December 12, 2010

How I Learned about Handmade

Rehearsal Dinner Dress
I lived in Rochester, Minnesota until I was sixteen. It was so cold in the winter that there were many days we didn't venture outdoors. During that time, my mother taught me to knit, crochet, embroider, and sew. Her mother taught her those arts, so she was able to teach me. With the teaching my mother taught me a special value for handmade. Both grandmothers also had these skills and reinforced the importance of do-it-yourself (DIY). As I accomplished those crafts, I also learned a lot of self-confidence. After all, not many of my school friends were working with hooks and needles. And, I had some finished products. (Yes, I was a member of the local 4-H group.)

College Formal Dress
What have I done with those skills? I attended Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and I made every single dressy dress I needed for four years. Pictured on the right is a flapper style dress I wore to a dance in college. After that, I made my Rehearsal Dinner Dress for my wedding weekend. I still love it, and it is pictured above in green. I created a lot of Halloween costumes and most recently hemmed  a chorus dress.

As for knitting... we made a few items slippers and bags when I was young, but nothing really stylish.  Last winter I bought this wonderful knitting book pictured to the left and made a pair of fingerless gloves. They weren't that hard. For my daughter's bat mitzvah project we knit or crocheted preemie beanies for the local hospital. Read about the project here. I designed simple knit and crochet patterns, which are included in the post. I recommend this book as a gift for someone who knows how to knit, but needs a little push or direction.
Hat knit hat with baby blue and variegated blue yarn

But my favorite find has been a simple Martha Stewart knit winter hat pattern. All three children asked for them in different colors one winter, so I knit quite a few. In the summer, my daughter carried around her bouncy ball collection in one of them, so it looks a lot like the mitten in Jan Brett's The Mitten. I just finished another hat last night, this one to match my ski coat. I did not use a bulky yarn and added a few extra stitches, but you get the idea. And, it will be in the teens here in Georgia; I will need it for my dog walk today. So I want to invite you to make this beautiful hat. It is knitted with two yarns, so that it goes quickly.

Some of these arts I took to another level beyond what my mother taught me, like sewing. I bought a serger and learned  how to finish seams another way. And, I picked up jewelry wire wrapping easily and created an etsy jewelry shop. Teach your children what you know or find someone who knows and will teach.


readingsully2 said...

Wow, you are full of surprises and full of lots of talent.

MagMoment said...

Thanks Carole. I am very lucky that my mother shared so much with me, so I could have the skills and use them later in life as I need them.