Monday, April 23, 2012

On my Gramma

You know that bumper sticker, or license plate frame, that declares "She Who Dies With the Most Fabric Wins"?

My Grandma won. Sorry.

It wasn't hard for her. A near lifetime of collecting fabric, buttons, appliques, knitting needles, embroidery hoops, pattern books, ric rac and trim, thread... Well, kind of a lifetime, because she really did use it up. So when my cousin and I were clearing out her stash, we didn't come across any amazing vintage finds. We found recent stuff, because she was always crafting and using her stash. Even after she lost her home to foreclosure during the housing crunch, she was still attempting to make quilts in her cramped motor home that would become final place she lived.

In the late 70s and early 80s, I think it was, she owned a yarn and knitting shop downtown. I often wonder, as her oldest grandchild born in 1980, if I'm her only grand kid to remember it.

When I was a little girl, probably around 8 or 9, she worked at a local fabric shop. They held a sewing class for little girls, and of course Gramma had my cousin and I participate. We made pillowcases, one of the first things I ever sewed.

She was the fabric lady at our local WalMart. That was the job she held technically until she died, although she'd been on leave since the football-sized cancer next to her lungs sent her to the hospital months before.

That's one reason she comes up so often on this blog. Much of my knitting and sewing is stash-busting my Gramma's stash. And she taught me everything I know when it comes to knitting and sewing and crafting in general.

But even if I didn't inherit a large part of her stash (about three Rubbermaids of fabric, various notions, knitting needles, at least one Rubbermaid of yarn-- I even took a bunch of her clothes), and even if she'd never taught me anything, it's still her that I inherited my creativity from. She loved decorating her home with things she'd made and made over, long before DIY was a "thing" with countless mommybloggers mommyblogging about it. She toll painted, she  made cheese, she tatted, she made the BEST candy.

Don't get me wrong; she wasn't all about sewing, knitting, cooking, homemaking, and crafting. She'd mastered all of the things a woman of her era was expected to master, but was far from old fashioned. She loved to travel and did so independently. She loved books and even worked at a bookstore or two-- mysteries were her favorite, and again it's her I inherited my love of Science Fiction from. She wrote stories, and even full books that were never published. She was entrepreneurial and an excellent businesswoman. She'd even gone to school for accounting. And she did it all while wearing red lipstick. (I even created a pinboard with all of her interests.)

Of course, lots of people have Grammas or Nannas or Nonnies or Grams whom they love and cherish. But I especially miss mine, and can only hope she would like what I'm creating from her stash.

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