ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Radioactivists – Viv Lives 6


Dear Adrienne

I want to return to the subject of knitting. I think it was the vision of me knitting in the garden in my post-op period that set you off writing your ‘Knitting Nancy’ piece. Well I wanted you to know that it was no flash in the pan, no whimsical phase oh no, I am no fair weather knitter. I have gone on and on and am pleased to be able to report that I have developed a specialism. What I have become quite an expert at, is making peg bags!

You have been selected to receive my latest peg bag – hot from the needles and you will see that I have personalised it, just for you. This is an unusual step because most of my bags have hitherto been entirely dependent on whatever wool is in the cheap oddments box in ‘Siop Hefina’ which is the wool shop in Pwllheli. In your case, however, I had a vision of a black bag with a red ribbon and so I had to buy the wool at the regular price. Treasure it because it will become a collectors’ item one of these days and yours will be particularly collectable as a rarity.

It is about the eighth or ninth that I’ve made. My last one was a vision in speckled lime green which I donated to my brother in law, Des. Honestly, if you’d seen the one my sister was expecting him to manage with you would have been outraged. It was ripped and tatty. He was very pleased to receive a lovely new one and now holds his head high as he pegs out the washing.

I made my daughter a very nice stripy one which was much admired by her friend Rachael when she visited. Rachael gets married on Saturday and my gift to her is a vision of a bag in purply greeny stripes. Every Mrs Goodsort, worth her salt, has to have a substantial pegbag so I feel I have given her a good start in her married life.

I’m thinking that my next one will be for my other sister. She is a fanatical Blackburn Rovers fan so I thought hers could be in the royal blue and white of Rovers. I’m keeping my eye open for big fat wool in the right colours.

My first bag has actually become my knitting bag because I can’t bear to replace my own peg bag as the one I use was my Mum’s. My Mum spent her life discovering ‘treasure’ in car boot sales and charity shops. Her favourite things were ceramics and she was convinced that everything she bought was a priceless artefact. I think her secret dream was being featured on the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ with one of her finds being identified as priceless Ming or Meisson. After she died one of the worst things that I had to do was to get rid of all the pots, vases and ornaments that were left when we’d all chosen what we wanted to keep. It felt like treachery. The irony was, the things of hers that I really valued were the household things that she used every day such as her bread board, rolling pin, wooden spoons and her pegs. I think of her every single time I peg my washing out on the line and like her, I take great pride in a lineful of fresh, clean washing, billowing in the wind – all organised by size and colour.

I go for my next check-up on the 3rd November and am starting to get anxious about it though I feel very well. I hope you’re over your ‘blip’.

Happy pegging,
Viv (AKA Knitting Nancy)

Dear Viv,

What can I say – this is my very first peg bag, I am ashamed to say I have never been the proud owner of one before, aside from a plastic basket from the hundred peseta shop in Ibiza where the weather at least afforded one the pleasure of pegging out – and also where I very nearly did!

I am touched beyond measure by the time and obvious effort that has gone into the construction and design of my very own personal peg holder and the beautifully crafted wooden pegs that shall reside within and which must have taken you ages to whittle – infact, I think it will remain as a work of art along the lines of Damien Hurst and Tracy Emin of unmade bed fame. Have you ever thought of having an exhibition, I believe Saatchi & Saatchi are taking on new British/Welsh artists/peg bag knitters at the moment.

You are right, you were the inspiration for my knitting Nancy piece, which continues to direct many people to the site and still receives the most hits – so in this way you have contributed to raising awareness about HIV to the uninformed masses and therefore might well be in line for some kind of award. The public it seems have an ongoing interest in knitted underpants and dishcloths, so why not peg bags.

I think I feel another blog coming on – this is the power you have to inspire me. Maybe you would consider a regular knitting post with a regular update of your current peg bag progress and works in process?

On a more serious note I got quite choked when I opened the parcel and found the beautifully knitted bag with the proud red ribbon which indeed I shall treasure forever for the thought and time that went into it – also by the things you wrote about your mum and how she loved collecting things. I remember as well how she loved her box of pastels and kept them in colour coordinated rows like miniature sticks of that pastelly kind of rock and didn’t want to break them.

On the few times when its not raining in Blackburn and I get the chance to hang my washing out to dry, I also take great pleasure in arranging the colours and sizes which perhaps says something about us as a family, as in artistic, creative and possibly sufferers of OCD.

I hope all goes well with your check up – it must be a cause for anxiety, fingers crossed – but not when you’re knitting of course.

With lots of love and thank you so much for my lovely work of art peg bag’



  Kay wrote @

My friend Rachel, the one that had the peg bag from my mum for her wedding, was so keen that I add to my own knitting repetoire, which up until very recently was made up my mum’s pegbag pattern only, that she and her brand new husband sent me an article called ‘The Rebel Knitters’ Guide’. In it were the most useless patterns ever, including a variety of ‘fruit cosies’.
I think the look on their faces when they opened their his and hers matching banana cosies the day after their wedding was pleasure!
I’d personalised them – hers with a delicate pink ribbon and his with a bright green pom-pom dangling from the end. Of course, as a man, the new husband felt his wasn’t going to be long enough for his bananas, although I’d followed the pattern very carefully – ‘a good 9 inches’ it said!

  Pete Widrick wrote @

I’ve been checking your blog for a while now, seems like everyday I learn something new 🙂 Thanks

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