A Crafty Life

28 Oct 2011

Have you always made things, with your hands?

I have and I don't just mean the funny little pieces of fabric that I cobbled together to make doll clothes or the very holey pieces of knitting that I them managed to stitch into a dolly jumper when I was a tot. 
That was where it started but as I entered my teen years I was unstoppable. 
We had sewing classes at school and I loved learning everything they had to teach me but I also taught myself how to crochet and to do tatting and macrame.

When I was around 14 I took some of my macrame owl wallhangings into a craft store and sold them to the shop.
 The wallhangings were small and done in very fine soft cotton string so they were quite nice. 
I learned how to draft a circle skirt one summer and made myself and my mum and sister lots of pretty summer skirts. 
I got hold of an old grey blanket and cut out a freeform coat that I then stitched together by hand using blanket stitch and blue wool and crocheted woollen ties instead of using buttons.
 I made a vest using the same loop stitch that I now use for my dolls hair.
 I made a vast piece of work using broomstick crochet just for the joy of making it.
 I knitted lots and lots of diamonds in a rainbow of colours and then crocheted them all together to make a poncho.
 I knitted slippers.
 I made little leather purses that were hand stitched  and embossed.

 I made a blue hessian shoulder bag and laboriously pulled threads and replaced them with various coloured threads to make a striped bag.
 I made a huge floor cushion out of  gingham, that I decorated with a big applique heart and then collected everyone's old socks and tights and undies to chop up to make the filling for it.
 I collected the scraps of fabric that mum had kept from all our home sewn dresses, cut out 2" squares and made a large patchwork cushion. 
By the time I was 16 I was sewing and knitting all  my own clothes, some from patterns and some made up including a particularly pretty cherry red cheesecloth dress which I loved.
 I made felt toys and knitted toys. I made the soft furnishings for my bedroom when my sister and I redid  the bedroom in our late teens.
I knitted a big thick sleeveless jumper and made up all the textured stitches for the front, that was fun.
Made my own bikini, embroidered pretty flowers on bright coloured fabric to make placemats.
 So much exuberance and limitless confidence in my teen years for making whatever I dreamed up.
 There was a lot of joyful crafting in the 70s.

And I have to say I have never lost that joy in creating. 
It has always been my bliss. 
At this stage in my life I create mostly through my dolls, in my 30s it was making children's clothes and knitting, knitting, knitting, in my 20s it was trying out lots of different fabrics especially expensive woollens and silks that I hadn't been able to buy when I lived in Tasmania and trying to make my wardrobe of clothes into a story of me plus I tried designing my own picture knit jumpers and fairisle jumpers

What about you, have you always created things, maybe not with needles threads and yarn but maybe you were in love with cooking as a teenager, or writing stories or poems , or painting, or drawing cartoon figures?

 Do you still do those creative things that made you happy now that you are a grown up?

all pictures for this post are from my small collection of 70s craft books which I have been collecting over the past couple of years.

10 Responses to “A Crafty Life”

  1. You seem to be telling my story. I have ALWAYS crafted! My desire to learn and create was insatiable! I am sure I drove my poor mother to distraction!

    I find myself knitting or crocheting in the evenings and "listening" to the programs that my family watch. And I laugh, because my Great Grandmother always "listened" to the TV and I thought she was old-fashioned and silly...

  2. I've always created too- can't grow up in my family without lots of creating opportunities. My Grammie has her own kiln and I learned ceramics. We made paper crafts galore and usually with junk mail or old wrapping paper. We always and still do make our own cards- even our own rubber stamps. I was taught cross stitch and embroidery. I learned to sew, but never had my own machine or easy access, so that bug never really hit me until my late 20's. We never had much money, but used things around the house, and I still love the challenge of it! The latest craze has been watercolors...joy and contentment every time!

  3. Hello Jen, yes I am like you - I have been crafting things, ever since I was about 4 and made dolls clothes with Mum in front of the fire,when the other kids were at school. I still love it and still get a lot of pleasure from givng a loved person one of my creations.
    It's a great and gentle past time and one which I hope continues as long as i can thread a needle :)

  4. You are an inspiration Jenny. I have also enjoyed crafting since I was very young:)
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  5. Hi Jenny, I have always knitted, since I was 6 or 7 anyway. I knitted for the dolls first, then I'd do the backs of garments while Mum and Auntie did the sleeves and fronts (shaping). I went on to hats and all the fun stuff of the 70s. Then it was knitting for the nieces and nephews, now it's all sorts of projects.

    I wrote a lot as a teenager but am much happier now with the reading -- anything!

  6. It made me so happy to read your post and re-live my own crafty memories. Like you, I think I was born crafty. My Mum wasn't crafty so I taught myself from books and scrimped and scrounged bits and pieces from all over the place. I remember knitting and crocheting through my Dad's football games and people asking my Mum if she didn't think I was kind of an odd child LOL. I also remember making little baskets out of pine needles held together with teeny, tiny stitches. There was something kind of liberating about making up patterns as you went along and using what you had - sometimes I wish I could still harness that wild creativity to create instead of playing it so safe with bought patterns and instructions like I do as an adult!

  7. Yes, I was a sewer and grew up with a Mother who sewed and knit. I hope my girls continue to do so as well.

  8. I only started in my mid 4os when my DH, a farmer, said, "Can't I grow you a row of flowers." Then he grew two acres of dry flowers and I began to fashion dry flower wreaths. From there I made quilts, lots and lots of quilts. Then my love of dolls propelled me into making dolls about 5 years ago. My first couple of years they were terribly made but I was learning. Then I discovered Waldorf dolls. I was in love. I made 150 doll my first year and what a learning year that was. Now I have slowed down and make 2 to 4 a month and really enjoy doing it.

  9. By the time I was in fourth grade, I was known as someone who could draw well; I love art, and it continues to be a passion in my life. By sixth grade I was hand sewing, and eighth grade, I could not resist the hum of the sewing machine, and made many, but not all, of my own clothes as well as a variety of other items. I added knitting, and my needles never stopped for many years! I dabbled in embroidery and a number of other crafts.

    One day I got the "music bug," and have been working hard in this area ever since. I came to the realization that I could not do all things well. I had to choose. It was difficult to let go, but in the end, my passions are music, art, and sewing. Music and art are both in first. I still dabble in knitting and embroidery, but the other crafts had to be set aside. Sigh.

  10. I have always liked to create but for some reason, I've held back. I like your historic boldness! It's inspiring!
    Today: knitting.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.