. 

This blanket also tells a story of quality dyeing and wool spinning in Australia. The colours still beautiful and unique in every hue and shade, set in individual glory by pure black borders that have not faded with time either.

I'm guessing that the yarn is all 4ply in the old language and she would have used a 2,5mm hook.

When my 2 yr old grandson visits we often sit side by side on the couch under this rug and I tell him proudly of his great great grandma Murray who knit this blanket and I talk about the colours and how the blues of this square are like the beaches at the coast and that square of stormy greys are like clouds....
Stories upon stories.


  1. What a wonderful heirloom. I just love the colours from that era. Thanks so much for sharing. I found it quite fascinating and you are so lucky to have this passed down and to share with your grandson.

  2. Beautiful blanket, beautiful stories Tanya.
    (I'm teaching myself to knit at the mo - bit wonky but I'm enjoying the process more than I thought I would) x

  3. What a wonderful blanket I have one my Great Grandmother crocheted that used up all the left over pieces of wool she had and I treasure it. I am hoping that the ones I am making will be treasured in the future too and not resigned to op shops like I see so many.


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