"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Where's the New Stuff?

I was born and raised in Manchester, NH as was my dad.  Mom's journey was a bit more involved, but she did most of her growing up there.  The core of my mother's side of the family, my grandparents, pretty much  stayed in Manchester, in the same neighborhood, for most of the time I remained in the city.  Dad's side spread all over, so I didn't get the benefit of their company except at weddings, funerals, and holidays.  No, my aim here is not to give you my complete life history, simply to segue into the reason that the following info may be terribly inaccurate.

Dad's sister (one of five) Irene lived with her husband and kids in Hampton, NH which was an hour drive from Manchester.  We weren't close in proximity or spirit, but here's what I've been able to piece together based on what I do know:  Auntie Irene was the quintessential craft lady.  Rather than work a typical 9 to 5 job, she worked from home where she raised two daughters and made extra income by selling her wares at craft fairs and shows.  Nearly every Christmas gift from my Aunt Irene was handmade, from the stocking knitted the year I was born, to the beautiful life-sized rag doll when I was about 3 or 4, to the giant stuffed peanut in honor of Jimmy Carter's election as president.  My cousins and I looked forward to Auntie Irene's creations every year and they were truly treasured objects meant to be used, played with, and eventually lost to years of loving wear.

The last gift I received before she and my uncle Romie retired to Florida was a cross stitch kit when I was 13.  Although I had already developed a healthy respect for handcrafts, thanks to my mothers talent for crochet and my father's for ceramics, this 3x5" kit was a catalyst for what would become a long-running love affair with cross-stitch embroidery.  Unfortunately, my eyes and hands are not what they once were and I am no longer able to produce items that require such detail, but I can contribute a few objects to entertain those of you who enjoy cross-stitching as much as I once did.  When I was cross-stitching regularly I loved that I could use such a simple process to embellish mundane items like kitchen towels and pot holders.

So why am I telling you all of this?  Truth be told, I'm hoping a somewhat interesting back story will be a sufficient substitution for new patterns, at least for now.  About a month ago I was inspired by a towel I  embellished nearly 20 years ago.  It's become so sad looking and worn that I wondered if I could create a version of my own.  Easier said than done.  This has become a much bigger undertaking than I expected.  As with any towel I design, I wanted to create a set that also included a pot holder and scrubby.  MAKING these projects has been a heckuvalot easier than translating the instructions into language simple enough for a crochet newbie, but I'm almost there and I hoped to have the whole set available before Thanksgiving.  (So much for THAT deadline.)  Of all my designs, this is the one that has required the most research, labor, time, and patience.  When you see the finished patterns, you'll understand, but here's a sneak peek at the works in progress:

This post, somewhat of a tribute to my Aunt, is significant on this of all days because we drove that sometimes treacherous 60 minutes from Manchester to Hampton every Thanksgiving morning to have dinner and spend a wonderful holiday with Dad's entire side of the family.  I've been told many a time that Mom went into labor (with me) right after one of those dinners, but that's a story for another time...maybe next year.  Happy Thanksgiving and much love to one and all.


  1. Thanks Meg! I'm not sure which I like better: the towel or the photo...LOL

  2. I agree. Photo and post are great.

  3. @JVoyage Thank you, and thank you for reading.