Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where did you get all of that talent?

Because I love to do crafty things and because I do lots of different types of "crafty things" many people ask me where I got "all of that talent". I'm not sure that I do anything any better than the Average Joe, but the things that I love to do, I like to do well! And at this time of my life, I have time to devote to the things that I like to do.
I am sure that my talents are a gift from God. He also gave me Grandmas that were willing to teach!
Both of my Grandmas were farm wives and worked long, hard hours every day! The time that they had to sit was time that they took to do sewing, knitting, crochet, tatting, etc.

My Grandma McPhee was a top-notch seamstress who did sewing for "ladies in the city" until she was busy with family of her own. When I first started sewing as a young girl, she gently looked over every one of my sewing projects to show me things that were not quite right and ways that I might have done things differently. I learned a lot about sewing from her. I hope that she looks down on me from heaven and is pleased! She also knitted the most beautuful things. I loved to watch her and because I am left-handed, we found that if I sat across a narrow table from her that I could see what she was doing and copy it! Grandma also tatted lace for the edges of all of her fine linens, but I never learned to do that particular type of hand work.
My Grandma Erskine could make ANYTHING with a crochet hook and a ball of yarn or thread. I was fat as a young girl and I would rather read a book or sit with Grandma as she crocheted than go outside and "play". I remember sitting with her in her big green chair by the picture window as she crocheted edges on linens or skirts and shawls for my Barbie doll. She would let me put my hand over hers when she crocheted so that I could feel how her hand moved the hook and yarn. She also had a treadle sewing machine that she allowed me to sew on. I guess she figured that I couldn't get it going fast enough to really hurt myself. I wonder what ever happened to that treadle machine?

A lot of what my Grandmas made were things that we see today as crafty. These things were certainly not crafts to them. My mom tells me about the quilts that they would make, not for beauty or for show, but for winter warmth! The quilts were brought downstairs each spring, the ties cut so that the tops could be washed and then when dry, each of the quilts had to be put back on the frame and re-tied to get them ready for the next years use.

My Grandma McPhee knitted mittens for each of her 18 grandchildren every year! She also knitted the neatest hats and sweaters. While I am struggling through knitting a mitten, I keep thinking that I could buy the kids mittens - probably for about $2 a pair. Why am I doing this? I guess because MY Grandma knitted mittens, I think I should be able to. Thus far I have only been marginally successful at the mitten thing. I also have several books on knitting socks. Yep - socks. I have yet to turn out an actual sock, but I sure would like to learn. My grandmas both made that handful of knitting needles look easy. Trust me - holding 4 needles in the right position at the same time is NOT easy.

My dad told me that when he was young, his Grandma Maria Erskine knitted new thumbs for his mittens on a regular basis. Working on the farm in the winter wore out the thumbs, so Grandma knitted new ones!

My hobbies are supposed to be fun. When I find that I'm not having fun doing something, I'm done with it! I do tend to go "all out" over any new craft that I discover. And, over the years, this has been kind of a costly way of doing things.
For example, I invested a LOT of money in knitting machines and the special kind of yarn that they use. I worked at it until I got pretty good at it, but found that I didn't really LIKE machine knitting. So, I sold all of the knitting machines and still have a huge bin of top quality machine knitting cone yarn in the basement. I did keep the large gauge Bond knitting machine. It's fun for basic knitting and someday, I hope the kids will want to learn how it works.
So, I love sewing, (and sewing machines), quilting, knitting and crochet and I believe that I have my Grandmas to thank for that.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your writing today. Will read it to Uncle H tonight. I never knew Grandma E knitted and crocheted. (SP?) Hope you are feeling better and keeping busy. Thinking of you. ME