Monday, 3 November 2014

When crafts come home

This is a bit of an indulgent and sentimental post ... but hey, it's my blog, right? And it's been whizzing in my head for some weeks now so I thought it best just to get it out.

I don't really make gifts, as a general rule. There have been exceptions, but a handmade item is most definitely not my go to gift option. The most notable exception was my late Grandma. Because, you know, old people are kinda tricky to buy for, and she was an appreciative sort which is an absolute must when gifting handmade. She wasn't crafty herself, but her mother (my Great-Grandma, also called Hannah) was a prolific seamstress, knitter and crocheter. I think Grandma was flattering me somewhat when she said I had inherited her talent but hey, it made her happy. 

Easter 1980

And so I made her a quilt, which I knew she would love.

I think it was about the 7th quilt I made, gifted for Christmas 2012. I bought some (cheap) charm packs of Lovely by Sandy Gervais, before I knew anything whatsoever about fabric. When they arrived I realised they really weren't my thing at all but that they would be perfect for my Grandma. I paired them with some Kona buttermilk, whipped up (over the course of many, many months, you understand?) a patchwork picnic quilt and backed it in a gorgeous piece of Ruby flannel. 

Alas, this was before I knew to pattern match the backing seam ...

Sadly I didn't label it, as labelling quilts is a habit which has come late and still rather intermittently to me. But it was indeed appreciated and loved. She was very proud of it, and of me, and showed it to all her friends who came to visit. 

One of my Grandma's great flaws, however, was her reluctance to use things. Perhaps it's a generational thing, perhaps just a Grandma thing, but she was quite obsessed by things being "too good to use". Needless to say, the quilt I made for her fell into that category. And so the quilt has come back to me, having spent almost 2 years sat folded and unused at the foot of her bed. That makes me sad. 

So we are putting it to use. It has been washed. Jumped on. Slept under. And snuggled under. And just all the things that quilts need to happen to them in order to actually be quilts. Sorry Grandma, but I like it better this way.

The baby loves it too, honest.

Also come home is the cushion I crocheted for her for her 90th birthday earlier that same year. I had intended to make the quilt for then but it didn't quite happen. And this was back before I realised that I loathed crochet.

In fact, it may have actually been this cushion that made me loathe crochet.

But anyway, it looks nice enough, and has taken up happy residence on the bed of a thousand cushions.

You'll just have to use your imagination till I can get an up to date photo, but the bed owner is sleeping now

It's the Blooming Flower Cushion from Attic 24 if anyone wishes to put themselves through similar torture. 

And these? I didn't make these. I bought them for her sometime circa 1999 when I was sick of watching her take  burning hot dishes of roast potatoes out of the oven with a  tea towel. Immaculate and never used, you see? At the time I remember saying to her "I'm going to find these in a cupboard when you're dead, aren't I?". Ummm, yep. That's what happened.

I'm going to use these too. Although they are maybe a *bit* too nice to use.

Love you Grandma. Miss you xxxx


  1. I enjoyed reading this post and had to giggle because my nan is just the same!! In fact the quilt and oven glove I made her are still untouched! I tried to crochet but gave up, though she has round crochet cushions that were made my her grandmother, mother and one she made herself... And yes she keeps them in a cupboard!!

  2. Sad, but kind of comfortingly sweet the thought that she cherished them too much to use. I sometimes have to fight my own "to good to be used" mentality about things, what's the point in having beautiful things if they're not to be seen and used?! Enjoy using them, and remembering her :o)

  3. I'm really glad that you're using these things - I'm sure that you think of your Grandma everytime you see one of the kids cwtshed under the quilt. I insisted on getting the mugs I bought him back after my grandad died. I think about him everytime I have a cup of tea and get to the stains at the bottom of the mug (he did use them) .

  4. I have the 'too good to use' mentality too (hello pretty bundles of fabric still sat neatly stacked!) but am trying to get over it. Bubba's face in the quilt picture is priceless!!!!! Hugs x

  5. Oh it is such a tricky one, I've made quilts as gifts and would have been delighted if they had been ooo'd and ahh'd over, on the plus side I think they have been used! xx

  6. Not enough cushions on the bed of a thousand cushions- I am beating you!

  7. Ah yes, I recognize that attitude. I remember afternoons of sitting and looking at all the goodies in the "save for something special" drawer with my Grandma and Aunt. I didn't inherit the attitude; I use the stuff now that it has come to me.

  8. When sorting through my Grandma's belonging we found a silver cake server in its box with a note "Doris, this is to be used and not saved for best"!


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