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January 21, 2007



I never sewed or knitted because I had to. Both my mom and her mother sewed in factories for a living for most of their lives (nothing like a textile plant). My mother crocheted as well for fun during the seventies. She taught me to do neither since she never wanted me to have to earn a living that way. My father's mother and his sister sewed because it was the best way to have really nice things on a budget - especially during times when segregation kept you out of the department stores - irrespective of income. This is the aunt who taught me to sew. She made Vogue suits and was always the top of fashion even though she almost never wore anything but dress whites as a nurse. This is also the aunt that borrowed the book from library that taught me to knit. She encouraged me, even though she couldn't and had no interste in knitting. The result was that I had very polished stitch skills but no pattern reading skills when I returned home to NC for the fall. It took 21 years for me to knit again and mostly gifts for others and things for my 4 year old daughter who will be learning to knit next year when I teach her. I will pass my skill on - if only as means of comfort during stressful times.


Your guess is correct with respect to me at least, Marjorie - I never knitted or sewed because I had to. In fact, I made a point of running from anything domestic in nature until about three years ago.

My mom sewed and crocheted when I was in elementary school, and in fact, made many of my clothes until I was in about 2nd grade and began to refuse to wear anything she made (it didn't look like what everyone else was wearing, and that was "BAD" at the time.) My mom taught me a few things about sewing (mainly just about cutting out patterns and using the machine) when I was in elementary school and tried to teach me how to crochet, but I had no interest. She didn't know how to knit, and told me that knitting was "too hard."

My maternal grandmother and my aunt (mom's sister) both knitted, and my aunt also sewed, making a lot of her own clothes out of necessity when she moved out to San Francisco in her late teens, working as a legal assistant. Living in Cape Cod, my grandmother also made other items in her home like candles, jelly, etc. and my mom and her sister actually were pressed into service selling these items to "the tourists" passing by on historic Route 6A. Although they didn't "have to" make these items and the knitted/crocheted items my grandmother made, it certainly helped their family income in that tourist-focused locale.

My paternal grandmother was a talented seamstress and actually worked at one time in a factory here in the Chicago area doing that work in the '30s and '40s. She lived through the Depression and it left an indelible imprint on her with respect to thriftiness and not buying things that could be made at home.

I guess the summary is - I come from a line of sewers, knitters and crocheters, but it took a long time for me to get interested in any of it. Having little time in my 20s (studying for the CPA exam, working on my first master's degree and other professional exams) I didn't really have any hobbies at all until I found knitting. I find it so satisfying to be able to make exactly what I want and see concrete results from my efforts. That is what hooks me on fiber arts!

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