Good morning. Gloomy as ever today...storms predicted, I think this will definitely be a stay home day and work. I bet you are wondering why I chose to have yarn as my topic today. Well, I am crocheting a baby blanket this week for a brand new baby that was born on the 7th. She wasn't due until the 5th of July..I thought I had some time, but babies do come when they want. Well, towards the end of the skein, all the yarn was a mess. I had to find the end and start untangling. These days, it s not common that this sort of thing happens with a skein of yarn. As I started untangling the mess...I started to roll it into a ball and then that is where the memories started to flow. When I was young, yarn came in what they called a shank. I remember that the first thing you did was to roll it into that ball. I can tell you that my Grandma and I spent plenty of time together rolling yarn.
To roll yarn balls from a shank would entail one person holding the hands up, fingers to the sky, and they were placed as far apart, which might have been somewhere between 9 to 12 inches, the yarn was placed over them like a loop and the other person would begin rolling the ball. If you were the yarn holder, you would dip your hands slightly each time the yarn went over and around that particular side. We would do sometimes 12 shanks at a time.
Boy skeins of yarn have sure come along way since then.
I was so fortunate to have learned to crochet at an early age. I was 5 years old when I started. I still remember my first project which was a bathroom rug. It was crocheted in a single crochet....one of the first stiches you learn after learning to chain. It was made from what they called Rug Yarn which was a much heavier yarn. I think for a young person it was easier to handle. It was a blue yarn and once the rug was finished I learned to stitch with white yarn, Feet on it....and then of course, there was the lesson on how to make tassels. I would wind the yarn around the palm of my hand so many times, cut, and the using my crochet hook, pull it though an end stitch , pull the rest of the yarn through that and voilà, was finished....except I needed to do that all the way across the end and on both sides. But my Grandma used it proudly in the bathroom. I remember when I crocheted, I often sat in my little yellow vinyl rocking chair which sat next to my Grandma's big wooden rocking chair, which of course always had cushions both on the seat and on also tied on the back. We would both sit there in the kitchen and crochet. I especially loved Saturday mornings, because Shirley Temple was always on TV , and we would watch the movie while we crocheted. I became rather proficient as a crocheter as the years went by.
I remember my mother was the manager at Woolworths in the cafeteria. She worked at the one on Ashland and Belmont in Chicago.. Actually it was on the corner of School Street. Well, she had a lot of people who worked under her and at Christmas time she always gave Christmas gifts to everyone. One year she decided it would be crocheted slippers....so I crocheted countless numbers of slippers for her, that is when I learned how to make pom-poms to put at the top front of the slippers. The next year she decided that the women should all get hats that had bangles crocheted into them. I can't remember how many of those colored bangles I crocheted in, but I do know that they were the trend that year...anyone who was anyone wore them.
I became well known by the neighbors as the kid who could crochet anything...well, the next thing I knew....I was getting orders from neighbors to crochet baby blankets, baby sweater sets and countless numbers of scarves.
When I was 16, one of my boy cousins asked me to crochet a granny square blanket for his girlfriend. He bought all the yarn...white, pink and hot pink, and I made him the blanket to give her for Valentines day. Looking back now...I never charged him a penny for it....boy did he get a deal. Well, that is what families did for family in those days. He has since passed on and I wonder whether she still has that blanket?
I learned to crochet with every type of yarn there is...I learned to read every type of imaginable pattern made....and just this year, I have been teaching a very dear friend to crochet. She is much younger than myself and it is such a rewarding moment to see her accomplish a project. It is so nice to see someone in the younger generation become in love with the art. I learned early on to knit....but it was never a love for me. My mother, on the other hand was a phenomenal knitter.
I remember, about 20 years ago, she bought this very expensive fuchsia colored yarn and knitted me the most intricate, beautiful sweater I ever saw. I LOVED that sweater. One day I put in in the washing machine with WooLite on a delicate cycle....my husband, trying to be helpful...unbeknownst to me...put it in the dryer....well, that gorgeous piece of artwork could now fit a 1 year old baby. I could have strangled him...I never told my mother, because she would have been devastated...all that work....I threw it away. I wish now I would have framed it as a keepsake, especially now that mom has passed away. I most recently received her knitting needles. I would have shadowboxed the sweater with the needles and a picture of her, but hindsight....such a great thing, but doesn't solve the problem. I am still crocheting and selling my things...I still make gifts for friends and loved ones. Who would have ever thought that yarn would make up a story...and what is even funnier is the reference to telling a story is sometimes referred to as spinning a yarn. Guess it's a good topic, but even more so for a storyteller.