I know this is suppose to be about me, but when it comes to my crafting I have to talk about someone dear to me. My grandmother, Mary “Nanny” Kenner was a great crafter. Sewing was her first love and talent, I wish I had spent more time with her sewing and cooking. She was a 4-H leader and loved to teach young girls to cook and sew. (4-H is a youth organization that covered mostly rural pursuits such as home care and farming, though they have probably moved on a bit now.) If she wasn't cooking or on a tractor, she was crafting while watching her beloved High School and College sports. Whenever a new woman's magazine came out, especially Better Homes and Gardens, she was making what ever craft they showed. Yes, she made the ubiquitous toilet roll and air freshener covers but she also crocheted afghans and toward the end of her life started quilting. She was one of the generation of what I call "lost crafters". They didn't have to craft to clothe their families or provide for the home anymore, but they still wanted to be doing something. She never read a book and was very proud of it, even though later in life it would have helped her while away the time when she wasn't well. She could read, just didn't believe that fiction was good use of time. Her father came from Dutch decent and my grandfather comes from German decent, so there is a lot Protestant work ethic going on there... "Idle hands do the devils work" as the saying goes....
For the first 13 years of my life we only lived a few miles down the road from my grandparents and I got to spend a lot of time going through Nanny's collection of magazines and pulling out her crochet hooks and yarn. I don't ever remember not crafting. My mom can craft and is a very talented artist, but she is more selective and only does it when she has a project. I just love to do it, like Nanny. Her stash was never as big as mine, but she did have a stash of yarn and fabric that I could rummage through. When I was probably 5 or so she taught me to crochet Granny squares, and today that is how I start teaching people to crochet. It is such a fast and easy way to learn the stitches and still be making something! Over the years I've made many afghans, doilies and took up cross stitch. I then started dabbling in almost every craft you can think of, mosaic...beading...embroidery....needle lace....I've always said that I'm a collector of techniques.
The only craft I never saw Nanny do was knit. She tried but her tension was always very tight. I had the same problem, and for years I would try and fail to make anything that didn't cause my hands to cramp. But, when I turned 30 I decided I was old enough and should have the patience to work on my tension. One weekend close to my birthday I had the house to myself and I took a book from the library, yarn and a set of knitting needles and started. I spent the whole weekend knitting until I felt that I had it...then off I went gloves, socks, blankets.....you name it. So, here I am today, still collecting techniques, my stash growing so big I've had to move to the middle size bedroom in our house and I'm surrounding myself with friends that encourage (or enable) my crafting. I feel more and more like Nanny who also had lots of friends around her to craft with. Thank you Nanny for the crafting genes....I would be lost without them.
And as with the color of eyes or shape of the body the genes of crafting pass on....the picture is of me and my niece Paige. She has the crafting gene and whenever I go over to the States to visit we have a crafting afternoon. She is very talented with lots of ideas. She is finger knitting in this shot which she took up with gusto. It is so wonderful to be able to pass down what Nanny taught me.
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