Friday, October 10, 2008

Knotty projects


The other day a box came in the mail--my mother sent along a birthday gift for Mr. B, some photos from their visit in July and this:


In 3rd grade I entered the county fair for the first and only time in my life. My category was cross stitching--I picked out this simple butterfly pattern, Mom ironed it onto a flour sack dishtowel, and I selected the thread colors. Embroidery was all the rage in the mid-seventies. Everyone was "hooping it up" with needles and floss. Unfortunately, all that tiny stitching was tough on both eyes and patience and I didn't relish getting poked all the time by the sharp end of my needle. The back side of my cross stitching would always get tangled up--I spent insufferable hours trying to find the ends of threads and untie a big mess of knots. I finished this dishtowel and a few other designs--all small pieces. It gave me little joy to finish a project to hang on a wall or a Christmas tree. The dishtowel was the only practical cross stitch project I finished. It took an Honorable Mention at the fair.

What childhood skill did you learn and abandon? Opening up this dishtowel yesterday made me think of so many--friendship bracelets, pot holders woven with nylon loops, rug hooking, jumping Double Dutch and French braiding hair. All utterly useless knowledge now...but so important to learn when I was 10.

20 comments:

  1. I used to make pot holders, friendship bracelets and friendship safety pins (little beads on safety pins that you would then clip onto the laces of your sneakers. That trend should totally come back! I would think little girls would love doing that now.

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  2. Having a girl who is 9 - we are back into the frienship braclets and craft projects. However, I found in a box at my mother's a duffel bag holding a cross stitch of a Christmas teddy bear. I threw it away.

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  3. I loved the rug-hooking.

    My Grandmother tried to teach me to crochet and embroider. but I was to impatient. Now I crochet, knit, embroider, quilt,sew. she would have loved it.

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  4. I used to love making friendship bracelets. Remember those? All the colorful thread tied in knots? So fun. :)

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  5. I did pot holders and cross stitching, too!! This makes me want to get back into knitting... I think I can, I think I can.

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  6. I did those potholders that you made with the loops on a square loom. My Mom actually used them.

    My sister and I did those chains that you made out of gum wrappers. We would start the first day of sumer vacation and see who had the longest chain by Labor Day.

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  7. I picked up cross-stitch when I was about 8 or 9 and stuck with it until I was 29 and pregnant with Grace. Suddenly, I was done. D-O-N-E. I still can't explain why.

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  8. I've been making friendship bracelets for my son and his friends for a while now. They think its cool a mom knows how to do this.

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  9. I used to wrap ribbon around hair clips in school colors and make pom poms for shoe laces. I wonder if anyone does that anymore?

    I used to crochet miles of chain stitches. I'm a fairly decent knitter but crochet has always eluded me.

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  10. I was all over the hook rug fad - made a Fozzie Bear wall hanging that I proudly displayed in my room. Someone also made a hook rug-style quilt of Raggedy Ann & Andy for me when I was a baby - only it was all flat and just their hair was shaggy and they had real buttons on their overalls. I still have it, actually. It's a fabulous relic from the 70s.

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  11. Wow, that brings back memories! We had to try everything - bead weaving, macrame, copper enameling...I could go on and on. I've had the chance to play with some again with my daughter.

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  12. Beading, macrame, knitting, crochet, batik... I was a very adventurous cook, too, making EVERYTHING from scratch. One day I hope to have that kind of time on my hands again!

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  13. Let's see - playing piano and cat's cradle...

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  14. You impressed me with jumping double dutch. I always felt like I'd get strangled. Or fall on my face.

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  15. I wasn't very crafty. I cross-stiched little Christmas ornaments for a few years, until my first baby came along. After that? No time.

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  16. I could make a wicked psychedelic God's Eye with some yarn and sticks from the back yard.

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  17. I used to know all kinds of embroidery stitches. And I always wanted to know how to braid a lanyard, but I never learned.

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  18. That's a cute little dishtowel. :) I used to do cross stitch. Last year my stepmother gave me various framed examples of my childish cross stitching and it was painful to look at--kind of like reviewing a pile of every cigarette you've ever smoked. I threw it all away.

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  19. I used to love that shiny plastic stuff we called "gimp." Remember that from day or over night camp. They always had loads of it in the recreation sheds in the park. I think I finally found a practical application for it, but haven't seen the stuff in years.

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  20. The only craft I could ever do was a hooked rug. I did learn to knit in 4-H but I could never figure out how to crochet.

    I was a grand champion in sewing and the style review. Purple ribbons all the way, baby.

    When I was 17 I could sew a lined wool suit and now I have a really hard time with a pillow. Sucks.

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Spill it, reader.