my crafty heritage

Here some photos of the crafty goodness that we were packing up at Gramma’s house. This is, quite literally, the tip of the iceberg. I have boxes of heirlooms coming my way and I will take more photos of them later to share.

Gramma made all of these:

She started weaving at the senior center. her dad wove, too, here is his loom:


She never used it very much because it’s only a four harness and she couldn’t get the diversity of patterns that she wanted to do. This is a classic Gramma story: she loves the setup of the project more than the making. She can’t understand why some people are satisfied making yards and yards of plain cloth: she wants to do the math and to figure out how to make her pattern. The weaving is almost incidental, and not as fun. Another classic story: she was told once that with the type of loom she was using, she couldn’t weave a checkerboard pattern. She wanted to make us all cloth checkerboards, so she said “oh, yeah?” and then figured it out. Coup!

On his loom, my great-grandfather Elmer wove rugs. He bought the loom at a sale or something and fixed it up and was quite prolific. You can see two peaking in the bottom of this photo:
hooked and braided rugs

the other two rugs were made my my great-grandmother. she hooked a lot of rugs and braided even more. When I was in Tennessee two years ago, my Gramma and I cleaned out a big wardrobe in the basement that was stuffed full with old wool clothes that my great-grandmother had bought at rummage sales or by the pound to cut into strips and hook rugs. It was amazing. Rug hooking is a fabulous art and I would really like to have the time to learn it. This rug is my favorite:

flower rug

but these two are really nice too:
hooked rugs

besides the weaving, and the traditional grandmother crafts plastic canvas needlework and making dolls, Gramma also sewed many of her clothes. here is her work area, in a corner of her bedroom:
sewing area

that’s a table sewing machine in the corner. there are a bunch of other really old sewing machines around the house, like this one in the middle bedroom:

and this one in the corner of the garage:

the spinning wheel in the photo above doesn’t seem to work, and I can’t tell if it’s missing a piece or not. it might be functional, or decorative. I am not sure.

My great-grandfather Elmer was really good with wood, too. he built this organ from a kit

and also built two appalachian dulcimers from scratch – you can see one on the bench of the organ, but I didn’t get a good photo of either of them. Uncle Rick says he can remember him soaking and bending the wood to get the pieces bent, and how he built a special jig guide to get the pieces perfectly symmetrical. I am getting one of the dulcimers. If you don’t know, it has three strings. you note on the first string and the other two are drone strings that are usually tuned to a 5th chord. I used to play with the dulcimers a lot when I was a little girl, and everyone remembered that about me and asked me to take one. sniff.

Elmer was also into painting. Actually, he did just about anything he could with his hands, apparently. here are two of his paint by numbers:



Our crafting tradition is really strong – besides my LastName family living in the hills of Tennessee for hundreds of years and being from strong DIY farmer stock, I also have a beautiful tradition through my Grandmothers’ side of the family of woodworking, fabric crafts, and paint-by-numbering. It is a very rich heritage that I’m so thankful for. I am gifted with the attitude that I can do anything I think I should be able to do. I call it stubbornness, and I would say it came directly from my sweet Gramma.