Tuesday, March 31, 2009


IMG_5486,originally uploaded by JenNZL.

So after the granny-square blanket fiasco of last week, I came home and ruminated on why I want to collect other people's cast-offs. Why? Really?
Part of it is that whole craft-orphan thing - it doesn't seem right that something that had so much work put into it ends up turfed out in a bag destined for the Sallies. Who knows where these things have been? I mean that in both the "ick...who knows where this has been" sense and also the "wow...I really wonder where this has been" sense. Whose lap it has warmed at the end of a long life; who has it covered and comforted on the couch while watching daytime TV and pulling a sickie; what is the provenance of the scraps of yarn - what memories were evoked each time someone saw these little reminders of garments long since outgrown? I'm really drawn to the history of handmade stuff, since it is just that - handmade. It's spent so long in someone else's hands, being slowly and lovingly crafted, stitch by stitch.
Anyway, without wanting this post to end up overly sappy, it got me thinking. I particularly love the old crocheted blankets my grandmother and great aunts made, because they are imbued with meaning that is precious and specific to me, to our family. There's a bit of the fluffy pink jumper that Grandma made me when I was 6 or something, that ended up with moth holes through it. There's some ugly mustard coloured wool I remember from some 1970s crocheted monstrosity. There's fluoro wool...and if that ain't a memory of the 1980s, then I don't know what is.
So I decided to start my own little piece of history. The plan (a plan which resides on my very long list of "stuff I would like to do/have/be in a perfect world where I'm a domestic goddess and my tidy-but-not-OCD house is filled with lovingly handmade deliciousness and I bottle all my own fruit") is to make a simple, cheery, crocheted afghan to live on the couch, made from bits and pieces left over from garments I've made for the kids. I'm chipping away at it slowly, but that's ok. I've decided to embrace the slowness of creating it, since I hope it will have a long and fruitful life ahead of it.


  1. I really understand that sentiment. Part of the reason I kept Miss Smith's quilt (which she doesn't love, but I do) is that it has so much history in it - my intermediate school uniform, a number of failed teenage sewing projects, my sister's bridesmaid's dress. It's a living connection with previous life stages, and it becomes a rich tapestry of a experience.

  2. What a special idea!! Love it

  3. I love that you love it though, Mary Anna.

    And I totally understand the loving-the-cast-off thing, so I'm right with you on that one Ms Hemming.

    And I just want to say that I bottled some fruit this week.