For some reason, I always thought they’d originally come from Norfolk way but my Mum thought it was somewhere else. No matter. After the war, Mr and Mrs Freer landed up at number 2 of a terrace of four little two-up-two-down cottages on the bank of the river with fields of cows in the water meadows on the opposite bank, the woods behind and the church and the castle framing the distance to the north. Each of the cottages had a green front door, which no one ever used, opening straight onto the lane and a set of ten steps leading down from its back door into the gardens, where each cottage had a very productive and well tended vegetable plot. My great granny and grandad (who died before I was born) lived at number 1 with their ten children. (Great granny and grandad slept in the front bedroom. The five girls slept in the back bedroom and the five boys slept in the attic, in case you were wondering, but I never did fathom how exactly they all fitted in).
Around about the time my parents decided to get married, great granny, who was starting to get quite frail, decided to go to live with one of her daughters so my parents took over the rent of cottage number 1 and that was how it came to be that I was born next door to the Freers, who were retired by then. Back in those pre-wall-to-wall-tv days, we children were sent out every day to play in the garden and, weather permitting, rarely went into the house between breakfast and bedtime except for meals. Mr Freer, it seemed, was also sent out. Once a week he and Mrs Freer would cycle away across the meadows to the town to get their shopping on a shiny black tandem and four times a day Mrs Freer would call him in – first for elevenses, then lunch, then afternoon tea and finally supper – but apart from that he was always to be found digging in the garden or fixing something in his shed. And we were often to be found chatting away to him, showing him our treasures of shells (from the time when our garden was under the sea) and broken china (from the days before they has dustmen) that we’d unearthed in our frequent occupation of trying to dig to Australia.
Mrs Freer’s life was more of a mystery. She mostly stayed in her house ‘doing her work’, on rainy days we had to be extra quiet after lunch because she was having her nap and she crocheted. Our house was a hive of washing, cooking, cleaning, tailoring, knitting, car fixing, wood and metal working and later extension building. But our house knew no crochet. But Mrs Freer made wonderful hooked creations the most incredible of all being crocheted lace doilies. We almost never went into the Freer’s house. Once a year at Christmas we dropped in for a drink and if one of us was ill we might stay there just whilst my mother took the others of us to school. We were also under instruction from my mother not to disturb her so I can’t remember how it possibly came about – perhaps in the garden on a Summer’s afternoon? – but one day, when I was five or six, Mrs Freer showed me how to crochet. She gave me a hook and some orange wool and showed me how to make a chain, how to double crochet and how to treble. She might have shown me how to increase and decrease or I might have seen that in a book at some later stage. And I went home and made a shape, which IMHO bore more than a passing resemblance to a square.
And when my mother wasn’t looking, I quietly climbed the Freer’s back steps and nervously knocked on the door and said “Mrs Freer! I have made something!” And she put on her glasses and examined it for a long time and she said that it looked like some of the things they’d dug up in the garden when they’d moved in and she said that it was very good for a first try and I’d learn by and by. And, although I was always meaning to, I never crocheted any thing again. I’ve crocheted odd borders on knitting and started things and frogged them but I’ve never actually started and finished a crocheted object which, in a funny kind of way makes this rainbow blanket my greatest blogged about accomplishment.
So, Mrs Freer, if you’re up there somewhere looking down on us all, I just want you to know that, at last, I have made something and I am learning by and by xxx
This blanket measures approx 75″ x 70″ or approx 190cm x 178cm
09 strong blue
Drops Paris is 100% cotton and can be Machine washed at 60°C. It’s an aran weight yarn and I used the recommended 5mm hook but in future I would try a 4.5mm as the overall tension seemed loose to me (though that might just have been me!) It seems very economical at £1.79 for 50g, and it probably is for a natural fibre, but it’s only 75m long and it disappears surprisingly fast. It is unmerchandised, which I think can look a bit stringy but for some projects I think it’s washability would outweigh that.
If you have anything on your hooks or needles this week, or woolly projects of any kind, I’d love you to link up with WOOL ON SUNDAYS. The rules as usual are:
1). Posts must include some content – makes or musings – related to knitting, crochet, felting, spinning or yarn.
2). Projects sewn from felt or wool fabric or stitchery using wool are also welcome but please don’t link posts that are exclusively about sewing, quilting and fabrics.
3). Posts don’t have to be from the past week but please put a link to WOOL ON SUNDAYS or grab the button from my sidebar and include it in or at the bottom of any posts you link up.
4). Visit anyone else who links.
Wishing you a very happy week :)
[LINKY PARTY LOST IN MOVE FROM BLOGGER]