Crochet A Rainbow

I started to crochet again when crochet came into fashion around the 1970s, and my first major garment was a dress. I wore it to a friend’s 21st birthday party and was incredibly proud of it, at least to begin with. It was created in lemon wool and with open medallion motives, the problem I never foresaw, nor did the pattern mention it, was as time went on, the weight of the wool dragged the dress down so what started at knee-length, ended up just a few inches above my ankles. I was much slimmer then, so I hoped it looked intentional. Not quite as bad as the hand-knitted swimming trunks a fellow traveller on holiday wore, much to everyone else’s amusement and his embarrassment.

My motherwaistcoat‘s hobby was dressmaking and she taught me, although the school did have a hand in it as well but the lap bag, cookery apron, drindl skirt and a shapeless top were the school basics and left a lot to be desired.

My mother often bought some bargain fabric remnants for me to make something with. I used bought patterns but redesigned them. I was never short of something to wear and as a hobby, it was practical and suited my purse.

A crochet waistcoat was combined with an off-white all-in-one catsuit. I have long since lost the black cord for the waistcoat and have used gold braid to show how it was. The catsuit, like most of my clothes has found it’s way into a charity shop.

Granny

Someone’s description of a granny was “an old lady who sits by the fire and stops your mother from smacking you”.

I had a granny (maternal) and a grandma (paternal) so it was easy to differentiate between them. Grandma, sadly had suffered several strokes and was bedridden so I didn’t really get to spend much time with her as a grandma.

agnes-brown-daughter-agnes-nannie-wallace

My granny would never have been seen with make-up, nor would she drink alcohol or smoke. She wore front buttoned dresses covered by a cross-over apron. She always pinned a lace handkerchief behind the ‘V’ neck of the dress for modesty. Her stockings were thick, often lacy patterned and she wore gillie shoes. She probably would be a modern miss today with the fashion coming round yet again. Playing cards belonged to the Devil and wearing trousers was strictly men’s apparel but she was a warm, comfortable granny to cuddle into, she set the world to rights if you were upset and mended wounded knees. She had principles and standards to live by and she was the best.

No other person was quite the same for me, my granny wdoily-cas a wonderful person, typical of her day. She was the granny who sat by the fire and knitted, actually she crocheted. Wherever she went, out came her crochet. She crocheted dressing table mats, fashionable at the time, one large and two smaller mats, usually with pansies or roses and sold them locally. She taught me to crochet, that was not part of the school curriculum, it was knitting and sewing, however all of these crafts have come in very useful over the years.

Her sister-in-law, made handbags and purses. I have no idea what material she used, it was thick and strong like imitation leather with a snakeskin pattern. It was what people did in the small mining village where they lived, they used their skills to create sellable crafts to stretch out the miner’s meagre wages.

It’s quite sad now that pupils are not encouraged so much in homemaking skills, in a modern day and age, not so many people have time to spend on such craftwork, besides why waste time and money on a handcrafted garment when you can probably buy a manufactured one much cheaper. That’s it though, it’s manufactured and sold in the shops by the hundreds. Make it yourself, it’s unique, even if you bought a printed pattern, you still customised it to your own design.

I appreciate hand made goods, I admire skills in others which I don’t have, I appreciate the past and the lessons we can learn from it but I also appreciate living with the comforts of a modern era. I don’t want to be stuck in the past, just be glad there were so many good things about it, good enough to want to keep.

My Teddy Bear

My Teddy Bear

If you are ready, I’ll tell of my Teddy
Which was old and was missing one eye.
His coat was threadbare, he was short of some hair.
But he still was a lovely old guy.

His growler was strong, deep throated and long
All it took was a tilt to and fro
Then you could hear, his growl loud and clear
That’s when with pride, I would glow.

I remember his paws, which were soft, without claws
And his body with wood shavings was stuffed
No matter his filling, I always was willing
To hug him and show he was loved.

His face was cute I suppose, with a little black nose
And he had this incredible smile
I’m sure this little chappy, was really quite happy
To stick with me, mile after mile.

But this story is sad, in fact really quite bad
As he’s lost and nowhere to be seen.
But alas and alack, if he ever comes back

Will he tell me of where he has been?

I feared it too late, and he met his fate
when he was accidentally misplaced
but the charity shop, would care not a jot
and think him a bear quite disgraced

 As it happened one day, down granny’s way
When I left poor Teddy behind
she stitched and she patched, though nothing quite matched
he became in fact, re-designed.

 A button replaced, the missing eye on his face
his body, a mix of her crafts, very neat
his face was now knitted, and crochet now kitted
his little paws (both his hands and his feet)

To add to his charms, he had black woollen arms
From the rag bag, he had the best
purple velvet on bum, and covered his tum
matched the purple crochet on chest

 He was a model quite fitting, to my granny’s knitting
Each stitch she created with love
So you see my dismay, when he went away
He’s special, unique, a ‘one-off’

 He’d been born long ago, what date, I don’t know
but around 1890 I believe
No label had he, he was worth more to me
that’s why for dear Teddy I grieve.

 ©Agnes M Wilson

 

 

Welcome to ‘Granny’s Attic’

I remember my forays into my paternal grandparent’s attic. The loft ladder had to be brought down to access it and it was packed full of curious items. I didn’t mind the dust and cobwebs because there was always something new to discover.

I have a strong memory of the smells of their house. Camphor in particular as most of the wardrobes had mothballs popped in the pockets of some of the garments. The attic had a pleasant smell in spite of the dust and cobwebs, just the smell of old wood. There were no objections to me being around as long as I was well behaved and treated everything with respect.

I have kept and stored many things because some day they may become useful. I recycle and upcycle as much as I can because unfortunately the current ‘throwaway’ habit is polluting the planet and the earth is scarred with rotting waste in landfill sites. I also like to know some things are there if I want to use them. I learned a lot from my parents and grandparents, they were the best teachers in the world, and I appreciate what values they have instilled in me.

Attics, cupboards and even sheds are full of treasures you may not have a use for but you don’t want to throw out. They don’t have to be antique or of high monetary value but they are our treasures. I have thrown out many things because I felt the time had come to let go or either that my mind was made up for me if they started falling apart.