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Mrs Jones, Crafty Maven

  • Its my birthday and I'll craft if I want to!
  • Sarah Boulter
  • cascadecrafternoonfamous knittersfleece artisthand maiden

Its my birthday and I'll craft if I want to!

For my birthday this year, I thought I would reunite my old crafternoon friends for an afternoon of tea, cake, craft and catch-up. Great ideas need action though and well I didn’t get organised in time…maybe next time! But it did have me thinking about great craft parties. I’ve often thought about the old question “if you could have dinner with anyone – alive or dead – who would you invite?” except I would organise an afternoon tea and invite fabulous knitters! I would set the table with yarn specially selected for each of them! Here are some of my picks.

At the risk of sounding obvious, I would have to invite Brad Pitt. Now settle down with the cougar calls (for starters he is older than me) but I mean come on, we’ve all heard the rumours that he knits. I mean it could well be an urban myth born of a great female fantasy, but hey, I’m willing to believe it. A few years ago Brad Pitt was seen wearing a great slouchy beanie for some months and I mean, come on, who amongst us didn’t think nice knit-wear…is the rumour true, does he knit as well? Could this be one of his own creations (gasp!). Ok so maybe that is just my fantasy, but hey this is my ultimate birthday party we are talking about here! Imagine the questions you could ask that fine, fine man? “Do you like straights or interchangeables?”, “did you knit booties for the twins or a man-scarf for George Clooney?”. It would also be fantastic to hear about his work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, he would have some amazing insights on what went so terribly wrong that exposed so many to the worst of the storm. I would set his place with some Zealana Heron…its manly but soft.

Is it true..does Brad Pitt knit?

Second invitee would be Audrey Hepburn. She was a regular knitter and there are quite a few beautiful pictures of her knitting on set. She would bring some wonderful style and class to the party (Brad would pull her chair out for her). She would share stories of lead men and beautiful couture and we would all be jealous! Of course I would have to quiz her on why Mickey Rooney an obviously white man was cast as an Asian man in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Was that really the way things were done then? For Audrey I would have to bring a fingering weight yarn. She was from an era when patterns were for 3 or 5 ply yarn, so I would pick some Cascade 220 fingering for her…enough to make a twin set.

Audrey Hepburn was one of the stylish knitters

Knitting may have appeared to be her down fall, but for me seeing our first female Prime Minister posing with her knitting in Women’s Weekly made me love her more, so Julia Gillard would most definitely be at the coffee table! I was never sure what offended me more. The way she was treated because she was a woman or the way she was mocked for being a knitter. The photo of Julia knitting with her dog at her feet would be the equivalent of any other PM at the cricket with his kids. The image for me was who Julia was when she was at home  and so was a very honest image and one I admired greatly. At my birthday crafternoon, as she settled in with a cup of tea and a slice of honey roll that Brad baked, she would share with us stories of her beloved dad, snippets from parliament (maybe the day in parliament she had to get a message to Tony Abbott via the speaker that his fly was undone and the clerks could see his speedos) and what a wiz with hot tongs Tim is. As the afternoon wore on we would talk about the need to educate women as the real power to changing the world and we would all come up with plans to change the world for women. For Julia, the yarn would have to be something special, none of this dime store acrylic. I’m thinking a good DK yarn, something with colour and character like Fleece Artist 3/6 Merino.

Julia Gillard our first knitting Prime Minister

Next on my list is young Australian comedian, Stella Young. Sadly, Ms Young passed away suddenly at the end of 2014 and my fantasy of a chance meeting with her at a stitch-and-bitch was crushed. Stella had a wicked sense of humour and was openly crafty, she also happened to be disabled. She was a great advocate for disabled people, using her humour to give a very pragmatic view of the challenges of disability and the awkwardness and sometimes inappropriateness of the rest of us mugs. She was a gal with spunk and a gal with spunk who knitted so I would totally love to have her at crafternoon tea. She would hold forth with her wicked sense of humour, some cheeky teasing of Brad and a few pointed questions to Julia all while knitting up some intricate lace shawl! I would have a skein of Hand Maiden Mini Maiden waiting at her place at the table!

Stella Young, knitting enthusiast

And finally, I’d want Eleanor Roosevelt to join the party. Now there is a woman with some stories I’m sure. Eleanor was probably not what America expected from a first lady. She, it appears, had strong opinions and was not afraid to publicly disagree with her husband, The President. She was a feminist, a civil rights activist, a mother to six children and thought to have had liaisons with other strong women like Amelia Earhart. I suspect she would be quite sassy! I picture her chatting with Julia swapping stories of running countries, the political machinations and the treatment of women in power. I imagine she would be a captivating guest from start to finish. She would of course knit and befitting to the era of her craft skills, she is likely to use number four straight needles. I would at least try and introduce her to wooden needles! Her project is bound to be something fine. I would give her a skein of Fleece artist Tree wool – a sports weight yarn with a modern twist.

Eleanor Roosevelt knits in the Governor's House

When you start to think about it there is quite an array of famous knitters that would be great to bring together. All sharing that passion but coming with different experiences and stories. My friends bring that to the crafternoon table, but what fun to imagine someone famous joining in! Who would you invite to your ultimate crafternoon party?

  • Sarah Boulter
  • cascadecrafternoonfamous knittersfleece artisthand maiden

Comments on this post (2)

  • Mar 01, 2016

    Dear Mrs Jones,

    I agree with Karen – what a gorgeous story! I have been thinking about who I would like to bring along to afternoon tea. Maybe Queen Elizabeth I, I don’t think she was a knitter, but she certainly was a dab hand at tapestry and embroidery. Would love to hear her compare notes with Julia on being in a position of power and managing the power-hungry men who surrounded her. And, at the risk of overwhelming Brad with strong-minded women, I would also invite one or two of the Knitting nannas!

    — Grandma Rosie

  • Feb 27, 2016

    Dear Mrs Jones,

    what a gorgeous story .. as a non-knitter, or perhaps just a terrible amateur, I am not sure who I would have along to afternoon tea, but sure as hell would like to come to yours. I think you should forward this to Julia, she might just have a little more time on her hands to join you! Love your work and your stories! xx

    — Karen Non-knitter

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