Monday, August 29, 2011

ladies fancy-work

My grandma would probably say that she isn't a 'lady', but her fancy-work tells me otherwise . . . .

I am close to grandma (on the maternal side), having lived with her for a few years in my early twenties, and her having lived in my family home with my parents for many years. She now lives on her own in a retirement village (with some support) in Mandurah (a rapidly growing coastal town 100km south of Perth where I live). Regrettably I don't see her often enough, now that there is such a distance between us. I miss her, and I know she misses me. She always takes great interest in my crazy craft projects, but usually has a chuckle when I tell here that I don't follow a pattern, or that I will install the large crochet piece on a fence somewhere. She is one of those women who created the most exquisite crocheted lace doilies while working long days and raising a family, living in a tin shed on a farm in the middle-of-nowhere (well, somewhere east of Geraldton). She once killed a snake that was slithering up the wall in my mum's bedroom/corner of the tin shed with a single whack of a broom!! She had clout, my grandma! How did she do it all?!?!

Her precision and attention to detail astound me - she honestly was an expert at her craft. Later in her life - in the lives of her grandchildren - she made colourful knitted toys and tea cosies and fun things like that. These patterns come direct from the 70's!! I remember have sleep overs at her place as a child and asking for a nurses outfit for my doll, a fabric pencil case for school, a bonnet for my baby-new-born. She always managed to whip up something right on the spot!

My most amazing grandma will be 97 this October, but her eye sight is not what is used to be, due to both macular degeneration and glaucoma. She spends many hours in solitude and would love to keep creating, but she just can't see. And she can't bear to knit by feel, but drop stitches, and end up with a second-rate garment. I can understand this when I see the quality of her crochet, embroidery, pulled thread work, tatting, knitting, patchwork, quilting, dress-making . . . the list goes on. Her work leaves a legacy of her talents - and so I share it with you here.


  1. WOW! Your Gran's handiwork is completely divine.

    We have quite a few of my hubby's own Grandma's crochet pieces and cross stitches sdorning our home and they are something really special - though I only knew her for a few short months before she passed on, seeing her work inspires me further to do my own and makes me feel connected to our family history in ways that nothing else can.

    Oh, and next time you see your Gran, please let her know that she doesn't at all look her age!!

  2. thank you for your lovely comments - i will be sure to let my gran know she doesn't look her age. she will love that!! there really is something about handmade things that gives such a personal connection isn't there? i am so glad there are these heirlooms to inspire us! :)

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