Materials & Family History

One of the things I love most about crafting is how it intertwines with family history. When I was little, whenever my Grandma came to visit she always had a project for me to work on. We started with plastic canvas, and I can remember my first project with a bunch of balloons and a blue background. She taught me to "bury it" - catch the end of the thread under my stitches - and somehow that became a joke between the two of us. Even now, when she calls me each Saturday and asks:
"What are you doing little darlin?"
"Sewing, of course, Grandma."
"Remember to bury it, darlin."

We then moved on to knitting projects, and we also make a hook rug of a big, fluffy white dog. Even at 85, my Grandma is still crafting - she busts out colorful knitted dish cloths and hands them out to everyone she knows. My Grandma is pretty much the coolest.

Along with how-to's, I've also been handed down crafting materials. My favorite is my Grandma's button box, filled with colorful buttons from Grandpa's old coats, my Mother's dresses as a child, and a full range of family history. A few Christmases ago, when my Grandma handed me the box, we rifled through it together. As she picked up this one and that one, tiny glimpses into our family's story unfolded.

A couple of weeks ago, Aunt Elayne gave me a box of silver for Adj to make jewelry out of. It was a mix-matched box, mostly from her mother-in-law, but also some pieces from our side of the family - my Great-Great-Aunt-Agnes (you can see the "AP" above), and some engraved with "Metropolitan Life" where my Great-Grandmother worked.

Ian comes from a line of crafters as well - his Grandmother and Great-Grandmother created some of the most beautiful, hand-sewn quilts I have ever seen. As I become closer with his family, it's gotten out that I'm an avid sewer. When we visited his Grandma and Grandpa for lunch a few weeks ago, Grandma (now 91) sent me home with a huge box of fabric, ric-rac and bias tape. Some of the packaging on these notions look ancient! It's incredible to have this enormous supply of literally every color of ric-rac and bias tape right at my fingertips, and even more incredible to feel I've been trusted with a collection of treasures from his family, too.

Carole Ann

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