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Making Things

For as long as I can remember I have loved to make things. As a kid I would say to my mom, “I feel like making something today.” And God love that woman, she always found something for me to do. I would glue things and put glitter on things. I would make homemade greeting cards and holiday decorations. I would draw and paint and be busy and I was happy.

As I got older and went to camp I learned new skills. I made God’s eyes and candles and soap. One summer in the mid 1970s I learned to macrame and I came home from camp utterly inspired. My mom took me to the store and we bought jute and beads and that Christmas everyone in the family got a macrame plant hanger.

When I was in my early 20s I learned counted cross stitch from a friend at work. I loved the designs and working with all the brightly colored floss. I made framed pictures and samplers and baby bibs and stitched obsessively for many years.

In my early 30s I learned to quilt. I again became obsessed and amassed a huge fabric stash and an impressive collection of quilting books and magazines. I made many quilts, starting with simple strip quilts and graduating to more complex blocks and scrap quilts. I quilted almost exclusively with my sewing machine, except for the binding, which I sewed by hand. I realized over time that sewing the binding was very enjoyable. I would sit on the couch and watch TV and have a beautiful quilt in my lap while I stitched that binding in place.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

I realized, through the process of quilting, that I liked portable crafts. I liked crafts I could work on while watching TV or listening to music or sitting on the deck. And I realized that I wanted to learn to knit.

It’s been 12 years this month since Lois taught me to knit. In that time I have progressed from simple scarves to complex shawls and sweaters. I have amassed a collection of yarn that far surpasses my fabric collection and I haven’t looked back yet. I started a knitting blog for cryin’ out loud and I’ve made friends and traveled and learned to spin all because I like to make things.

My kids always call me crafty and I guess that I am. I don’t think I have any special gift for crafting, I’m just determined when it comes to learning something new and I like to be busy.

And knitting? Knitting keeps me very busy.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. While my mom was not that crafty and I certainly didn’t do many crafts as a child, I’ve gone through each phase of crafting you have as well. Crochet, decoupage and macrame in the 70’s. Quilting, crewel and cross stitch in the 80’s and some of the 90’s. The knitting started when I was 8 which was well….the 50’s and reappeared in the 90’s with obsessive gathering of yarn & fiber the last 10 years. I’ve found my niche,but definitely am tempted by needlework 🙂

  2. love the story about how you learned to knit… you definitely have a talent for it. what I love about knitting is that the finished objects are wearable – I don’t have to find a place to display them, just to store them 🙂 and the yarn. but it’s only been in the past few years that the yarn has become an object of obsession.

  3. I’m so glad that you blog! What is that pretty thing you’re working on?

  4. Great story Carole. I loved reading it. There is something
    so satisfying and at times therapudic about making something.
    You are also a good blogger!! It can’t be easy coming up
    with something 5 days a week! Thanks for sharing your

  5. Your stories sound very similar to mine growing up. I am so happy we had mom’s and friends who helped us along the way.

  6. Thanks, Carole, that was a fun read. We were on similar crafty paths. I skipped over quilting, for the most part — mostly because it wasn’t very portable (despite Georgia Bonesteel) — but was so inspired by quilting that I sought to interpret it in my other “crafty” endeavors — quilt designs in cross stitch, quilt designs in knitting, quilt designs in mosaic tabletops. It was the triptych of quilts hanging on a line that spurred me to subscribe and then order EVERY back issue of CS&CC and a full set of DMC floss! Someday (and I may be getting close), I really do want to make a quilt! Or two!

  7. Your lovely post could have been written by me! I took the same crafty path. But so far I have resisted on learning how to spin…but the temptation is great!

  8. Learning to make things has kept us happy all our lives. It’s a path many of us have shared. Here we are all together talking about how much we love our knitting (with a few other crafts thrown in now and again). It’s wonderful how crafting has changed our lives, brought us together across the miles and enriched our our days! Thank you, Carole, for sharing your story.

  9. With a few differences in craft endeavors, your post could describe my crafty life as well 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed making things by hand, and my family & friends will attest to my penchant for homemade gifts every year. I haven’t quilted, but only because of a lack of space … and I haven’t spun, but that’s just a matter of time, right? I’m so very thankful that you taught me to knit a year and a half ago, as it gives me that very portable craft project to enjoy wherever I go. God Bless our Moms for supporting our crafty habits!!

