A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby


Or so runs the title of William McInnes’ book which was published several year ago.  ‘Autobiography’ is far too staid a title for this gem of literature which is a memoir of his youth.  The title comes from his father’s enduring, but seemingly useless efforts at standing for public office.  When asked why he continued to involve himself in this way, his eternal answer was, “A man’s got to have a hobby”.  Politics was his passion.

Do you have a lifelong passion or interest?  My interests tend to wax and wane depending on what else is going on in my life.  Not on a week to week basis but for years at a time.  The passion never really leaves but can be hidden or set aside if it does not fit with my current lifestyle.

I tend not to do craft for the simple sake of doing it – there needs to be a purpose.  I can remember a friend trying to entice me to join a patchwork group when my daughters were at primary school.  I was working part-time and was busy with many activities relating to the children as well as running a household.  Yes, I loved to sew but my skills were used to make clothes for the family.  My somewhat pithy response to her invitation was, “Why would you waste time cutting up bits of perfectly material to sew them back together?”

Patchwork is a very old craft and I understand the value of patchwork and quilting to create warm rugs from material salvaged from old garments or scraps of new fabric.  However, what I was seeing was women, some of whom could ill-afford it, buying expensive new fabric and gadgets in order to create what was essentially artwork.  So what happens to these when they are completed?

This is not to say that I have never used the principles of patchwork.  Here are a couple of examples of things I have made.

This jacket evolved because I had piles of offcuts of fleecy fabric from making tracksuits for the girls.  None of them were of any use by themselves but I could not bring myself to throw them out.


New fabric was bought specifically for the doona cover.  The cover was required so it was a matter of buying one or making it and using fabric that incorporated Miss O’s favourite character was appealing.  A cover made using only the Dora fabric would have been much too overwhelming.  Additionally, the use of some plain colours reduced the overall cost.


2011-03-27 01

In time gone by, I spent a number of years doing some family history research.  I achieved one particular goal with the research but always felt that there was more that I could do – if I had some spare time.  The paperwork and notes were carefully set aside and had not been touched for the best part of 15 years.  That is, until recently, when I decided to bite the bullet and join ancestry.com.au  I am still finding my way around the site and gradually transferring all of my records and notes into my custom-designed family tree.  As well as the records I plan to also add copies of some historical photos so that they will all be preserved and accessible in one place.

I had a large file in the filing cabinet but I am slowly and systematically going through the information and once it is saved I am discarding the sheets of paper.  So as well as rekindling my interest in one of my hobbies I am decluttering yet more of the filing cabinet.  I am looking forward to having all of my information together in this new (to me) format and then delving once again into finding out more about our ancestors.

5 thoughts on “A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby

  1. I was and wane like you. Simply wish I had more time to concentrate on things but my interests are broad which I think is a good thing. I can have a couple of different books on the go to read and maybe a knitting or crochet project as well. I have bundles of wool so am gradually working through it making baby blankets or jumpers for charity. This is great to do at lunch at work when lots of people are talking and it is hard to concentrate on reading.

    Like you I am interested in my family history to the point that I wrote a book as a gift to my parents about three years ago. There is a missing chapter though and I have found some more information last year so I must get that altogether and write that chapter. Not sure when though. I also have lots of birth, death and marriage certificates which I need to scan and then archive. Always so much to do.

  2. Fairy that’s what put me off about patchwork. ‘Women who could ill afford it buying all sorts of new fabric and gadgets’. Basically NOT what patchwork should be about. The coat of many colours is really lovely. Did you have to line the coat? I’m just wondering how you dealt with the inside seams?

  3. I did not line the jacket – just joined all the pieces as if it was a normal seam on fleecy fabric. It didn’t seem to bother my daughter as she never complained.

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