If it’s punk rock knitted chickens, it must be Friday

Admittedly they can also be rather terrifying, like for example the Yo-yo Clown on the Wild Olive blog. I’m fully expecting that thing to start following me around in a nightmare.

Today, I was having a look at vintage patterns on Ravelry, because apparently I don’t have enough projects for this year with the 15 in 2015, and I struck gold. It came in the form of a pattern book from an issue of The Australian Woman’s Weekly from 1968, entitled ‘the Mod Menagerie’. The best news? You can get the pattern for free AND turn it into a PDF to download and print! The first animal to catch my (admittedly horrified) attention was this:

Knitted cat

This, apparently, is the ‘Cat of Super Colours’. So very 1960s. But then it got better. There’s the Carrot Power Rabbit…

Knitted Rabbit

Not just a toy, an encouragement to eat your vegetables. Either that or s/he’s meant to be some kind of vegetable activist. CARROT POWER!

There was also the hippie-potamus:

There’s nothing like a good pun, and admittedly that name is nothing like a good pun, but I love it anyway.

But the highlight, the thing that had me immediately looking at how I could fit in some more projects this year, was this- I give you…Mopsy Bird.

I remind you that this was in the Australian Women’s Weekly. All I can say is that Australian knitters in the 1960s must have been badass, either that or the designer was super-badass, because just take a look at this bird, people! That’s a motherf***ing punk rock chicken right there. It’s like a combination between Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange, Sid Vicious, and Beyonce (no not the singer).

I am a lot in love with Mopsy Bird and now I need to make several and give them to people, and if they react with “what the everloving Christ have you made me?” I’ll be all “everyone needs a punk rock chicken in their lives”.

I shall of course also keep one for myself, because Geoffery Wildington Peabody III needs other chickens for company. Though I confess I am a little worried Mopsy Bird might lead her astray and I’ll wake up one morning and she’ll have an anarchy symbol spray painted on her chest, and Mopsy Bird will be stood off to the side covered in paint and trying to look nonchalant.

It wasn’t me, I swear!

Awwww, I can’t stay mad at you, Mopsy Bird.

Thinking about it, Mopsy Bird doesn’t really express who this chicken really is- do you have a better name for it?


Why being punk rock will save your life, or at least your crafting

It started young. I got 8/10 on a spelling test and had to practice the mistakes. I got 87% on a maths exam (my worst subject), “what did you get wrong?”. There were the parents evenings where all I got to hear were the ways my teachers thought I could improve, the incorrectly answered questions in quizzes and trivial pursuit which I am never, even to this day, allowed to forget. All of it piling up into one thing: perfectionism.

Let me tell you, my lovelies, perfectionism will kill you. Maybe not physically, but there’s another thing that goes hand in hand with it.


If you can’t get it absolutely perfect everyone will judge you (says your perfectionism). Better not to try it at all if you can’t get it right (says your fear).

If you listen to those voices, you’ll never try anything, no matter how badly you want to. Wanting to do something plus those voices ends up with statements like “oh, I’m so envious of people who can do that, I could never do it.”

Stop right there. Yes, you can. And this is where a punk rock attitude will save you.

Fuck the fear. Fuck perfect. As my heroine Veronica Varlow would say, just rock that mother out.

You want to knit? Pick up the needles and give it a go. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Yes, you’re almost certainly going to make mistakes. And that’s OK.

Just tell yourself ‘this is totally punk rock’. It’s not a perfect scarf, it’s a punk rock scarf. The stitch count probably changes from row to row, and there are probably more than a few dropped stitches. It’s “distressed”. It’s channelling Vivienne Westwood- seriously, look in any fashion magazine and just see what people will pay for things covered in those artful ‘mistakes’.

But most of all, darlings, stop worrying about it! If you want to do it, do it, and make the mistakes because that’s how you learn. When you learn how not to make those mistakes you can try new things and make all new sets of mistakes.

I know very well that my sewing, my knitting, my paper craft, are far from perfect. But they’re good enough. Getting OK with that is so important, not just because it means you’re more willing to try things that interest you, but also for your mental health.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you you can’t do something, especially when it comes to craft. If you’re willing to give it a go, and you’re willing to practice and make a lot of gloriously mistake-ridden things, you can, and you will, do it.

So do it. Be punk rock- just fucking do it. And just see the amazing possibilities that unfold for you.

Confession time in the comments- what do you really want to try? If you could break through that fear and perfectionism, and just do something, what would it be? Tell me…and you might just find yourself being pointed to things that will help. Go on…don’t be afraid. Share it here!