Thursday, April 03, 2008


Everything at my Etsy shop ships for free from now through April 15th. I figure we all need a tax day break.

I can't remember what made me think about it, but I was thinking about how I've done arts and crafts all my life. My grandmother crocheted--she taught me when I was just a kid--and my mother was always making things, although she never did needlework. She lost a large portion of her eyesight when she was pregnant with me, so she probably couldn't see well enough to knit or do needlework, but she did a lot of crafty things.

I remember her making tissue paper flowers for our birthday parties, and buying little chenille bees at TG&Y to attach to them. I remember making angels out of the Reader's Digest -- folding every page at an angle so they would fan out, spray painting them gold, gluing a wooden bead to the top for a head., and adding a pipecleaner halo.

I learned to knit in Girl Scouts on big pink needles that I still have; I made the usual clay ashtrays in art class at school. When I was in high school in the early 70's, at the height of the "hippie" era, I bought Aunt Lydia's rug yarn and crocheted big Irish crochet flowers and made purses out of them from patterns from Woman's Day and Family Circle.

At the other end of the spectrum, I made intricate doilies from crochet thread, using steel crochet hooks. I also crocheted wonderfully complex dresses for Barbie dolls -- this was long after I actually played with dolls, but I loved the process of crocheting something so beautiful and tiny. My grandmother had crocheted a lot of beautiful things for my dolls, but I had apparently sold them at some garage sale or other.

My mother said she couldn't believe she would ever have let me do that -- sell the doll clothes -- but I must have, because I sure couldn't find them when I wanted them later. It's always sad the things that we sell or give away, and only realize their value years later.

My grandmother also taught me to tat, but I never really got good enough at it to do it on my own, and I don't remember anything of it now, although I could probably pick it up again if I wanted to. I did counted cross stitch samplers and hooked rugs and did needlepoint and bargello . . . pretty much anything that could be done with a needle, I did. I remember ironing transfer patterns onto plain white cotton and stitching decorations on tea towels and pillow cases.

When I think about all that now, it's hard to imagine having all that time, but I used to read a lot, too. Now, there's that thing called the internet . . .

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