Friday, November 16, 2007
My Crafty Heritage
Isn't the sock coming out nice? Lee said it was the nicest one I have made so far, and I think if you are a fan of blue, that could very well be true! Trekking XXL is just the most fun yarn to knit with! You never know what surprises those long repeats will bring (like the dark blue heel I ended up with, of course,right where I have to SEE to pick up the wraps on the short rows). These will be hard to give away, but I have a similar colorway in the stash, so I can re-create...some day. So much yarn, so little time.
Juno Regina only got 5 rows worked last night, but I am happy with it and can see that I "get" the pattern. The Claudia Handpaints silk laceweight is a bit fussy, and it isn't as easy to see where I am on the pattern as I would like, but so far I have not messed up too badly and have been good at counting. I am enjoying the patterned section, but will also enjoy the "mindless" middle, which I will be able to do outside the confines of the quiet media room.
Those Who Came Before
This morning I was thinking a lot about my mother. She had a pretty hard life--lots of abuse when she was young, followed by lots of illness from her 30s onward (much brought on by self medicating via prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco). What brought my mother the most joy was art--she started as a water color artist, then moved to other things after her schooling didn't work out. I remember her coloring in my coloring books, using shading and lovely color selections--it was so beautiful (and whoa did I feel inadequate, but that didn't stop me from drawing all the time until high school age).
Mom did lots of needlework--those large Erica Wilson embroideries from the 60s (still hanging in my house) and some lovely crewel work (still hanging in my house). I also have a lot of things from her decoupage years. You will not find her crochet projects from the 70s and early 80s hanging around my house...wow that was a lot of plastic-y acrylic in orange, avocado and yellow. I rememer her sitting in her chair, smoking and crocheting these awful pillows, which she would then stuff with plastic newspaper wrappers. Whenever you'd try to sleep on the couch, the pillow noise would wake you if you moved at all!
But, the work gave mom joy, and she had very little joy the last ten or 15 years of her life, other than us kids, my dad and the dog. She was always in such horrible pain from cancer, emphysema, or whatever. But she had the drive to create beautiful things, and it never left.
I guess I feel that way, too. I want to be making things of beauty, no matter what happens. Probably it's why I have such a large stash: if I get poor I have quite a bit of knitting fodder to pass the time.
Mom came by her love of crafts honestly. All of her family of origin were like her (and me). My grandmother (not the nicest woman, by the way) crocheted all the time--my memory of her is that she sat in her rocking chair, talking on the phone, smoking and crocheting all at once. How did she have enough hands? How much damage did all that second-hand smoke do to me?
My grandmother's twin sister knitted more than crocheting, which helped us bond a wee bit. I remember her making lap robes, well into her 90s "for the old people."
They had a sister who died when I was little. She was mentlly ill (kleptomania) so didn't leave the house much. She made a living tatting and crocheting intricate white cotton bedspreads and tablecloths. I do have some of her things. They are truly works of art, and I am sure they brought Aunt Sue comfort (hee hee, my dad keeps making it clear I am named after his sisters, Bettye Sue and Doris Ann, NOT this poor aunt, but I don't mind).
My grandmother's brothers were all writers. Hmm, wonder how I came to be a writer who knits? LOL.
And oh yes, on my dad's side, my grandmother quilted and crocheted--very frugally, as she was from the hills of north Georgia. My grandfather was an upholsterer, as was the uncle who inherited his business when he died young. More fiber arts!
It makes me very proud to carry on this heritage and keep knitting, crocheting, embroidery, quilting and tatting (when I have a moment??) alive in the family. (Yes, I used to embroider and needlepoint a lot--loved to design my own things, and I did go through a quilting phase when the boys were young--I will get back to it when I do not have so much work and music stuff going on.)