During my formative years in rural Texas and St. Louis (late 60s/ early 70s), a common question was, “Who are your people?” Knowing something about the family you came from let others know something about you. I don’t know much about my father’s side (he was of a criminal bent, so we didn’t ask much about him), but my mother’s family tree is well-known to me. I come from a line of crafters/ artists/ poets. Our family name should have been “Kraft,” instead of Williams. My grandmother is a decendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. She was a prolific tatter, crocheter; and as a single mom she supported her family of four by baking and decorating cakes. Her yummy creations were amazing to behold (though she never let me eat any). The crafty gene was passed onto all four of her children. My mother could look at any space, and intuitively know how to organize it, decorate it, and generally make it better. Her color-sense was natural. My two aunts are also skilled knitters and crocheters. The crafty gene was different for my uncle. He can digs up clay from the earth to make original beads; or take old vodka bottles, break them, melt them and fuse them into beautiful pieces of art that also serve a practical purpose. He was blessed to marry an artist, and together they have an Etsy shop, Art Inspired Gifts.
I’ve always been creative is various ways. Knitting stimulates both sides of my brain. I need the problem-solving to satisfy my left side, and the wonderful textures and fibers to inspire creativity. All these musings came while I was trying to clean my floors and trying to get through a massive migraine. In battling through the pressure, waiting for the espresso (medical purposes only, I assure you) to kick in, I began reflecting on how certain traits or skills seem to run in a family. We home-school, and have the challenge of teaching my middle son who has dyslexia. The creative gene has been a real blessing to him. He has learned to work through brain-blockage by temporarily rechanneling his synapses by using his fine motor skills. In the past he has enjoyed hand-sewing. This year he wants to be a part of the knitting class at our home-school co-op. We’ve never had a boy in our class before, but he has inspired other boys to sign up. Being a mom of boys only, I am very excited to pass my love on to him. This morning I just had to chronicle his beginning stitches…like watching your baby walk for the first time:
Yup, those ARE french fry pajamas!
I made up a beginner package for him – Vogue Beginner Basics, Son of Stitch and Bitch, a needle gauge, some stash yarn (Plymouth Encore), a tapestry needle, and my favorite pair of needles (Lantern Moon Rosewood circs – wanted to get the love of fine materials started early). I wanted him to have a manly knit bag to keep his stuff in, so I used the small messenger bag pattern from this great book:
I used to think that I didn’t get the “pack rat” gene from my family; however, I think one could look at my stash and argue the point. The bag that I made would also show evidence that the gene is well and alive in me. For instance, I used only fabric scraps from other projects, and…
for the vinyl outer pocket, I recycled an old bag that came with a set of sheets that I bought (saved because, of course, one never knows when a zippered vinyl bag might be useful. I still have the zipper part. Who needs to buy an extra long zipper when I have this one?). My lovely, almost 16 yr-old son is fascinated by butterflies with a delightful child-like wonder. I reflected this by using a fabric with butterflies. Bandannas are also a part of his wardrobe, so the paisley batik shows some of his personality.
Notice the straps? Next time you go to throw away a worn out backpack, save the straps first! Webbing can be costly, so cannibalize the useful parts before you throw it out. These came in very handy!
It has been wonderful spending this Labor Day, being his personal knitting teacher at home, and watching him progress. It will be exciting to see how his “crafty” gene develops.