Monday, September 17, 2007

Arts & crafts

In response to my post on Friday, the Guider has asked me if I'm a "crafty person."

With my DNA, it would be almost impossible not to be crafty in some way.

To wit:

My maternal grandmother is an accomplished seamstress. She used to dress a family of six from top to bottom and inside out with the creations that came from her sewing machine. She sewed for her grandchildren too. Every summer she'd make me a couple of new things for school and I was always bummed when I outgrew those clothes. And her work was good, so much so that I asked her to make this for me:

The dress, people, not the man.

Grandma also quilted -- a hobby she took up later in life -- and she made at least two dozen quilts that I know of before her eyesight dictated that she give it up. She doesn't sew much these days, and I have her quilting frame and supplies, which I consider to be a great honor.

Also in the family, one of my uncles is an accomplished woodworker, another uncle is passionate about his photography, Crazy Aunt Laura is an artist, and my mother has an amazing eye for color that has led to some great projects over the years. She has sewn, knitted, cross stitched, painted, and I think I even remember some macrame back in the '70s.

So that leads to me. Yes, I have tried various things over the years.

I did cross stitch for about eight or nine years and produced a number of elaborate samplers and two very intricate Christmas stockings that nearly caused me to go blind. For whatever reason, when I was pregnant with Graceful, I put down my needles and have not picked them up since then. Even the thought of it stresses me out with the tedium, so I guess that means I really burned myself out.

I tried needlepoint but it's too much like cross stitch and I ended up doing only a few projects. Plus, do you know how expensive it is? I did a belt for Pete -- a very cool one that he never wears -- and it ended up costing a shitload of money. Seriously, first there were the supplies and then I had to pay to have it finished and attached to the leather parts. One of Pete's friends asked if I'd either do one for him or teach his wife how to and when I told him how much it cost, he inhaled as if I'd just punched him in the gut.

I quilt on occasion, but I'm nowhere near as talented as my grandmother and my seams are sometimes crooked because I'm not terribly patient about getting things just right. So far, I've made four quilts and am about to start on another. In fact, I laid out the pieces last night in anticipation of getting started soon.

Pete's stepmother taught me to knit a few years ago and now I'm almost never without a project. I really only know how to knit squares and rectangles, so I can't say that I'm at all accomplished, especially in light of this disaster. (As an aside, NEVER use eyelash yarns or anything like that in a blanket because you will be picking yarn lint off the carpet EVERY SINGLE HOUR OF EVERY SINGLE DAY.)

I knit mostly to relax or as something to do while I'm watching the girls at their various activities or trying to stay focused at a PTO meeting or while I'm waiting somewhere. And that's really the main reason I haven't bothered to learn anything else with the knitting: I knit without paying attention to what I'm doing and having to follow a pattern would mess with that.

Every now and then I'll get the urge to paint something, like treasure boxes for my girls or dollhouse furniture or something small like that.

Hot glue is another favorite tool of mine and I once spent months buying straw hats and decorating them with flowers, ribbons, and other trims.

Every now and then I think I'd like to try something new, like pottery or weaving, but I don't really have time for those. I think a lot of it is an urge to create something RIGHT NOW. I find that if I act too hastily, I end up wasting time and money, such as the time I thought I'd try to paint a floor cloth. I painted it, but I didn't prep the canvas properly and the edges curled up. Plus, those things have something like 17 layers of poly-u to seal them and who has time for that?

No wonder Pete believes deep within my heart that Elegant's ADHD comes from me.

So I guess the short answer is that I knit and quilt, but only at a basic level. How about the rest of you readers? What kinds of creative hobbies do you have?


The Hotfessional said...

I've cross stitched, quilted, and crocheted nearly all my life it seems, although at 44, you'd think I'd have a whole lot more 'finished' than I do [hee]

I would love to re-learn to knit, but somehow, I can't get the "smoothness" down. It's always a struggle, and therefore, no fun.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I cross-stitched my way through Korea (doing those kill-your-eyes stocking like you did); I've knitted several sweaters; I learned to embroider when I was about 10 but didn't stick with it when cross stitch came along;but nothing quite gets me like a brand new box of Crayola crayons (the BIG box) and a "grown up" coloring book -- you know, the ones with the teeny tiny squares and stained glass looking pages?

Linda and her Surroundings said...

I have drawers of "crafty" things that I only keep because not enough time has passed to justify getting rid of them. Went through the Folk Art, Card Making, beading, needle point etc stage. I tend to try to be more organic in my approach to art rather than structured which means there are some rather ugly things hiding in boxes. My mother is unbelieveably creative and my aunt was an art teacher. For me, not enough time is the problem.

MizMell said...

You quilt? I want to, but have had trouble getting started. I have lots and lots of remnants in anticipation of the day I do...