Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grandmother Help Needed!

Last Monday would have been my Grandma Carrie’s 123rd birthday.  I suppose that put me in a reflective mood and gave me a nudge toward something I had been thinking about.  I learned to sew mostly from watching my mother, from a Singer sewing class when I was in upper elementary, and from Home Economics classes in high school back in the days of the lined, tailored wool suit with the hair canvas and padding stitches and bound buttonholes.  However, my interest in some of the needlework arts came from hours spent with my grandmother when I was very, very small.  By the time I was in upper elementary, she had a stroke which affected her ability to sew and do handwork beyond rudimentary mending and button sewing, but when I was little, I sat at her knee while she embroidered and crocheted.  My mother was perfectly capable of these tasks, but much too busy with a home, a child, and helping in my father’s business.

From Grandma, I learned how to cross stitch, embroider French knots, and outline stitch.  I learned some of the basics of crochet—chaining, single crochet, and making a circle.  (She insisted that I use only yarn and bone hooks because the extremely fine hooks she used for lace were considered too dangerous.  She was convinced I would stick one in my finger and then it would have to be pushed all the way through like a fish hook to cut the end off and get it out.)

Eventually, I learned a little more crochet as a teenager from watching my mother crochet afghans after she retired.  I still have not attempted crocheted lace, but my next knitting project will use one of those fine needles handed down from my grandmother to place beads in my first beaded lace project.

It seems I have rambled.  I want to begin working with my own granddaughters in teaching them some of the joys of needlework.  I have some ideas in mind, somewhat different ones since my interests and skills are a little different from my predecessors.  My situation is a little more inconvenient because I don’t live in the same town.

I am thinking of beginning with making lucet cords.  The girls are 4, 4, and 8.  I think that will give them a fast feeling of success.  My original intention was to then string pony beads on these to make bracelets, but I would welcome any other suggestions of projects that don’t take too long.  I know shoelaces would be a possibility, but I think that would take too much time at first.

I then plan to move on to potholder looms and loops.  I am reasonably sure that they will not have the finger strength to pull and finish the edges, but they should be able to manage the weaving, I think.  Even if they have lots of assistance with the weaving, they should learn a great deal about color choice.

One of the children has a fine motor issue, so I also plan at some point to introduce a prewarped Cricket loom which can be managed with a larger hand motion.

Finally, I plan to move on to knitting.  I have a couple of easy projects lined up that I think they will like. 

However, as I said, I’m going to be doing this on sort of an “in and out” basis, so any suggestions you might have will be welcome.  I won’t have the long afternoons of one-on-one that I had with my own grandmother, but I’m not in a rush either. 

WIP update:  Knitting acreage continues!

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