Friday, September 18, 2009
Appliques cut. Big surprise project started. And stuff about my Granny.
Well, I spent all of yesterday morning cutting appliques for Rose's cold weather shirts. I've got 4 of Badger's shirts from when he was 1, and 3 that he outgrew more recently. Two shirts are going to be simply modified, all the others are going to have applique. Holding them up to her, it seems that Badger was enormous in comparison, so I might have to break down and buy her two from the resale place. The larger three will be wearable as dresses for a while.
I have also started the big November surprise project. It took a lot a swatching because I'm not using the yarns called for in the original pattern. I will say, however, that it begins with a mobius.
I want to tell you about one of the women who began my love of craft. My granny was my mother's maternal grandmother. She was my great-grandmother as well as my godmother. She was tiny. She was 5' in 2" heels. She always wore heels; even her house shoes had 2" heels. And she made everything. I don't know if she made the dress in the photo, but I wouldn't be surprised. She crocheted and embroidered and loved to cook for all of our family. She also made the best pickles in the world.
My mother says that she had her own business when her children were small custom making clothes for wives of some of the oil men here in Texas back in the 1930's and 1940's. All I ever knew was that she had the best clothing and shoe collection that I had ever seen. And costume jewelry, lots and lots of costume jewelry. I remember that she would let me look through her closets and let me try on all her shoes. I would find the matching purses and parade around her house. She made much of it and it was all exquisite to my child eyes. I remember her embroidering and crocheting, me sitting fascinated in the seat next to her. She would tell me what she was doing and what of it her grandmother had taught her. I guessed that she must have sat nearby watching like I was then.
She had a tiny tea and dish set made of pressed cobalt blue glass that she let us eat and drink out of and have tea parties with on her back porch. That's where she kept the pickles. She never stopped canning and pickling and she had rows of shelves filled with pickles, jellies, and canned fruit. When we were over for dinners, she'd send us to the back porch to pick out which pickles we wanted. My brother Nick invariably picked beets. Packed in pint jars, these beets were sweet and sour and spicy and deeply red. Nicholas could eat a jar by himself in one sitting and ask for more. He'd have to be told to stop. I usually went for the Three Bean Salad or the bread & butter pickles, but the beets were pure heaven.
She was the sweetest person that I ever knew, the kindest and funniest older person in my life. She always had the best family gossip, which she'd tell me as I washed the dishes and she drank coffee at the kitchen table. She was also an ardent feminist, served on her local board of education, fought for voter's rights, fought like crazy with my great-grandfather and told me that I could be whoever I wanted to be. She would have been 100 this year.