As you know I’ve been checking out a lot of blogs lately. It’s been intense but I’ve discovered loads of good reads. It’s strange though because I’ve also emerged at the end of it in a bit of a writing slump. Whether it was because I used up so much brain power commenting or not (it wouldn’t have taken much believe me), I’ve found writing this week to be a huge challenge.
So much of a challenge in fact that I’ve missed every post day so far. The thought of writing has been anathema to me.
I’m trying to hide from the ravenous blog monster but I can feel it breathing down my neck.
My go to writing topics just aren’t inspiring me but in my procrastination I’ve finally thought of something that shifts my slumpy feelings into something much more positive. Thusly will the beast be satiated.
When I was a kid I learned how to crochet. That is, I crocheted one hideous looking misshapen, odd coloured blanket when I was 12. While other girls were crocheting little santa clauses and reindeers to fit over cardboard tubes into which they’d pop homemade fudge and coconut ice, I focussed my creative powers on making squares. I eventually made a blanket that was too big for a doll and too small for a human.
Years would go past before I would lift a crochet hook again.
It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that I would try out crocheting again. The prompt for my newfound woolly desires was a chat I had with a gorgeous mama at a coffee group I was attending with baby. She had the most beautiful white blanket with sprays of crocheted white flowers at every corner. She had made it for her baby girl.
That got me thinking about the things mothers craft for their babies. My great-grandmother embroidered, tatted and crocheted on her linen. My grandmother still has her mother’s beautiful pillowcases, sheets, towels, facecloths and tablecloths with lacy edging and sprigs of colourful flowers.
My grandmother is a knitter and there are photos of my brother and I looking our sartorial best in matching knitted twinsets. My dolls were also always warmly and stylishly dressed. My mother sewed many of our clothes and I have secreted away the sewing magazines she pored over in the 70s.
I cannot knit and I cannot sew. But I once made a blanket that was no use to any living or inanimate thing.
I want to make something for my babies. I want them to eventually inherit these things that ancestral mothers crafted for their own babies, things that each mother since has held and touched.
When my daughter was born I began to make another blanket. My aim is a modest one, I just want to make a blanket for each of my children.
I’m very fortunate to have a mother-in-law firstly, who I love and secondly, who happens to run a knitting and crochet group where she teaches women the craft. When I got bored not very far along with my first blanket effort she sewed the pieces together and did the edging. It’s the perfect lap blanket and I counted it as a practice run.
My second blanket is much more successful. I used a simple granny square pattern and muted, plain colours I think will not go in and out of fashion too much over the years.
It’s pretty big so I fold it over before tucking it around my baby’s legs. I have to be careful not to let it trail and get caught in the wheels of the pram. But I know my baby is snuggly and toasty warm underneath it.
I’ve still got another three blankets to go but I haven’t found the right colours yet. Nor have I found the time but I will.
What about you? Are there heirloom handicrafts that are passed down through your family? Do you have similar family traditions?