Nan’s handiwork

Tuesday would have been my maternal grandmother’s 85th birthday, and I thought this week would be a good time to show off some of her handiwork on my blog.

Here I am with my Nan and Gramps in their backyard. This would be a year or two after she taught me to crochet.

I was inspired by Barbara from Made in K-town‘s recent posts (#1 and #2) featuring her grandmother’s crochet to do a post highlighting some of my Nan’s work.  My Nan was an amazing needle artist.  She was an accomplished seamstress, a machine-like knitter and crocheter, and also enjoyed embroidery now and again.  My Mom and her youngest sister picked up the sewing, but neither really took to crocheting or knitting.  As a kid, my Nan taught me to crochet, knit, sew, and embroider, but the only thing that really stuck was the crochet.  (I picked up the other crafts again as an adult.)

Here I am with my Nan at my junior high school graduation. I’m wearing a super cool dress designed and made by my mom.

And I here I am with my Nan at my college graduation. (I didn’t crop it because I thought her half smile could easily be explained by the horrific mess in my dorm room!  I won’t even pretend it was only that messy because I was moving out.)

For some reason, in the mid-’80s I staged individual photo shoots starring each of my stuffed animals at this table setting. (Have I mentioned yet that I was a weird kid?)  Here is one such photo featuring a bear made by my Nan.

Here is another photo featuring one of my Nan’s famous crocheted bears.

I have only a few of my Nan’s creations in my apartment.  On Wednesday, MC and I walked over to Central Park and I took some photos of them – kind of an updated picnic version of the childhood photos above ;).

I love the character on this bear’s face. And he looks pretty good considering he’s probably in his 30s!  My cat likes to sleep in his lap, too.

My Nan knit the blocks for this name pillow for me when I was an infant, but didn’t sew everything together until much later.

My Nan was infamous for leaving pins on the floor by her sewing machine cabinet.  In fact, she had  rule that you could never go barefoot in her house and always had to wear slippers.  She would say it was because it wasn’t sanitary to bring feet that touched the floors into bed (even though she kept the house immaculate), but I think the real reason was so that we wouldn’t end up with pins in our toes.  When I brought this pillow from my Mom’s to my apartment, I discovered there was still a pin or two embedded in the stuffing :).

This little guy is pretty cute. Maybe all of these little bears are why I like amigurumi!

It’s amazing how much joy a handmade gift can bring, even many years after it has been given.  Each one also holds some really cool memories.  What’s your favorite handmade memory?

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