Sunday, August 16, 2009

Meet Teddy

This is Teddy Harvey (named so, because he had a near-identical-twin called Teddy Robson who belonged to my cousin... maybe he's still around too... I meant to ask this afternoon when I phoned his family but forgot...)

Teddy isn't the oldest piece of knitting I own - I have a blanket grandma knitted before I was born - but it's the oldest thing I have which was knitted for me, for my very first Christmas. I'm starting to think about Christmas knitting this week (yes, I know...) and also tidying in the bedroom - and spotted Teddy sitting on his bookcase. I had a lot of soft toys as a child, and have accumulated a couple (sheep and Clangers) as an adult, but Teddy's the only one I've kept from early childhood.

Teddy is, as far as I can guess, 100% aran-weight nylon. He was knitted by Grandma Christie, and I think the story was that he was made out of yarn recycled from a cardigan Grandma'd been given by the sister of the ward she was nursing in. Given that Grandma, as people did, gave up work when she married in the early 1930s, I'm not sure how that coincides with the development of nylon, when she acquired the cardigan or whether it was new when she was given it; but Teddy's definitely synthetic and definitely recycled because I remember seeing some of the yarn when I was a child (it will have been called 'wool' because everything was) and being told that was what Teddy was made of... I'll have to ask next time I phone home. Mam knitted Teddy's trousers with the fetching owl buttons, so he's a product of two generations of knitters. Mam did knit, and made all sorts of things for me including some wonderful Sindy clothes in 1970s styles, but it wasn't something she necessarily enjoyed all that much (but does mean she and Dad know how much work goes into knitted presents so they're great recipients of knitting)...

As well as being knitted out of old-fashioned nylon (in 17 separate pieces, beautifully sewn together), Teddy is stuffed with nylon stockings - thick, brown, old-lady ones - so he's pretty weighty. And of course his eyes wouldn't meet modern scrutiny - I suspect they're on rusting metal wires which have been wrapped together somewhere inside his head, rather than safety eyes... Nevertheless, and despite being dragged around the house by one limb or other for much of my childhood, he's in remarkably great shape for a 41 year old. Much better shape than I am, at 8 months older! He has a small hole behind his right knee, caused by an overenthusiastic kitten in 1994/5 (not quite sure which one, but I still have my suspicions), but is otherwise unscathed.

The reason he's ventured downstairs for the first time since 1993 is that when I started tidying around I did notice that he and his trousers are rather dusty. The weather is so beautiful this weekend that I think he's about to have minor knee surgery and then his first bath for around 25 years; let's hope it's not too much of a shock to the old boy...

3:15 photos will be taken tomorrow. Just because I'm on holiday; so I can...! Was originally intending to go to London tomorrow, and then turned over a page in the diary and remembered I'd volunteered for another library shift in the morning, so I'll go on Tuesday... I also have some crabapple jelly to make this evening, and maybe some rhubarb and ginger jam - the crabapples and rhubarb both come from Sue's allotment and we had a lovely dinner last night after knitting group and allotment-picking, mostly made with things she'd grown, with a tiny amount of things I'd grown (and in the interests of full disclosure, a few things from the supermarket...), and we both cooked, and ate out in her really pretty garden....

And as I was typing that last word - a neighbour came round with a newspaper of runner beans and a milk-carton of greengages (he very often does their distribution-of-gluts-of-produce at the same time on a Sunday so I wasn't as surprised as the previous two weeks), and I was able to give him the dishcloth and potholder I'd made for them as partial recompense... It all feels incredibly rural and domestic round here at the moment; and that feels like a good thing and reminds me of why I do the commute (although I really don't mind that, either)...

(I'll rant about the tomato-blight tomorrow...)(and apologies for the many parentheses).

3 comments:

peri said...

He is a lovely bear, how wonderful to still have him.

Somewhere in the depths of the attic I have a blue knitted elephant my Gt. Grandmother,who was known as Drooper, made for me. I could never part with it even though it is pretty disgusting. I used to chew its trunk.

Mary deB said...

What a lovely Teddy. We had a bunny, but I think he was always my sister's and have no idea where he is now. I look at those patterns and always step back -- they are an awful lot of fiddly work!

Daisy said...

He's a very beautiful teddy. And I love the description of your neighbours, I'd love to live somewhere like that!