Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Bit of History

My mum was visiting recently and asked if I'd be interested in her bringing me this lovely wee outfit to photograph and pop on my blog.  The answer of course was yes please!  You see, my mum made this for me - and all this time I had never known.  Or more than likely I was told when I was younger but it never really sank in.  Sorry Mum!  But now that I'm totally addicted to crochet, I have realised that it was all around me as I grew up and I was pretty much destined to love it.  So yes, that's me in all my chubby cheeked cuteness wearing this beautifully made dress.  
We were hoping that Miss 4 could have worn this when she was tiny, but unfortunately she was such a reflux-y baby and constantly vomitting, I didn't want to risk it getting damaged.  I wish now that I'd at least tried it on her quickly and got a picture to compare to mine as a baby.  Darn it.  It's the sweetest pattern and considering it's 40 years old, it's aged so well.  Clever Mum!
Of course no photo session would be complete without my resident gatecrasher!  Seriously, how can Bella go from sound asleep on the bed to plonked on top of my photo subject in 5 seconds?  Funny.

So thinking about crochet and general craftiness, I thought it would be nice to have some crochet appreciation from across the decades.
My mum's mum, Nana S, made loads of giant granny square blankets which I am lucky to have three of.  Miss 4 likes this one to stay on the end of her bed.  She never got to meet either of her grandmothers so it's lovely when she calls this her Nana S's blanket, and talks about her as if they were best of friends.  Nana S also made lovely mini versions for my dolls bed which I still have too.  She also made the most gorgeous knitted teddy bears which I saved until I had children.  She also made me the most amazing reversible doll when I was younger but I don't have her anymore.  With a full circle skirt you couldn't see that there was another doll on the other side.  I can remember that one of the dolls had fabulous look earrings made of curtain hooks.  Boy my Nana was a clever lady.  I wish desperately that I could sit with both my Nanas now and have a craft session.  
Then there was my dad's mum, Nana M.  She taught me to crochet when I was about 7.  She made all her grand-daughters the most fantastic ponchos.  Mine was red with a white stripe and I absolutely adored it.  She also made a mini version for my teddy bear Marie.  Marie has worn that poncho as a skirt for the last 30 odd years.  You can see she has been very well loved and is looking more than a little worse for wear.  I can't part with her though.  My other nana, Nana S, actually sewed a red bodysuit onto Marie as I'd loved the stuffing right out of her!!

Soon after learning to crochet, I won a peggy square competition at the local wool shop, with my winning granny square!  I was beyond excited and took home a big bag of blue wool that I got to choose all by myself, and a latch hook set with a huge frog picture.  I can still remember how proud I was.

But somewhere around 10 years old I'm guessing, I didn't want to do any of that crafty stuff anymore and promptly forgot all about it until a few years ago when suddenly I had the urge to re-learn.  So off I trotted to the shops and bought a 'how-to' book and a crochet hook.  It took a few days to get back into it and the stitch names confused me terribly (I still have them all written in a notebook in step-by-step directions!).  It's all history now though - I can't imagine ever wanting to stop.
So while I was thinking about all of this childhood stuff, it reminded me of my Nana S's pikelets.  Hers were just the best.  My mum makes them now and has given me the recipe.  They are amazing and really easy to whip up.  Perfect with jam and cream.  Mmmmmm.  My memories of pikelets being made when I was small are still fresh in my mind - the smell filled the house.  I was always allowed to help with the sifting, but my main job was to be in charge of the tea towel.  That meant lying it across the cake rake, then lifting it up to receive the cooked pikelets, gently placing the tea towel back down to cover them, and waiting patiently for the next lot.  The last of the mixture was always used to make an L and an S shaped pikelet for my brother and I.
Mmmm bubbly goodness.  Lots of bubbles means they're ready to flip.  I even cooked them in Nana S's old skillet pan. 
 Here they are all tucked up under their tea towel cover.  I'm getting hungry just looking at this picture!
Blanket progress is coming along beautifully.  It's getting to the point that a photo each week is looking not a lot different from the week before so I won't bore you.  I have been making more earrings and the best news of all - I've sold my first pendant!  That totally motivated me to set up a wee online shop at Felt which is a gorgeous website for handmade products.  I've popped a button on my sidebar but you can find me here.  I will list some more crochet items soon and keep my fingers crossed that someone actually wants to buy something!! It's all good fun in the meantime.
I'm off now to finish this little project.  I bought this yesterday at Spotlight.  Then I spent about half an hour working out how to put it together as there were no instructions.
With the help of a lot of glue, it's complete and just needs to be prettied up.  Scrapbook paper here I come! It will be perfect to house all my little jewellery making bits and pieces.  I'll show you the finished look next week.

Have a fabulous week!  See you soon.



