Saturday, June 25, 2005

Needlework Throughout My Life

I was going to name this my needlework history, but the word history made me feel old. I've been feeling "old" for other reasons, for quite awhile as it is. I know those older than me will say age is just a number. But, I have my reasons for feeling this way, that I don't feeling like going into.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about my life with needlework, not feeling older that dirt or rocks. My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was four, that was thirty-five years ago. Just the sound of, I've been crocheting for thirty-five years sounds old. (Yes, I know there are those out there older than me, that started about the same age and have more years, but this is me feeling old.) (Another aside, yes, I know, I wasn't going to go on about being "old".) She and my mom had gotten those ripple afghan kits that were so popular in the early 70's, and I wanted to work on an afghan too. I remember I had this very small skein she bought me, I chained stitched about a mile long and declared it was going to be a bedspread for my mom. Of course, the single crochet rows didn't go very far.

When I was about 9, we went on a school field trip to Mendon Ponds Park. The guide showed us a bush with berries that were used to dye fabric. I forget now what they were called, but created a lovely red violet color on white yarn. I saved a bunch in my sandwich baggy. That night I single crocheted oval throw rugs for my Barbies, with white yarn, then squished the berries in spots. I was a budding fiber artist back then, too bad life got in the way later on.

I was about 8, when my mom "tried" to teach me how make granny squares. It took her the whole weekend of me throwing the hook and yarn down and dramatically crying about how I'll never learn. Of course, the "light bulb" eventually came on and I entered a new realm of crochet. So much so, that when one of the department stores had a closing sale that year, my mom's bf bought me bags and bags of cheap yarn to make an afghan for his king size waterbed. Imagine one "king" size granny square of afghan. I have double bed size granny square on the back of my couch now. The only surviving afghan my grandma made. She followed my humongous granny idea to use up her scraps. It's really too bad, I think my uncle threw out her nicer afghans, when he cleaned out her house after she died.

About the same year, I wanted to learn embroidery, so Grandma bought me a stamped sampler kit. I still have a chart left over from a bird sampler kit, I bought around that time. I had the actual stitched piece up until a couple years ago, it disappeared with a couple other pieces like magic.

I was around 10 when I spent the week with my aunt, uncle and cousins at their lake side cottage. I had wanted to learn how to knit for years, but my mom and grandma said that nobody in family knew how. We were a family of crocheters, not knitters. My cousins knew how to garter stitch squares and wanted to learn how to crochet. They were a family of knitters, not crocheters. So, we teased each other all week stitching as fast as we could, occasionally slowing down so the other could learn. Little girls. *sigh*

The night my mom picked me up, I asked her to stop at the grocery store so I could buy a pair of knitting needles. Does anyone else remember back when the grocery stores had sewing centers and small pet sections? The next day, I tried and tried to remember how they started, but couldn't. "I wish there was someone close by that knows how to knit!!!" I cried. That's when my grandma said very quietly, "Your grandpa knows how to knit." What!??!! Grandpa doesn't know how, he's a "guy." About that time, grandpa woke up from his recliner, with what's going on look. "Your grandpa knows how to knit, he used to knit socks for the army during WWI." He finally admitted to it, and showed me not only garter stitch, but purl stitch and stockinette. For months we worked on scarves together. He would knit during the day while I was at school and I would take over when I came home. I wish I still had one of those scarves.

Later that year, he taught me to make lanyard keychains with a square knot and boondogle. I wish I could remember how. That was the start of my having many interests in needlework. That same year, a teacher at school taught me needlepoint. Then my grandmother tried to teach me how to shuttle tat. She tried and tried, but I only would get frustrated and wanted nothing to do with it. It was another four years later when I came to her ready to learn. She only knew how to make rings, but I bought a book and learned how to do chains and follow patterns to make doilies. She was really proud how I surpassed in what I could do. I'm really proud that she taught me.

From there, I went on to learn how to follow patterns, sew, crewel embroidery, quilt, seed beading and many other crafts as well. Mostly self taught from there, if there is a book about it, I'll figure out how to do it. Now, I'm determined to teach myself how to spin on a spindle. When finances allow, I'll think about a wheel, and that might be the first time I actually consider taking a class.

I promise not to always be so long winded. Soon I will post pictures of the myriad of WIP's and the few FO's I have laying about.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The First Post Is Always the Hardest

I've tried this blogging before, when it first became popular. I think because there wasn't many topic specific blogs around at the time; or I should say needlework specific. Something happened while I was living life, hundreds, possibly thousands of topic (needlework, actually knitting) specific blogs came out of the woodwork. From calculations it seems most were born in the fall last year. I'm guessing they were begat from the few persevered from earlier times.

Anyhow, I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, but lacked a digital camera, or a scanner. (I wanted to share cool pictures of what I working on, as well.) Oh, I once was in possession of said items when I first got a computer, back in 1999. But, I had three teenagers in residence, and said items met with a quick and painful demise.

Several times, I thought they killed the computer as well, luckily, I knew a few computer geeks, who kept the old girl chugging along. She and I developed a bond, we would not succumb to their torture. The poor girl gave out on Labor day last year, her poor motherboard just couldn't handle the mother lode anymore.

Anyway, as of this week, I'm teenager or offspringless once again. They've been teasing me for the three years, one popping out, then two popping out, free at last. Nope, one pops back in, then out, then the next pops back and stays for two years.

So, this week, I went out and bought a cheap, er, crappy, er inexpensive digital camera. Just until I know for sure the coast is clear and I can buy the one I really want. Sorry in advance, the pictures won't be as clear and as wonderful as I would like, but atleast I can share.

So much for a short first post. lol
BTW, if anyone comments on this thing, I'll fallout in shock.