It occurs to me that I may have misled you in a previous post. I know this because a lot of you complimented me on my craftiness. The fact is, I’m really not very crafty. It’s all smoke and mirrors my friends. Just an illusion.
I try. I really do try but I’m not all that successful.
When I was a child my Mom knitted. She used to knit all kinds of wonderful things. The things that stick in my mind are sweater jackets. Do you remember them? They would have kittens, puppies, teddy bears or ice skaters on them. They had a big thick zipper to seal us inside their warmth.
I can remember lots of knitting needles of various sizes, a plethora of patterns and wool. Lots and lots of wool. In those days it was bought in skeins and the first task was to find the end and have one of her daughters hold her hands apart so she could place the big loop of wool carefully over them as she wound the wool into a ball. I suspect I pestered her to let me try, because I ended up with a wooden thread spool with four nails hammered in one end and she showed me how to do “Corking”. Every little scrap of wool left over was handed to me to make a multi- coloured masterpiece.
True to form, I was determined to make a rug…not just a potholder. Twenty plus years later I had so much of this “corking” we had to roll it into a giant ball. It had become an entity unto itself and I finally left it in the custody of my brother-in-law who had room for it.
After my Mom passed away I decided I was going to learn how to knit, “just like her”. So I went for my Knitting Badge at Brownies. Do they still have Brownies?
I learned to knit. I followed the pattern.Knit one, pearl two, etc. I got my Knitting Badge and that year everyone got “Pixie Slippers” for Christmas. Many years later when I was ill I started knitting again. I invested in some wonderful, inexpensive but colourful wool. The plan was to keep it simple and just make scarves for everyone for Christmas. It was calming and kept me busy. My youngest sister stopped by one day to check on me. She was speechless. My lap was full of knitting and there was a pile on the floor. It seemed endless! She very tactfully asked me what I was working on. I told her. She suggested that perhaps this one was long enough. I started to cry and explained, “I know! But I don’t know how to stop. I never learned how to cast off. The only pattern I ever followed had you just thread through the loops and gather them into a toe.” Unfortunately, she didn’t knit. I was stuck.
My Grandmother passed away two years after my Mom. She didn’t like me much so I was surprised that she had left me her sewing machine. It was very old. I’m told it was one of the first electric models. No one in our family sewed but I was determined to figure it out. Through high school I made clothes for myself, always altering the pattern just enough to make it really weird. I did, however, make my high school boyfriend some wonderful corduroy shirts. Really, they were nice! It was the one pattern that worked for me so he ended up with several in many colours. In college, I decided to dress up my apartment with the cheapest fabric I could find. Burlap. You couldn’t sit on the couch without breaking out in a rash.
When my sisters started having daughters, I decided I would make each girl child a special gift that could be kept forever. I found a pattern for dolls that were actually bigger than a one-year-old and that I could personalize. I worked really hard on them. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into these dolls. I gave them little fingers and toes, a belly button and even a butt. Each one had a different colour hair and a complete outfit. They were beautiful and I was very proud of them. Oddly these dolls are not the dolls my nieces remember. They remember the mermaid dolls that I gave them the following year. They still have the mermaid dolls. I did not make the mermaid dolls. I had sworn off sewing after finishing the first set of dolls. I never wanted to see a sewing machine again. But…my then spouse gave me a brand new, fancy shmancy Singer sewing machine for Christmas. Needless to say, I got rid of him before the mermaids appeared.
I still try to be “crafty”. I’m still not very good at it. Often there are just a lot of laughs at my expense. Occasionally though, there is a happy accident and something I make turns out.