Aug 26, 2014

An Afghan and Memories of My Mother

I've been working on a number of blog posts lately but have been having difficulty getting them to final draft and publish stage. It's not that I don't have the time to get them together but rather that I've been so side-tracked going down rabbit trails. I will begin to write out my thoughts on some topic and before I know it I'm off on a tangent.

It seems that no matter what topic I begin with recently I end up with my mother. She died this past February after an almost 9 year battle with PSP and dementia. I keep being reminded of her in so many little things.

Example ... I was sewing on a button recently and it hit me that it was my mother who taught me how to sew on buttons. It was a fleeting thought, almost gone before it registered.

Anyway, this morning I was cleaning out a pine cabinet that my mother gave to me probably 30 years ago. She found it at an estate sale years before that, and she stored her fabric and other crafting supplies in it before she gave it to me.

Since I've owned this cabinet, it has been the home of my fabric too, and believe you me it is jam packed! Not only do I sew but my two daughters who are still at home sew as well, and this cabinet is full to the top. I'm planning to move it from the basement where it currently lives to the old school room, which is in the process of becoming "My Room." My very own room for me ... a combination office/sewing/craft room that will hold all my yarn, craft supplies, fabric, patterns, yarn ... did I mention yarn? Over the past few years I crochet far, far more than I sew.

While trying to organize the cabinet this morning, in preparation for its big move, wouldn't you know it but again I was reminded of my mother. I stumbled on the original granny square pattern my mother used for all the numerous afghans she crocheted. This was the first granny square pattern I ever learned, taught to me by my mom when I was probably 11 or 12.

It was tucked away along with several other old patterns in the bottom of a shoe box, that was buried underneath fabric. In the box were the beginnings of a rag doll too, the cut out muslin of the arms, legs, and body, along with the pattern. I've never seen this pattern before and don't believe she ever made another one. 

How did I miss this box? Does that give you an idea of how jam packed this cabinet is? In case you're wondering how this box managed to get inside my cabinet in the first place, my mother gave it to me along with other boxes and file folders, and various sewing and crafting supplies. She was in the beginning stages of her illness at the time and she knew she wouldn't be needing any of it anymore. I just stashed everything wherever I could, forgetting about and "losing" this box in the process.

The pattern is hand written on the back page of a calendar planner, about 6" by 8", and it's dated September 1961. I don't believe my mother wrote this pattern out for herself since on the flip side of the page, written across the squares of the page for Sunday, Sept 9 through Saturday Sept 15, is information about the yarn.

"We paid 68 cents for a skein for our yarn. When it's on sale, I could pick it up for you. Name your colors if interested.  Colors available are light blue, med blue, navy, tan, beige (dark), brown, antique gold, bright green, med green, dark green, Kelly green, yellow, red, pink, bright rose, deep rose, black, brick." 

Sixty-eight cents for a skein of yarn on sale! Wow! Times have certainly changed.

I'm wondering if one of her sisters wrote out the pattern for her. My mother was one of 9 children and had 3 sisters (only 2 still living at that time) and 5 brothers. Both of my aunts were very creative and were proficient in all areas of handcrafting (sewing, crochet, knitting, etc), and so it's possible one of them wrote out the pattern and mailed it to her. But I really have no idea who it was who sent it to her.

I still have and use one of those afghans. She gave it to me many years ago and made it probably in the '70's. It's holding up quite well. I think the yarn is either wool or a wool blend and I am very careful with it.

The corners of the afghan are made with 2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc making it a "solid" granny. I looked online to see if I could find the same pattern but with no luck. I couldn't find any patterns that had only 1 single chain in the corner.

I followed the pattern and made a square using an H (5 mm) hook and Vanna's Choice worsted yarn. My square was a tad smaller than my mother's so I'm thinking she may have used an I (5.5 mm). Either that or the afghan is stretched out some.

Anyway, that was very unexpected running across her original granny square pattern like that. I wonder what else I might find as I continue to clean out the cabinet. I only cleaned out the bottom 3 shelves. There are still 2 more to go through! I attempted to scan the pattern and put it on my blog but it was written in pencil and didn't scan clearly enough to read well.

I will be sharing some more of my mom's creative projects in an upcoming post.


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