A baby of the Sixties and growing up in the Seventies (with no television) meant, as children, we made our own entertainment. We were either outside making dens from dawn ’til dusk or inside playing board games or……making things.
Grannies the country over were teaching their young grandchildren their make-do-and-mend skills – borne out of necessity, but usually incredibly beautiful to boot. Fascinated, we watched with admiration and awe the speed at which these ‘old’ women worked those needles to create something useful in order to extend the life out of something seemingly knackered. (In reality, my Gran was only forty-odd – but they didn’t age as well back then, did they?!)
Wisely, knowing that in order to succeed the idea has to come from the child and not suggested by the adult, my Gran waited until we inevitably begged to be taught how to do ‘it’ too. Gradually we learnt how to knit, sew and crochet with the most patient of teachers to guide us.
I can’t really express how grateful I feel to be given such a gift by my late Grandmother; the pleasure I get from these skills she taught me is immeasurable. I even made a living from sewing in my twenties, but now I just pick up the needles (or hook) for relaxation and the sheer joy of it.
So, when my eight year old son came running in from a tennis tournament, threw his stuff down and said “Now will you teach me how to crochet please?”, I knew the time was right!
This is the very first time Bertie picked up a crochet hook, still hot and sweaty from tennis…
And it doesn’t stop there!
My son’s girlfriend, Frankie, is twenty-three and she wanted to learn…..
…..and my sixteen year old niece, Alice, was next in the queue;
Bertie also drew up plans for a doll that he wanted to make;
Here he is, sewing all the bits by hand;
I am sooo thrilled that I have been able to pass these skills on – I only hope that the popularity of crafting continues so that they will in turn hand down the skills to the next generation. Just ten years ago, pre-recession, I was convinced the arts of sewing, knitting and crochet were to be lost forever and it’s fabulous to see more and more people wanting to learn.
At the end of a long crafting day, the kids were desperate to sleep outside. The boys slept in a tent and Alice stayed over especially so she could sleep on the day bed – I did tell you that it was comfy, right? Here they all are, reading books just after sun down and just before the fairy lights start twinkling automatically at dusk….perfect!
Have you passed on your traditional crafting skills to anyone, or created a lovely outside crafting space?
July 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm
We being of the same era, I am also very grateful for my grandma’s patience in teaching me many things. I think its great you are helping to pass it to then next generations! 🙂
July 23, 2014 at 10:58 pm
Thanks Caren, one of the teachers asked me to come in next term and teach an entire class of ten year olds to crochet – now that will test MY patience!!
July 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm
Good luck with that! I have had a similar experience of demonstrating in a primary school to two different year groups in one day, how to do a landscape picture for the older ones and a still life for the younger group. I’m very sure you will become everybody’s best friend for the day as they vie for your attention ;-/ But it will be lots of fun too! 🙂
July 23, 2014 at 8:55 pm
Isn’t it wonderful when your offspring realise you can teach them something that can be treasured for years to come…… made by hand….. loved by heart 🙂
July 23, 2014 at 10:55 pm
It is lovely when they want to copy mummy because they’ve been so inspired by you. Mind you, I have a twenty-three year old daughter who isn’t the slightest bit interested in picking up a needle! But then her portraits in oil are incredible, so her talents lie with a paintbrush and I couldn’t do what she can do.