TaDaaa! My first finished object of the year. It's a baby jumper made from my handspun Gotland fleece, a gift for my cousin whose baby boy is due today. It's soft but very warm, perfect for the Maine climate. I will post it tomorrow, but I expect baby will arrive before the jumper does.
I recently received a box of childhood memories in the post. Dad was cleaning out the attic and sent on keepsakes like photos, report cards, my old cheerleading outfit (!) and some cushions that were hand embroidered by my mother. The cushions were appreciated not only as a remembrance of my mom, who passed away in 1989, but of her talents too. She was a talented seamstress, making most of my sister's and my clothes until we left home. These included some dubious 80's fashions and cringe-worthy prom dresses, designed by us of course, all lace and pink taffeta. But her real skill was needlepoint and embroidery, where she could let her artistic notions run away with her.
I'm more of a process crafter. I just find the repetitive movements of knit and purl, or blanket stitching a cheap form of therapy. The product is like a bonus. I don't have the skill my mother had, but I get huge pleasure from making something by hand for friends, or for my small but much loved family. That's why I wanted to make something for my cousin and her baby - to mark the occasion and pass on that love. I enjoyed making every stitch of the baby jumper and I hope the happiness I felt making it transfers to the wearer. Maybe one day, he'll open a box and find the jumper he wore as a baby, made for him by his crazy aunt who lived in England and kept sheep. Maybe his own son or daughter will wear it one day.
My most prized possession in the world is this:
It doesn't look like much, and my photograph doesn't do it any justice. It's a plain wooden bowl, carved by hand by my mother's father. He was a carpenter by trade, and died when I was quite young. I have only a few memories of him. I don't know what kind of wood it is, or why he carved it - was it for a purpose or simply an artistic expression of his carpentry skills? It is the centrepiece of every table I set for dinner with friends. I wonder how many Thanksgivings it saw before I inherited it. I know it had sentimental value for my mother who prized it too. I love it for its simple beauty.
Enough nostalgia. The lambs need dinner, the horses need their rugs changing, and the dogs want a run before it gets too dark. And I want to start on my next jumper.