Thursday, September 6, 2007

Missing craft folk

Every year, we seem to be getting farther and farther away from the arts and crafts that defined us as a nation. The few people who know how to make a quilt anymore only do it to make artwork, not as a means to keep warm. Granted, these quilts are beautiful and are treasured by the recipients, but they are put away or displayed and not used. My grandmothers both made me quilts when I was a kid. One had a very simple butterfly cutout on a white block. My Grandma had me draw the butterfly for the pattern without telling me what it was for. My other grandma gave me the last last quilt that my grandpa helped her to piece together before he died. While they are very special to me, they would lose some of their meaning if I just stored them away. My mother even tried her hand at quilting once. She made me a Dutch Girl quilt made from scrap pieces from my baby clothes. My daughter has slept under it since she first moved out of her crib. She will be going to college in a year or two and has already told me that if it is still holding together she will be taking it with her.

Me, I don't have the patience to quilt. I crochet. I have made afghans for all of my family, my friends, my daughter's friends. I even started one for her first boyfriend. They broke up before I finished it. Oh well.

I tried to teach my daughter to crochet. She wanted to learn. It was a frustrating experience for both of us. She doesn't have the patience to sit still long enough and still pay attention to what she is doing. Where I on the other hand, go into an almost Zen like state and can only teach by showing. She didn't get it. She really wants to, but her talent lies elsewhere. I can watch TV, hold a conversation, and crochet at the same time. She can draw, write and play her viola. But not at the same time.

Yes, I know it is easier to go to your local Megamart and buy a blanket if you are cold, or buy one of the thousands of "throws" available with your favorite sports team, favorite holiday, favorite bible verse, or favorite pet. But where is the love that goes into it? An Army surplus wool blanket can keep you warm, but a hand made quilt or afghan is like a hug every time you use it. And that is what you are giving someone when you give them something you made yourself.

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