.jump-link{ display:none }

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Family Crafts Continued - Talented Tuesday

Bryna at  http://charteroakgenealogy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/sentimental-sunday-family-folk-art.html    raised the question about family folk art and traditions passed down the generations. 

I have my mother  to thank for introducing me to a wonderful world of colour in crafts.
Below is one of her creations. 

Traycloth embroidered by my mother
Mum (Kathleen Weston, nee Danson)  was a creator in patchwork, crochet, collage, felt work,  knitting, embroidery, smocking, dolls and dresses, with dabbles into millinery, lampshade making and china painting. and was still sewing  when in her 80's.  For her going into a fabric shop was like going into a jewellery shop. If she sat down, she was rarely without a needle in her hand- epitomised in my posting  "Happiness in Stitching" which could be her motto and epitaph. 

I shared her interest and enjoyment, but I cannot say her talent.  I have memories of sitting on the draining board in our old fashioned kitchen and being taught how to knit  a dishcloth from string.    I then graduated to a pixie hood and scarf.   In my teens I was knitting for myself  jumpers for school and weekend wear, and in the early glow of being engaged,  knitted my husband several jumpers to brighten up his rather drab wardrobe.  Here is a Brownie doll I knitted for my daughter - I should have made sure her hair was tidy before taking the photo!.

Mum encouraged me, as a child.   to make simple glove puppets out of felt, decorated with ric rac, ribbons, buttons, lace and my brother and I created little plays performed, crouched behind the settee which became the stage. 

Victorian collage
made by my mother
Mum and I shared an  interest in costume and I recall us making   a collage picture of Queen Elizabeth 1st in all her glory - plenty of scope for using lots of fancy trimmings.  Years later when my daughter was little (and money was tight) I made felt collage pictures for her bedroom, mounted on cake boards - ducks, teddies, a colourful wigwam etc. 

It was my mother who taught me how to sew patchwork - by hand in the English traditional Grandmother's floral garden pattern using hexagons, beginning with pincushions and eventually reaching the heights of a single bedcover.  I am still patchworking.  A project,  which had been on the go a considerable length of time, was eventually downgraded from a bedspread to a throw and completed last year  when I retired.   I am still surrounded by bits of material with plans to make one for my granddaughter - you never know it might get finished for Christmas!

My patchwork throw - completed after many years
having been downgraded from a planned bedspread

Unlkie my mother , I was hopeless at embroidery and gave up on my tortuous efforts to sew lazy daisy stitch, satin stitch, stem stitch and French knots on increasingly crumpled material - a reminder on what it must have been like for young girls to persevere at stitching their samplers centuries ago.

Then I discovered  crossstitch which had much greater appeal - it was simple, yet so effective in the way  the designs used colour.  I was an avid subscriber to magazines, and sewed away at cards, bookmarks, Christmas decorations and bigger projects, until  I ran out of people to send cards to, or wallspace for framed pictures. Fashions in cards changed and crossstitch items  did not have the same appeal in charity shops. I then turned to doing small card size projects which I pasted into a scrapbook, using coloured mounts to frame each one. After my mother died, I found she had kept all the cards I had made for her at birthdays, Christmas etc, so I have included them as well. It does make a lovely memento to look back on.

Holidays in Bavaria and Paris captured in crossstitch

Crochet is my current activity - again taught me by my mother,  but whereas she did fine cotton work, I learnt on and have stuck to wool - much easier.  In the  1970's era of "the Good Life", self sufficiency and financial constraints, it was a way of  making rugs and blankets for my daughter's bedroom.   Now it is blankets for charity shops.

My daughter's creative interest has turned to baking rather than crafts.  As for my little granddaughter,  she likes playing with the crochet squares I am currently assembling into a  blanket  especially those in her favourite colour - purple.

And it is using colour that characterises my pleasure in following in a small way the crafts passed on by my mother.    

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Talented Tuesday  is a daily prompt from http://www.geneabloggers.com/, used by many bloggers to help them record stories of their ancestors.


  1. Lovely crafts Susan. Isn't it wonderful to inherit such a joyful activity from your mother. I really liked the cross-stitch travel pictures. I did a tiny cross-stitch recently for my Faith Hope & Charity swap and found my eyes were crossing, not the stitching:-)

  2. O, goodness sake, I remember making each of these little wonders -- tho sometimes not as neat and well done.


Thank you for your comment which will appear on screen after moderation.