I was thinking about it today, how I got started in crafts. Mainly because I was poking through all my mom's beads, thinking about other beads for MS4 and my Veil of Isis shawl (cause I'll make another one, I'm digging it). Hopefully everyone will get this, how I put my love of all things crafts.
I got started doing simple bead work around age 6 as a way to have another thing I could do with mom. Mom raised my sister and I on her own until I was 7, and between school and working full time, it was sometimes hard for her to want to play with us, our games. I had my sister for that, so it didn't matter much. But I wanted a connection with mom, and she used to do beading. We got me some big ol' pony beads, and away I went, stringing them, as though it was the most perfect thing in the world, cause I was spending time with my mommy. Skip ahead about 3 years, and I was doing bead weaving without a loom, which can boggle the minds of normal adults, so it's an accomplishment for a 9 year old.
Summer of '93 (I was 9), I learned how to crochet. Our roommates mom taught me one night on a trip to Wyoming. She never told me about turning chains, and that I didn't have to skip the first stitch of every row with single crochets, so I made a LOT of triangles. In fact all of my Barbies had aprons, and I was sewing them together in some cracked out quilt. But I had fun. I've since become a proficient crocheter, and will work with size 30 thread, and smaller. Again, it was something I could do with mom, though she wasn't doing it much than.
Skip to 7th grade (age 12) I learned how to spin on a spindle from my World History teacher, Mrs H Smith. She had brought in her spinning wheel to show the 8th graders, and had a spindle to let us use. I begged for a spindle and wool for Christmas, that was all I wanted. The entire family thought I was off my rocker, but mom went and talked to Mrs Smith and found out where she could get it for me. Christmas morning came, and I spun all day on this very nice Turkish spindle, and by the end of vacation I had over 100 yards of REALLY fat and lumpy yarn, but I was so happy. I crocheted Mrs Smith a little cup and felted it, for her pencils, as a thank you.
I stayed content with crochet and beading and spinning for a few years after that. I was in awe of my great grandma's knitting skills, but since she was in MI, and I was in CA, I couldn't have her teach me, and my mom couldn't remember the little she'd known. In my sophomore year of high school ('91) a friend learned to knit, and offered to show me. That didn't work well, cause she couldn't cast on, and if it hadn't been for Sister M (a sub teacher) I would have never learned than. But in 5 minutes the good sister had shown me to cast on, and how to make a knit stitch. By the end of class that day I had about 2 feet of garter stitch. I went home, and because I was out of yarn, I had to go online and find out how to cast off. Than I learned how to purl, and before the night was done, I had another swatch, this time with a weird mix of stockinette and just textures knitting. By the time the week was over I was playing with lace and cables.
I've knit blankets for friends, a sweater for a boyfriend (stupid curse), and so many baby things now it's scary. I've designed my own patterns, changed them, and through it all I still get that special rush I used to get when I was stringing beads with my mom, all those years ago. The feeling that I'm sharing something with those I love, and sharing a pastime with others around the world. You can do crafts alone, or in a large group, and you'll always be a part of something larger. When you give away a hand crafted item, it's not just about the cost of what it took to make it. You're giving away your time, and love to another person, which I feel is the greatest gift of all.
Ok, I hope that makes sense to all you readers. If nothing else, you get to learn a bit more about me. :) So it can't be that bad, right?