  1. What a great story about the crafty women in your family! It's wonderful that you are keeping these art forms alive so your children can appreciate them too. That bear of yours was sure well loved! I love the poncho as a skirt idea! Your pikelets look delish, kind of like pancakes right? I like jam on them too. Off to check out your shop linky. Enjoy your day!

  2. How lovely to trace back your crafty lines in your family. My mum has crocheted, knitted and sewed ever since I can remember. She is one amazing woman! So special that your girls are appreciating your Nana's beautiful makes too.These will be like family heirlooms one day xox Amazing how, now that we are older do we only begin to appreciate the wonderful things our mum's and grandmother's did for us. I love the way history repeats itself.
    Well done on selling your first pendant they are very sweet indeed and the earings lovely too xxx Have fun making more hooky goodies for your Felt shop x Penelope

  3. what a lovely post- isnt it neat to think about all the people looking at your Nana's crafting on your blog- their crafting still being appreciated after all these years! I shared a beautiful embroidery cross stitch sampler my nana stitched about 30 years ago and it was really neat t think of her and read the lovely comments people made about her work. Just wish she was still around to read them herself!

  4. Yeah, I remember my great aunt trying to teach me how to crochet when I was a much less focused person. Which is saying something. I learned how to chain, but never figured out anything else. I just picked it back up this past fall, and I'm really enjoying it. Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. oh god pikelets! *salivating*

    I'm about to embark on my first ever venture of making baby clothes - your mum's work is lovely!

  6. This is so beautiful!!!
    I love family history crochet, it's warmer and nicer than anything else. and crochet with a story rocks!!
    I have blankets made my Gran which I treasure, and I love to think about my blankets being treasured by my kids kids and so on

  7. What a lovely post, I have some bits and pieces that my Grandmothers made and I love having them around, even if I just catch sight of them in my linen cupboard.
    Your red bear is adorable, I've certainly got my, rather the worse for wear, bedtime bear in my room. He's still keeping an eye on me (just one eye though, I don't know where the other one went)!

  8. What a lovely story; it reminds me of my Nanny. I miss her so much. She taught me to knit and to make bakestones (Welsh cakes) on a cast iron bakestone. I have a cuddly cat whose body had to have a knitted cover because I had cuddled away her real one.

  9. I love posts like this. This is why I love blogging. When you are long gone the memory of your Grandma's will be here for your very own great grandchildren.

    It's so wonderful that you have so much hand made stuff from your child hood. I have nothing at all. It all got binned as we moved so much and each move meant things got thrown so we could hire the smallest and cheapest lorry. Breaks my heart!


  10. Oh LEah, what a wonderful post filled with lots of memories, and all that crocheting going wonder you have the crochet bug...
    And huge congratulations on opening a shop, we both seem to of done the same thing this week, we must of been in tune with one funny....i hope you sell loads and loads of your beautiful jewellary, i mean, who could resist those earrings ...
    Big hugs and congrats x x xx Pixie

  11. Oh my goodness last night I was flicking thru an old & somewhat tattered knitting & crochet pattern booklet that my M-i-L recently gave me (she had to give up the needles & hook years ago due to arthritic hands) & it had patterns for what look like the same dress, bootees & hat, along with some matching mittens, the only real difference that I can see is that the ones in the booklet are trimmed with ribbon.

    It's lovely that you can trace your love of yarn craft back like that.

    I'm currently trying to teach my eldest niece the basics of crochet...not assited by the fact that she has the attention span of a goldfish & that she is a leftie & I'm a rightie...she is so enthused by the idea though that I felt I couldn't refuse :o)

    I did discover tho in the process that I can chain stitch left-handed, will have to see if I can manage any stiches too, who knows I may be able!

  12. How lovely to have all that history to look back on! My family are all knitters so I have lots of knitty memories- lots of dresses for my Sindy doll and even a knitted football kit for my brother's Action Man!
    I love those earrings- you are doing such a clever lady! I bet you'll sell loads.

  13. Oh how did I miss this post. Gorgeous honey! You are so lucky having all those wee bits of history to hang onto, and yes that outfit your mum made looks amazing (still looks new!) Yum to piklets. I'm so pleased you have started your felt shop, your jewellery always looks so beautiful xxx Kylie

  14. What a gorgeous post hon and weren't you a really cute little baby! I can see so much similarity between you and your wee boy in that photo...adorable! OMG and I remember the red poncho - it was fabulous and I know a certain Miss P coveted it at the time, lol. Have a great week sweetie. Becks xxx

    P.S. I have a customer for you...will email soon. x

  15. Gorgeous Leah ! I'm finally going to teach myself crochet. I Bought a hook and some wool and I'm sooo excited :)

  16. I've got a baby top just like yours! It's a happy yellow colour with yellow buttons down the middle. When I look at the neckline and see how tiny it is (doll sized!), I'm amazed how I ever fitted into it.


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