When we were little, my grandmother made us beautiful smocked dresses. Without a pattern. And they always fit. Granted the hems were waaaaaay too long, but she came from the “old country” and clothes were meant to last and last and last. My poor sister often wore the same style dress for years as she got mine and my cousin’s hand-me-downs.
My grandmother could also knit and crochet. We all have several “wave” afgans in various colours kicking around our respective houses and while they aren’t always pretty, they are always warm. If the DH and I go through on our cottage purchase, you can bet a few of those afgans will be making the trip up there to keep us toasty during the winter months.
My aunt is a trained seamstress and also makes beautiful clothes. She knits, crochets and quilts. I have been the lucky recipient of a black cat lap quilt for a milestone birthday and a Steps to the Altar quilt as a wedding shower gift. (Note: this isn’t my quilt which is blue, but another beautiful example of someone else’s talent.)
My mom also sews. She made me and my sister countless outfits while we were growing up and even after we were grown up. She’s made toys, doll clothes, curtains and all manner of Hallowe’en costumes and formal dresses too. I taught her to knit a few years back, but I don’t think it really “stuck” with her.
I sew and knit too amongst other “crafty” hobbies like needlepoint, cross stitch and scrapbooking. Knitting is my passion though and it takes up most of my free time and my stash takes up most of my available square footage in the Money Pit. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert knitter (or seamstress) but I get by. My output isn’t all that great either and would probably increase considerably if I stuck with one project until it was done, but I suffer greatly from start-itis and have several knitting, sewing and other crafty projects of varying degrees of difficulty and in varying degrees of completion scattered around my house.
My aunt (the seamstress) says we have “golden fingers” but my grandmother says we can’t sit still. I’m inclined to believe it’s a little of both. I certainly can sit and do nothing while I watch tv or a movie, but I feel I’ve been more productive if I’ve worked on a blanket or a sweater or something while I’ve watched that trashy tv show or [not-so-great] movie. I knit in movie theatres and while knitting has certainly increased it’s profile over the last few years, I still get a lot of odd looks and stage whisper comments that yes, I am knitting in public.
This morning I came across this article in the Globe and Mail and it really hit home, especially the last few paragraphs. I don’t recall hiding my homemade clothes from my friends (I never really fit in at my swish private school anyway and it’s doubtful the right clothes would have helped). But I do remember being very proud of wearing things my mom made. Especially formal dresses. I never had to worry about anyone else wearing the same outfit as me since mine were all custom.
I don’t sew that much anymore but a trip on Saturday to the Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph led me to rethink that. I bought a few metres of fabric that caught my eye and am now thinking maybe I would like to learn how to quilt. There is also a room at the back of the store that is stocked with some delicious yarn and I managed to score a sale price ball of Kidsilk Haze in colour 642 Ghost (very appropriate for the season!) and a few other things that I didn’t really need but really wanted.
I don’t ever forsee knitting taking a backseat to the other crafts that I do but maybe, just maybe it will be moving into the passenger seat for the next while so I can give my golden fingers a break and use up some of that fabric stash I have accumulated. While DH isn’t super-thrilled at the thought of another “crack” hobby I will take up, he can’t help but be pleased with that news that the piles of fabric in my “office” will get smaller, one quilt at a time.