Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 39, 61 to go: more crocheting

Still working on that lacey hat.  It doesn't look like a hat yet, so I will hold off posting pictures until it does. 

We had a lovely, raucous Christmas Eve gift exchange tonight with all of my siblings—including one who was with us via Skype.  I wish we had had Skype when we were kids so we could have gotten to share Christmas Eve with our cousins who were back in the Motherland of New Jersey while we were living around the burgh.

Thank you Miss Lily!
Miss Lily surprised and delighted me by picking out a Christmas present for me at her school’s Secret Santa shop.  Her mother says this was all her idea.  Aren’t these fuzzy pink socks adorable?  We are pink-loving buddies, I guess.

She got a learn-to-knit kit for Christmas.  She wants to learn to knit and crochet.  Her mom (Borg #6 of 8) is an awesome crochet-er, but there is a little problem.  Lily is right-handed and her mom is a hardcore lefty. 

I would just like to point out here that her mother can crochet because I taught her, despite the fact that I am right-handed.  I had been showing my youngest sisters how to crochet, but she wasn’t really getting it.  Usually lefties are good at turning right-handed things around in their heads to figure out how to do a task lefty because they do it their whole lives.  But she couldn’t quite get the crocheting.  So I did.  I managed to hold the needle, yarn and work the way a lefty would.  It was awkward and slow.  I only managed to do it for a few stitches, but that was all it took.  She just needed to see the way her own hands would hold it. There are a lot of moving parts to crocheting.  You really do need to see it in motion a few times.  After she had those basics down, she could "translate" more stitches for herself.
And boy did she go to town after that.  She crocheted afghans for King sized beds for herself and a couple of our sisters.  I have crocheted a lot, but nothing on her scale.  She got really good and prolific.  I am thrilled that Lily wants to learn.  So, tomorrow I am going to take some yarn and my needles over to the family Christmas gathering at my sister’s (#2 of 8) and sit with Lily and see what we can learn.  The kit she got has nice big chunky knitting needles and fat pink yarn, which will be fun to make a scarf out of.  I’d like to start her with crocheting though, because I think it’s easier to learn to handle the yarn and one needle before moving on to knitting with two needles that don’t have a hook on them.

Stockings hung by the chimney with care...
This is a picture of something I made a long time ago which has come to symbolize Christmas at my mom's.  In the late 70s, I was inspired by the idea that Santa had 8 reindeer and my mom has 8 kids.  I made felt stockings with a silhouette of Santa's sleigh for my mother’s stocking and then silhouettes of reindeer on each of the kids’ stockings so that when they all hang in a row like this, it creates the tableau of Santa’s sleigh being pulled by Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and the rest of the team.  (This was so long ago, I made a 9th reindeer with a red nose for Grandma's stocking--she died when I was in college.) The felt stockings were smaller, decorated with glitter and quickly wore out. I remade them about 25 years ago in cotton velvet with red flannel cuffs --leaving out the disco-era glitter.  I still love the way they hang here under the crèche figures. They seem timeless to me. 

I love my sister's handiwork.
When our nieces and nephews came along, one of my little sisters (#7 0f 8) took up the stocking-making gauntlet and made these for them.  So even though I didn't make these, I am including them here because I am so proud of her. (And relieved that someone else took up this task.  At the time, we had no idea the number of grandchildren would stop at a mere 11) The grandkid stockings hang on the banister in the front hall--the fireplace being pretty much at capacity.  I love the way she embroidered the names of each child in glittery white floss on the cuffs. Grandma would be as proud as I am to see her seamstress legacy carried on into a third century.

Merry Christmas!

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