Fragile Treasure

Oh I’m on a roll here. Two posts on consecutive days.


Some of my cousins and I have been posting old family photos on FB and trying to document as much as we know of the history because we’ve already lost so much of that. In my case, I need to double and triple check anything that I THINK I know of family history, because little mum was rather fond of ’embroidering’ family history, when she wasn’t just making it up out of whole cloth.

So in a sense, what I and my cousins know of our shared antecedents could be regarded as the fragile treasure of the title. Each previously unseen photo. Each tentative date or skeleton of a story.

Nadie is always saying to me ” I hope you’ve got that labelled” or “I hope you’re writing this down”

so Nadie, this is for you:

My gorgeous maternal grandfather, Roy Williams, had a twin sister Elsie. They were born on Christmas Day, 1890, and there doesn’t seem to be many photos that we can be sure are Elsie, mostly because she died as a very young woman. I’m thinking 1915, but I need to check that… and this is one of those bits where I have to question what I think I know, because Mum always said that Elsie died in childbirth, having her son Edwin McLaughlin.

Maybe one of my cousins knows whether this is correct, but certainly what I do know, is that the photos of Edwin as a toddler all show him with either his father, or with his Nannie, my Great Grandma Gertrude Henrietta Adams Williams. No signs of Elsie. So maybe Mum was correct.576286_10200863080927628_1583406655_n


That’s Elsie on the left, with my great aunts, Gertrude Alice in the middle and Doreen Constance on the right , taken at the family home in East Camberwell, we’re guessing around 1900-1902, as Do was born in 1894. Tell me you don’t just love the cabbage-tree hats, pinafores, lisle stockings and button-up boots!

and this is Elsie on the day of her wedding to Roy Edwin McLaughlin in 1914


541617_10200863081447641_1594588875_nwhich is what leads me to the title of the post.

Elsie’s wedding veil.

My treasure.

It’s unbelievably fragile and foxed, thanks to its being stored in plastic for goodness knows how many years before I got my mitts on it.

In fact, though I hate remembering this, the very first time I picked it up, my finger went right through the netting which is so brittle I’m not sure how it is holding together.

You may all be assured that since 1994 it has been living in archival tissue, in a labelled box, and rarely ever coming out into the clear light of day. [ and did I just hear a collective sigh of relief from all my embroiderer/quilter friends ? ]

This week it did, because I wanted to photograph the embroidery for my cousins

and I thought some of you might like to see it as well.





Each corner is different: the net embroidered in fairly heavy cream thread,

542765_10200863726663771_545099070_n which has a slight sheen and is probably equivalent to modern 6-strand embroidery cotton.

and so I continue to preserve this whisp of century old embroidered lace, the tangible expression of the fact that Elsie was a living breathing woman, who loved, was loved in return, and then lost.




BWM Colonial 5ply [sport ]

5.5mm KP needles

and if I ever again mention any intention of doing a picot cast-off on something this size, will someone please shoot me ?


You may remember a few posts ago when I alerted you to the  seductive nature of testknits.

Well  evil temptress enabler friend Toni did it again by pointing me in the direction of a new design by Canadian designer Natalie Servant.

Like I needed another shawl!

The original is a clever v-shaped shawl, but Natalie was interested in having it done as a rectangular stole as well.

Turns out long skinny knitted thingies may not be the easiest things to photograph

His Royal Beariness thought that this first pic

would be enhanced by the addition of his chewtoy. Purely for purposes of scale you understand.

The one thing to be said in it’s favour is that the deep cherry colour is reasonably true, and it does show off the pattern nicely I guess. Ms Natalie calls this one Clover [ presumably 4 leafed?] but I see hearts.

I tried laying it on the floor … various tables … nothing remotely successful

So next, being the kind, considerate, loving mother that I am, I hauled Nadie and an assortment of woollies outside for an extended photo shoot.

In case you didn’t know, it’s Summer here.

Today got to 38 degreesC [ 100F ]

Once again, greater love hath no daughter …

and for those who care about such things

Pattern: Clover by Natalie Servant

– I mainly used the written with the chart as backup.

yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4 ply in Ruby [ 100% machine washable wool ]

needles: 4.5mm KP

le mailot vert

It’s like that thing with buses.

You all know how it goes … you wait forever and then five come along one after the other.

That’s what July is like.

There’s the Wool & Sheep Show in Bendigo.

Two weeks later there’s the huge Quilt & Craft show at Jeff’s Shed

and if that’s not enough to cause your brain to end up somewhere in the vicinity of your knees:

there’s also the TDF:

the Tour De France Knit A Long

and its sister event the Tour De Fleece

It’s a Ravelry thing …

We get ourselves organised into teams and knit like crazy every day that the Tour rides.

For me, this was the year of the sprints.

In the three weeks Le Tour, I finished

two berets,

a pair of very steampunk black lace  spats,

a pair of legwarmers that I designed myself [ Bendigo Classic 8ply brick red ]

two beanies – a Melbourne storm [Rugby ] one for The Boy, but modelled here by The Girl

Rare Yarns Cocoon [ silk/alpaca/merino – and possibly the lushest footy beanie ever but it happens to be the only yarn in the perfect shade ]

and one for Pete-formerly-next-door [ hereinafter referred to as PND ]

in BWM Luxury 8ply

modelled by David

a pair of wristwarmers


two – that’s TWO people –  lace shawls

in ten days

the burgundy one is a Kiri for the Girl in Koigu KPPPM that I won a few years ago as a blog prize from the lovely RoseRed

I started it on the afternoon of July 14th so that I’d have something small and portable to take to the Ravellry WoolBaa Dinner that night.

It was finished on the 19th and I cast on for the navy one on the 20th

# 2 is about a quarter  the size of the burgundy one – but just as many stitches – in laceweight [2ply] baby peruvian alpaca [ Misti Alpaca Lace ] on 3.75mm needles.

This one was cast off, soaked, and blocked just  as the guys were approaching Le Champs Elysee.

and if I ever EVER mention the intention of knitting in navy blue lace weight AT NIGHT …

can someone please shoot me ?