Knit­ting bot­tles

Old time hobby great pas­time for Blue Crest res­i­dent

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY CARL ROSE GRAND BANK, N.L.

Fred Blag­don, a res­i­dent of the Blue Crest Home in Grand Bank, turns the bot­tles many of us throw away or place in the re­cy­cling bin into works of art.

Knit­ting twine around bot­tles of dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes is some­thing the 88-yearold re­tired fish­er­man has been do­ing for years.

He con­tin­ues to en­joy his hobby as he re­laxes with his wife No­rah in their room at the Blue Crest Home where he has resided for the last three months and his wife has lived for a lit­tle more than a year.

“Fam­ily and friends and many of the work­ers here at the home want them as sou­venirs. It’s un­real how many I have done,” Blag­don said. He de­scribed how it’s done. “You have to be very care­ful how you start knit­ting around the neck of the bot­tle; that is very im­por­tant. Then you knit around the bot­tle, mak­ing sure you keep the mesh tight,” Blag­don pointed out as he knit­ted on a bot­tle he had just started.

“You have to put in ex­tra stitches af­ter you get so far down the bot­tle. When you get close to the bot­tom, you have to put in ex­tra stiches again to keep it tight.”

Blag­don has re­pur­posed some of the knit­ted bot­tles into lamp­shades.

“I did one for a worker here; he wanted it for his cabin,” he said.

Blag­don, dur­ing his long ca­reer as a fish­er­man, worked with twine all his life mak­ing and mend­ing nets.

His jour­ney started as a her­ring fish­er­man with his un­cle in Lally Cove when he was only 17 years old, be­fore be­com­ing a bank fish­er­man and then a deck­hand and en­gi­neer on sev­eral side and stern trawlers.

“Knit­ting twine around a bot­tle started af­ter I went into the en­gine room. I used to do it for the boys on the boats. I did a lot of them,” Blag­don said. “When I did bot­tles for peo­ple on the boats, I didn’t use twine like I am us­ing to­day. I used the big­ger line like we used on the trawls – 10-12 pound stuff.”

Blag­don showed one of his sons how to do it.

“He used to say, ‘I can do it Dad, but not as good as you do it.’”

Blag­don said since mov­ing into Blue Crest Home he con­tin­ues to knit around bot­tles as a pas­time and for re­lax­ation.

“I don’t re­al­ize how fast the time is go­ing when I am at this,” he said.

Blag­don says he is con­tent liv­ing at Blue Crest.

“We en­joy the sing-a-longs, the bingo, the church ser­vices, and the so­cials,” he said.

More than any­thing else, he en­joys be­ing with his wife, who moved into the home be­fore he did.

“Both of us are hav­ing health is­sues. We prob­a­bly haven’t got much longer to­gether,” Blag­don said. “What bit of time we got, I am glad we will spend it to­gether.”

CARL ROSE

Fred Blag­don knit­ting twine around a bot­tle to pass the time. His wife No­rah is pic­tured in the back­ground.

CARL ROSE

Ex­am­ples of some of Fred Blag­don’s work, in­clud­ing one bot­tle con­verted into a lamp­shade.

CARL ROSE

No­rah and Fred Blag­don en­joy­ing a friend’s birth­day party.

CARL ROSE

Fred Blag­don ex­plains that get­ting a good start on the bot­tle is cru­cial for a good neat knit­ting job.

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