It seems to me that when it comes to handmade items, there are 2 kinds of people:
1. Those who make things
2. Those who do not.
Within the “those who do not” category – there are also 2 kinds of people:
1. Those who do not make things but are enchanted with all things handmade.
2. Those who do not make things and find nothing special about handmade things.
I’m not judging anyone – everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. I’d just like to offer mine. 😉
Alrighty, Crystal. Go right ahead!
What brings this up all of a sudden? Spill it!
Well, I’ve been doing some sorting/organizing and I came across a little bag of “test” pieces made by my mother-in law. She’s been gone for 15 years now and I’ve had them that long – just can’t part with them. You see, I’m one of those people who is touched by handmade things. (You probably knew that.)
There’s a bit of her spirit in these . . .
click photo to enlarge
It was probably an ordinary day when she worked on these sample pieces. (Maybe it was snowing; maybe she had a cake in the oven!) They were created in preparation of assorted projects she was about to begin. While doing a swatch – she’d be testing the yarn, or the size of the stitches, or even the colors. As I hold them now, I wonder… Did she and I talk on the phone on a day she worked on one of these? Could be.
Whenever I’m at a garage sale or flea market, I always feel a twinge of sadness when I see people’s handwork for sale by their heirs – for pennies! Those heirs are surely in the group who don’t see anything special about handmade things.
My mother-in-law was an avid knitter. She made countless sweaters for her family – from the time they were in the cradle until they were fully grown.
Here are the beginnings of a baby sweater. She made dozens of them.
Then there were the afghans she made for all of us. They were virtual hugs that warmed our hearts as well as our shoulders.
This next photo shows her favorite afghan pattern – an Aran knit with cables. So labor-intensive! It has long strips and miles of stitches to sew together afterward. She made many of these, too.
Not only an expert knitter, Sir Beads’ Mom could crochet, sew, embroider, and do tatting, as well. No matter how experienced she became, she was a firm believer in doing a practice piece before beginning a new project. I’m still a novice compared to her and yet I seldom have the patience to do a test swatch. I usually jump right into a pattern and then spend more time unwinding and re-doing than it would have taken to make that practice piece in the first place!
I recognize this motif as a test for an afghan she eventually made for my younger daughter – her youngest grandchild.
I should probably turn these pieces into pillows or something more permanent. She lives in them still – her laugh, her love, her talent.
I have them carefully tucked away with things I treasure. Just looking at them every now and then brings back so many memories.
With my own handcrafts, I’ve always thought that the act of making them was truly enough . . . I didn’t have to wonder what would become of them when I am gone. I thought the important thing was the experience of creating something.
But, as I look at Mom’s little yarn “doodles” here in front of me, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that handmade items have even more value than just giving a sense of fulfillment to the artist . . .
To those who notice and cherish the message – they’re a connection to the past, to the soul of a person. It’s a joy, it’s intriguing, it can even be a comfort that in the middle of all the drama and change in life – some things live on.
I’d like to think the essence of a person remains in something she (or he) made with her own hands. If so, there are “heirlooms” all around us! 😀