Thursday, December 23, 2010
Remembering my Yiayia
In late September my Grandmother died. Although she was very far away, she was someone I spent a lot of time with over the years, as a child and as an adult. She was 96 years old and in the nearly 39 years that I knew her I have no memories of her knitting, weaving, spinning or crocheting--and yet she did all those things, probably primarily before I was born.
The last time I saw her I was still in a cross stitch/embroidery phase and had only recently learned to knit. She could not believe I was wasting my time working on projects for others. She did not understand that for me, the craft was a way to relax, or to give my hands something to do. To her these activities were done to clothe her family, by necessity. If she did not weave her floors and beds would be bare. If she did not knit and spin her children would not have socks. Once these items became readily available and affordable at the local stores the hand work became less of a necessity. In this new world of washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and inexpensive clothing, etc. we did not have the same view of hand crafts.
And yet when my Mom looked through my Grandmother's things she found the following:
It is very possible they have not been used in 50 years, but there they were. My Mom has many memories of my Grandmother weaving and knitting, but she has only a few memories of her spinning. The shuttle is missing the part to hold yarn. The spindles are quite worn. But to me they are treasures. My Mom gave them to me because she knew I would treasure them--she doubts any other family members would even know what they are. Like my Grandmother's curved steel dp knitting needles (with a crochet hook on one end) they are a small link to my past and my family's history, and the history of fiber crafts.
I will remember all the funny stories she told, her wicked temper and the delicious bread she baked for me. And I will wonder about the yarn she spun and the items she made.