Mrs Lewis of Wiltshire used her old tights (legs only) for crocheting bath mats, and, whilst the crocheting bug was still with her, used up the rest of her old tights by treating the dog to a new cover for the inside of its basket. As she says - "it is simple to wash and quick to dry". She crochets these circles along the same lines as we used to make shoulder handbags. Do you remember them ladies? We used to crochet two matching circles plus a long narrow strip and then join the circles to the strip and hey presto! a bag which was very fashionable at the time . . . And as everything comes round in circles, they will no doubt one day be fashionable again. Come to think of it, the same bag created out of old tights/stockings would make a very useful 'peg bag', one which you could sling over your shoulder and so leave the hands free for hanging out the washing.
As soon as Mrs L mentioned 'crocheting with fabric', my mind immediately flipped back to my childhood. I can remember my friends' mothers and also grandmothers sitting together, chatting, and at the same time pushing strips of old woollen cloth into a sacking backing (with a special metal dibber) and then pulling the same strip towards them. The result was a closely woven 'shag style' rug with an approx. 2" pile, often of a beautiful and intricate design. Of course, the children weren't allowed to be idle and they were roped in to cut up old woollen coats, skirts, etc. into 4" x l" strips. Most families were content with the making of just a fireside rug which could be taken up, thrown over the washing line and given its once-a-week beating, but my friend's mother had ambition and the whole family (including the six children) spent the winter evenings making a rug which when completed filled the whole of the living room. (I think she must have been the Mrs Bouquet of her day). This was the first time that I had seen a fitted carpet and Oh! what bliss! as we rolled around on it. Not very hygienic of course with six children, two dogs, cats and friends playing on it, and as it was too heavy for its weekly 'lift' and was therefore only moved for its 'once-a-year' spring clean, it probably had a few more additions to the family, living and growing in it. Well, we didn't have vacuum cleaners, health visitors, etc, but didn't we have fun? It was such a change from the usual cold lino with just the obligatory rug in front of the fire and often that was made of hard coconut matting, which was not exactly child friendly. (You didn't have to play outside to get a grazed knee you could get it by playing inside on the coconut matting.) Perhaps that is why most of the games were played at the family table, as the cold lino was not the place to play during the cold winter evenings. Isn't it funny how times have changed? Now, the focal point of any living/family room is the TV and, then, the large family table dominated the room. In fact, it was often half the size of the living room as it had to accommodate large families (several of my friends had six or eight siblings) and of course they all sat down together for meals
Note that I have mentioned 'living rooms' - the word 'lounge' had not yet arrived in the family vocabulary. Lounges as far as our young ears could determine were rather dubious places in pubs and hotels, places where good girls didn't frequent. Isn't it funny also how actual words come in and go out of fashion. I think lounge has done the complete circle now. The working class front room/sitting room became the estate agents' upmarket 'spacious lounge' and now the word 'lounge' is considered a 'no, no' and we are back to the estate agents' 'large, airy living room/sitting room', etc. And, can you remember when 'sofas' suddenly went upmarket and became 'settees', and now 'settee' is downmarket and it's back to 'sofa'? Which reminds me - last week I mentioned the word 'anorak' to my grandchildren, and they looked at me blankly and asked 'what's an anorak?' I wonder if the pre-anorak word 'windcheater' will make a comeback. Hope so, it was such an apt name and we could certainly do with a 'wind cheater' at the moment!
All these memories from just one tip. Hope the above has evoked happy childhood memories for you also, but unfortunately all these meanderings means that I am out of space ..... but, watch this space and join me for the rest of the tips .... Unless, of course, you've been encouraged to start making a rug or two?
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