  10. It was like reading my life story, almost. Started crocheting when my grandma taught me, then did a little stamped cross stitch. Went into counted cross stitch in college. From there, it was quilting. From there, scrapbooking. Then beading/jewelry making. And now knitting.

  11. What a lovely post! I too always wanted to MAKE things as a child. What fun paper and scissors and crayons and glue could be.

  12. Your story is very much the same as mine. I remember one day complaining to my poor mother that I was BORED, BORED, BORED. I’m sure that happened often, but on that particular day, we made “pictures” by putting shavings of different colored crayons between sheets of waxed paper and ironing them.

    I always think it’s a little weird when my sister says I’m “crafty”, because like you, I feel as though it’s just determination and the desire to keep busy.

    Love the nail color, BTW,

  13. I guess us crafty people attract each other – I have the same story (minus the macrame, insert counted cross stitch). I love where my knitting has taken me. I never would have started spinning. And that unto itself, opens up a whole new world! That lead me to weaving, etc….

  14. Count me in on this continuing theme. Though I learned to knit early, I was deterred by quilting for many years.

    A library knitting group got me started on doing really challenging things, and that has been great fun. I love making time for yarn every day. And the wonderful friends I’ve made because of knitting! It amazes me.

  15. Yup! Me too. I call it the fiber arts progression. Sewing, macrame, crewel embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, crochet and finally knitting as the one that I always return to. Actually – for me they were kind of all mixed up – but the knitting started early, would get set aside for days (or years) picked back up – set aside again – but now, I can’t deny my true love anymore! Knitting it is, and the wonderful yarns that are available now just make it all that much more attractive.
    Gotta love us “crafters”.

  16. I love to make things, too! I remember as a kid feeling bored because I didn’t have anything to “make.” Today I made a little bracelet and that makes me happy! I need to remember to make more little things more often, just to keep those creative juices flowing.

  17. my mom was anti-crafty. She and my Nana would just shake their heads and say “not from our side!” My godmom? Brilliant knitter. couldn’t sew a button. My dad’s mom? brilliant knitter. Couldn’t sew a button. My mom sewed dresses and a few things when I was little,but that quickly passed. So, it’s me- i’m the crafty one. I think I was 7 when I used my allowance to buy my first glue gun. 🙂

    If I’m at home and i’m not being creative or productive, i’m a mess.

  18. This is my favorite of your posts. I think it’s because my life so closely resembles yours in the “making things” department. I, too, went to myriad of camps to learn to “make things,” but once crochet & knitting touched my life, there was no turning back. Now I never have to wonder what I’m going make…

  19. What a great story, Carole! One that could be mine. . . although I never did get into quilting. (Although, like Vicki, I did have the Georgia Bonesteel book and I was inspired.) Making Things. A very good lifestyle, indeed!

  20. Once again, you have written a post that resonates so loudly with my own life experience. I have always loved making things, stitched, quilted, glued, even hammered, etc.; the only differencee being that I learned to knit when I was 5 and that is the one thing that lasted through all the others! We were very lucky to have moms that nurtured that creative desire, weren’t we? Thanks for sharing.

  21. Love it! My story is virtually the same. Construction paper and glue and glitter were my best friends when I was a kid. BY the time I got to Home Ec in junior high I was sewing my own clothes. Lots of counted x-stitch hangsin my home today (love love LOVE P. Buckley Moss!) as well as quilts, both for decoration and for just plain sleepin’ under! I learned to knit when I was about 8, but didn’t really get into it until about 5 years ago. My blog is 3 years old and I need to get more faithful about writing.

  22. This sounds a lot like me. I’ve always wanted to figure out how to make things. Friendship bracelets, lanyards and hook rugs as a kid and then crochet and knitting and sewing. I just love creating beautiful things. It’s not a bad trait to have!

  23. What a wonderful telling. I still have cross stitch projects I swear I’ll get back to – after I knit that/those shawl/scarf/socks/handwarmers and attempt a sweater – again! I’m so glad you blog!! I learn and am inspired by you daily!

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