Trending on Twitter today is “International Women’s Day”. To celebrate I want to tell you about two women who influenced me when I was young. I wouldn’t be the crafter I am today if it weren’t for them.
The first is my mother, Doris Wood. She is the one who taught me to sew and inspired me to challenge myself. The first things I remember making by myself were Barbie ™ clothes. Most of my first efforts weren’t really sewn, just scraps of fabric cut, wrapped and tied masterpieces. Maybe that is where my obsession with wrap dresses comes from. The first real sewing project I remember was a simple 4-gore skirt in dark blue. It had a side zip and waist band. It was 1976 and I paired this skirt with a snazzy red & white striped T-shirt with a Liberty Bell applique. It was a 4H project and I’m pretty sure I got a blue ribbon at the county fair that summer. This was the first of about 10 years of 4H projects, each one lovingly directed and taught by my Mother. Her patience and guidance were so valuable. I gained so much self confidence through participating in 4H; sewing, knitting, showing horses and my Mom was there for all of it. She is so very talented in her own right. She made us many clothes; dresses, bathing suits and more. She also created wonderful home dec. projects and beautiful quilts. I remember her making dolls and stuffed animals for church bazaars and flower girl dresses for cousins. Everything she made was unique and original and impeccably constructed.
The second woman I’d like to acknowledge today is Nella Taylor, also from Marlette, Michigan. She was also a 4H leader. I learned how to knit from her. Once a week after school the school bus would drop about a dozen girls, ages 8-16 or so, off at her house. We’d sit around her tiny living room learning to cast on, increase, decrease, cable, yarn-over and cast off while constructing a variety of garments. Everything from simple garter stitch scarves up to knit bikinis and lace dresses. Also in 1976 I made a pair of simple garter-stitch slippers out of red, white and blue variegated yarn. By the time I was in middle school my older sister, Pam was a very accomplished knitter in her own right and we didn’t go to Nella’s anymore and Pam was able to give me any guidance I needed. Pam and I just got together for lunch earlier this week and we got to reminiscing about our afternoons at Nella’s. We both are so thankful she was a part of our young lives. It’s interesting to wonder where we’d be if she hadn’t been there to teach us this skill that has been such a big part of our lives. Would we have learned to knit from someone else? Would we have done it as such a young age or would we have come to it as adults?
What women have influenced you? Did you teach yourself to sew, knit, crochet, etc? If you did, then YOU are a woman to be celebrated today! Is there someone in your life that had they not been there do you think your life would have taken a different turn? Share in the comments.
Spring here in the midwest is such a welcome relief. I’ve lived here all my life and still this first week when everything turns green and the weather is consistently warmer that freezing gives me hope for the future. We get into this feeling about mid-March that it just will never get nice again and stay that way. We cry and curse that we never get a real spring and why the hell is it snowing AGAIN? and on and on. But every year the daffodils and magnolia bloom and before we know it we are cursing the mosquitoes and dandelions.
This is the time of year when things that have been in hibernation for months and months make a reappearance. In some cases what goes into the cave at the beginning of the winter makes a transformation into another form once the warm air of spring arrive. Take for instance the lime green cardigan knit with Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece a year ago.
It was yarn and a pattern purchased on a whim about a year ago at a Friday knitting group when the project I brought to knit either ran out of yarn or something and I needed something new to work on. I’ve always admired this yarn and the color just screams SPRING! to me. The problem was the pattern. The photo in the pattern book appealed to me, totally something I would buy for myself, I love cardigans. But it is constructed all in pieces with a lot of seaming. I hate seaming. Also the store only had 4 skeins of the Cotton Fleece in that color. I figured it would be enough and being cotton it would stretch. But once all the parts were knit I could just tell it wouldn’t fit in the loose unconstructed way it appeared in the photos. So I put it all in a bag and stuck it in a closet.
Then the other day I finished my Ripple Afghan (oh my, I just realized that I never posted the finished pictures. I’ll get to that, it is gorgeous!) and was going to cast on a new project. I had picked up a huge amount of Paton’s Classic Wool at Joann’s last month on sale with a Central Park Hoodie in mind. But then Turtlegirl posted that she was starting a Mama Escuelita sweater and I really wanted to make that. But then I realized that Rosi hasn’t made the pattern live yet so I was out of instant gratification luck. Plus it was nearing 80 degrees that particular day and knitting a wool sweater was getting less and less appealing as the temperature rose, especially one in a dark neutral color like the yarn I had on hand.
This of course led to a few hours of browsing on Ravelry (second only to Facebook for sucking any and all spare minutes of my life right out of me.) Through no logical progression I found myself admiring Ysolda’s Liesl. A light went on in my little knitter brain and I remembered the unfinished lime cardigan hibernating away up in the guest room closet. Let the downloading begin! While the pattern printed I started frogging.
I am now a few repeats past the armholes. Another day or two and I’ll probably be knitting sleeves. I debated making the sleeveless version but with this pattern I have more than enough yarn so I’m going for the 3/4 length sleeve.
I did order a new usb cord for my camera so getting photos to my blog isn’t as time consuming and annoying as it had been for a few months there. I will do my best to get some updated pics and finished project photos up here in a more timely manner.
By the way, I changed my blog template the other day but when I hit the “preview” button I still get the original template. If you read this in a regular browser window (not a feed reader) could you take a second to leave a comment and tell me what the template looks like? Thank you.
My friend Erin has a great blog: Damknit. Not only does it have one of the most creative and snarky names in craft blog-land but is also a fun read. Erin and I “met” online on a scrapbooking website eons ago. It was because of her that I rediscovered my knitting bug and started blogging and podcasting (briefly!)
She went from being a beginner knitter to spinning her own yarn in record time. She is pretty much self-taught in all her various craft forms. You should see her mad crochet skills! Recently she decided that she wanted to advance her spinning skills and applied for a scholarship to attend SOAR this fall in Oregon. She needed reference letters and I was more than happy to lend a good word or twenty to help her achieve this goal. I was not surprised in the least when she won one of the coveted spots. The thing is is that she lives in Arizona. As I mentioned, SOAR takes place in Oregon. Not exactly right next door.
You see Erin works really hard waiting tables to help support her family. She doesn’t make a lot of money so buying a round trip plane ticket is a real luxury. But in usual Erin style she looked at the problem and set a goal to solve it. She scored a load of decorator samples at a local thrift shop and set to designing an awesome needle holder for interchangeable needle sets. She has been working her fingers and sewing machine to the bone making these and listing them on her etsy shop. All proceeds from the sales will go toward purchasing her plane ticket.
I’m thinking I may just need to invest in a set of Addi Clicks just to have an excuse to buy one of these for myself. Looking at them I think they’d also work great for all those miscellaneous double point sets I have rolling around in the bottom of my knitting bag too. If you have a need for a small, compact, CUTE! needle case this would be the perfect solution. Go now. Buy one, or five!