5 Bloggers Share Crafty Mom Memories
Crochet Is Passed Down Through the Generations
By Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence
“Every time crocheting gets labeled cool or trendy, someone somewhere, who I am sure thinks that he or she is being very clever and original, says, ‘This is not your grandmother’s crochet!’ Like that’s a good thing. One of the things I like about crochet is that my mother did it, and my grandmother probably did, too. I personally don’t want to disengage from Granny but to take her work and move forward from it.” – Mary Beth Temple, Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot
As Mother’s Day approaches, several crocheters look back on the role that their crafty moms played in developing their own love of crochet. My mom played an important part of my personal crochet history so I’ll share my story with you today and then I’ll let you know what the other crocheters I talked to had to say about their lovely moms.
My Story, My Mom
My own mom has played a key role in my crafting journey. She always encouraged my siblings and I to explore varied interests, including artistic and creative interests, and she was the first one to take us to a craft store to buy the supplies for any craft that might pique our curiosity. I remember her teaching me to crochet a chain when I was little and I crocheted a yellow chain that must have been miles long.
The craft didn’t stick at the time but two decades later when I was battling severe depression I remembered how much I’d liked crafting and thought that crochet was something that I could do to help heal myself. My mom took me right back to the craft store at this adult age, bought me some yarn and tried to teach me how to crochet from a combination of her memories and her vintage magazines. I ended up having to teach myself using kids’ crochet books that were more my beginner speed but I was right; crochet saved my life. And mom was supportive.
My mom had crocheted when I was very young, even younger than when she had first taught me how to do that chain. She created a big checkerboard blanket that I could sit on when I was just a small baby. In the intervening years she had stopped crocheting but after seeing it do so much for me she started again. She and my sister and I crocheted one of those same checkerboard blankets together. She also crocheted one recently as a gift. However the real gift was the way she brought crochet into my life and I brought it back into hers!
Stacey Trock of FreshStitches also learned the crochet chain from her mother when she was a little girl. She shared:
“My mom is an avid crocheter, and has been crocheting my whole life. In this photo, I'm 5 years old, sitting in her lap, watching her crochet. It's around the same time that she taught me to chain ... so I could make crocheted creations of my own! Over time, she taught me to single crochet, double crochet and increase. Who knew it'd be a skill that would turn into a profession?”
Stacey is a great asset to the crochet world. She is a blogger, craft author, pattern designer and podcaster who specializes in creating fun crochet stuffed animals. Like all of us featured in this article, there’s no way to know if this could have happened without the support of her mom!
Pat Ahern is a California based crochet artist who does amazing work in craft portraiture. He uses crochet to create both 2D and 3D portraits, working on both close-up detailed facial portraits and full-length (sometimes even life-sized!) portraits. Not only did he learn to crochet from his mother, she continues to have a hands-on role in his work today.
“I learned to both knit and crochet from my mother during my last year of high school. She taught me because I wanted to make stuff for a girl; I never got the girl but I kept the craft. I started out making wearables but quickly found that I liked using crochet to create wall art and then eventually portraits. The most important things I learned from my mom about crochet were maintaining gauge and the nature of stitches. These are the focus of every pattern; my tapestries are patterns.
Some of the best memories I have are crocheting and knitting with my mom. I remember learning how to crochet from her and being extremely frustrated that I couldn't just get it done. It seemed like an easy craft from watching her crochet but all the stitches were foreign to me. I remember how patient and understanding she was. She would empathize with me and just told me this is what it was like; you're going to make mistakes and you'll be able to fix them the more you crochet. I teach people the same way she taught me. Her encouragement gave me confidence and made me the crafter I am today. I owe her my life, again!
My mom will always craft. She’s a master knitter, crocheter and seamstress. In addition to selling felted purses, kids’ aprons and blankets on her Etsy store, she’s the one who makes things for the whole family! She designed the sewn backing for all of my portraits (and made all of them) and she continues to inspire me.”
One of the ways that Pat was able to honor his mom’s inspiration is that he crocheted a portrait of her based on a picture form when she was younger.
Anastacia’s Creative Family
Crochet blogger, teacher and designer Anastacia Zittel definitely has fond memories of her mom’s role in teaching her how to crochet. In fact, she has fond creative memories of her entire family. She shares,
“I was lucky enough to grow up in a crafty family – both grandmothers knitted and crocheted, and not only did my mom crochet, but my dad crocheted an afghan once, just to say he could. I don’t really remember learning to crochet, so much as my mother explaining how to read patterns (specifically granny squares) when I was 14. The lesson obviously took because 23 years later I’m still madly crocheting!”
Anastacia also shared that her grandmother always made granny square afghans or ripple afghans so whenever she herself makes afghans she always chooses designs based around those two things. Anastacia’s grandmother Ruth passed away from early onset Alzheimer’s; in her memory the designer donates a portion of her pattern sales to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Marinke Slump, better known as Wink to those who follow her blog A Creative Being uses crochet to help her connect to a broader community of people, something she has found difficult due to Asperger’s Syndrome. The community has become great fans of her work, particularly her crochet mandalas. She has her mother in part to thank, saying that her mom has always been one of the biggest creative influences in her life.
She adds: “I remember when I was young, there were paintings on the wall that she had made. One of them was an abstract with lots of little squares in it, and often we would sit in front of it and tell each other what we saw in them; like a plane, or skyscrapers.
My mom still paints, but has also recently found a love for crochet. Because she used to make us garments when we were little, she has a lot of knowledge about constructing clothes, and she uses that knowledge to her advantage when it comes to crochet. She makes the most amazing vests, sweaters, boleros and pretty much anything you can wear!”
You can see one of Wink’s Mom’s beautiful crochet boleros below. If you like boleros, another great pattern is the Basketweave Capelet by Mari Lynn Patrick (Sep./Oct. 2009).
Wink adds, “My mom likes to use very thin cotton thread for her projects. She's a very fast crocheter (I guess the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree!) so even though she uses a 2mm size hook, she still completes projects within no time. Since my mom started to crochet, it has become easier for me to find her suitable Mother's Day gifts!”
Crafty moms are definitely easy to buy gifts for; yarn, hooks and craft books make great Mother’s Day gifts. You could even get your crafty mom a gift subscription to Crochet Today! Or use your crochet skills to make a cute Mother’s Day card.
Just a few of the other crocheters we know who learned the craft from their moms are CrochetGeek Teresa Richardson, Rose AKA Yarnivore, artist Marie Bergstedt and crochet designer Monica Rodriguez Fuertes. Did you learn to crochet from your mom or grandmother?