Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

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The women in my mother’s family did handwork. Their hands picked up knitting needles, crochet hooks, embroidery floss, or sewing thread whenever completed chores allowed them to sit down. I’ve carted around a trunk of handwork done by my grandmother, my great-aunt and my mother since my mother’s death in 1977.

I am an only child without children. My second cousins both have daughters, so I recently mailed them the “family linens.” I photographed everything before sending the treasures to the next generation. These are four of my favorite pieces, along with one of my own long ago attempts at crocheting doilies.

Seeing the contents of my trunk spread out in front of me, I finally understood why “making” is such an unrelenting force in me, and why all my life I’ve been drawn to doing all things involving yarn, thread or fabric. Even making books springs from this ground: the forming and folding of book cloth for covers, and the stitching of book signatures is but one more permutation of hands on cloth, needles, yarn and thread.

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21 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

  1. I like the phrase ‘springs from this ground’ as if the urge to create was an earthly thing, something that grew into your fingers and heart as naturally as a garden.

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    1. This urge to create, to make, really does seem like it is rooted in my DNA and cannot be stopped even if I wanted to, just like I cannot stop the chickweed from trying to take over my garden beds.

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  2. Beautiful pieces. I have several of the tablecloths my grandmother crocheted … treasures for sure. The impulse to create is well rooted in my extended family, painting, mosaics, jewellery ….. Great interpretation, Janet!

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    1. Thanks Cheryl. I took all these photographs a few weeks ago. This theme was the perfect excuse to share them. I had several huge crocheted tablecloths as well. I wonder how my grandmother ever found the time to do such a large body of work. She was still heating her irons on the coal stove when a lot of the work was done.

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      1. And just imagine the quality of the lighting our grandmother’s would have had … whenever I visited her she was busy with lacework. I have all her patterns in storage and haven’t a clue what to do with them.

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      2. Our ancestor women really were remarkable. I am glad to know I come from such resourceful stock. My grandmother came to this county as a teenager, on her own, emigrating from Lithuania with only what she could bring in a small trunk. The dresser scarf is one of the things she brought with her. It must have been one of her most prized pieces of work, to bring it on the journey to the USA and her new life.

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    1. My grandmother learned how to do all this when she was a girl in Lithuania. Perhaps there are some common patterns and skills that were widely used in the whole Baltic Sea area.

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  3. Wow! Very nice. I am certainly impressed. My Grandmother was quite skilled in those sorts of arts but my mother never followed in her footsteps and I am a total loss. I think this is probably true with many people and it is a little sad.
    I’m glad you are able to share those family treasures with your family. 🙂

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    1. I think this kind of handwork is a dying art. There are so many other things that girls and women can now do besides sit indoors and learn to sew and embroider. It is a wonderful legacy though, to know I come from women who created such beauty.

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  4. The creative arts are definitely in your blood. Your relatives have made some really beautiful items! Thank you for sharing!

    I come from a family much like yours – everyone has a special talent or gift. My grandma could knit the most amazing things you’ve ever seen, my grandfather was a woodworker who could carve or build anything, my mother is a writer (and a really funny illustrator), my sister does wonders with paper crafts, and my aunt is an incredible artist in multiple mediums. Perhaps, one day I’ll live up to the family legacy!

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  5. I love them all as I too am a thread and yard lover and sometimes creator. The detail in that lace collar was amazing and intricate! I loved the simplicity of the handkerchief. It reminds me of goings through the handkerchiefs in my grandmothers drawer and choosing my favorites. I have one of them today. I would love it if you would post a photo of one of your book covers!
    Nanci

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    1. It amazes me that these fore-women did so much to bring beauty to the most utilitarian household objects. All of my grandmother’s tea towels had hand-crocheted edgings. I cannot imagine finding the time to do all that.

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  6. Beautiful hand made items. My mother and grandmother also made lace. I never did get the talent for that craft 🙂

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