Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Handmade, with Love

I have always sewed, crocheted, and painted. But I have ventured occasionally, okay, frequently, into other crafts, in an attempt to find what would be ‘my one thing’.

Pottery, for example. I loved the feel of the clay in my hands, but I never attained any skill at the potter’s wheel. It’s a very two handed skill, and I’m very dominant with my right hand. The pots I managed to make on the wheel were heavy and…not symmetrical. But, I did create some interesting pieces that were hand built.

Then I tried macramé. I designed large wall hangings, plant holders, decorative items for holding mugs, and even made one of those ugly owls with the big eyes.

Ceramics was fun. The bisque forms were premade in a mold, and the selection was endless. All you had to do was paint or glaze the item selected, before it was fired in a kiln. I made kitchen canisters, cookie jars and Christmas trees. I made any number of things for everyone on my gift list.

Having grandchildren has meant I have a whole other generation to craft for. From the time they were babies I’ve made them blankets, quilts, sweaters, and the list goes on.

Maybe it is better that I never found that one single craft, for I’ve discovered I hate repetition. I see something in a craft book, or on line, and I want to try it, but I would not want that craft to be the only craft I ever did. It’s the creating that’s the real fun, more than the doing.

That’s why I keep a series of notebooks with craft ideas. They’re in a ‘one day’ category, for that one day I find myself with nothing to do. Really, like that ever happens.

At this moment I have two sweaters for Christmas, knit but not sewn together, a third still on the needles. I have a sewing project for the grandkids, same item, and personalized x6.

And then there’s the writing. I just finished an edit of my NaNoWriMo novel from last November, and the book I completed last September.

There is no end to it. I see something and I can’t help it, I want to make it, paint it, or write about it.

What can I say; it keeps me out of trouble.

H   Handmade Afghans

I learned to crochet working night shift at the hospital, more than twenty five years ago.

It’s a hobby that I enjoy today, as my family can attest. They have more hats, scarves and sweaters than they know what to do with.

Isn’t there some saying about idle hands?

The first afghan I made was for my father. He liked to watch sports on television and often did it with his eyes closed, stretched out on the sofa. As my dad was 6 foot 3, I had to make it extra long so it would reach his feet, and still cover his shoulders.

The afghan I have thrown over my feet right now is pale blue. It has a rainbow of stripes in bright colours, and a trio of butterflies. It was made for my granddaughter, to match the flowers and butterflies I had painted on her bedroom walls.

The family moved, her bedroom décor changed, and the afghan was put away in the cupboard for a number of years. I happened by the house after my daughter had done a purge of all the closets, and found the afghan in a bag destined for one of those used clothing bins you see about town.

I rescued it and brought it home. It doesn’t match my décor; my colours are a bit more sedate, leaning more to soft greens than sky blue.

As I pulled it up over my shoulder one winter night, settled into my chair, my feet covered and warm, I thought about how mismatched it made my room look. Why didn’t I make myself a new one, with colours more complementary?

For the same reason, I thought, that I’ve never made myself a sweater, a hat, or even a scarf. Everybody else comes first.

This afghan has sort of grown on me. On a cold day, when the sky is overcast and grey, I’m snuggled under this blanket that looks like spring, and I’m reminded that winter won’t last forever.

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