A Crafty Trip Down Memory Lane.

Nanna's handmade blankets

The first week of the summer holidays was a trip to Southampton. In between the obligatory trips to Toys R Us and Ikea there are the visits to family. I always go and see Nanna and Grandad. They both turned 90 in January and are still surprisingly independent (to be honest, I’m always expecting them to pop their clogs). On this visit we went through some of Nanna’s crafty gubbins and it triggered a nostalgic twinge.

nanna embroidery

Look at this! She embroidered this table cloth in 1945 and she said that she’d like to pass it on to me. I’m quite chuffed about that. It’s really very pretty. It needs a bit of cleaning (anyone got any advice on how I do that?). She stitched it whilst her brother-in-law was in hospital (he’d had his face torn apart by shrapnel).

Vintage flower embroidery

Who doesn’t love a bit of vintage embroidery?!

Nanna's flower embroidery.  table n flowers

Now that it’s the holidays I won’t have much time but I would love to try something like this. I do tinker with embroidery but don’t do masses of it. It’s another thing to add to the list.

knitting needles

She also decided she didn’t want her spare knitting needles anymore. This is daft because I’m sure she’ll want some of them back. Also, I am terrible at knitting.

She hasn’t given me the ones she regularly uses. I think these are all surplus. In amongst them is a tunisian crochet hook. I got quite excited about this as it coincides with the growing fancy that I want to learn a bit of that.

Old bag

Then there’s this awesome bag. It needs repairing but I think it’s pretty cool. I think she said a friend gave it to her, I’m not sure. My guess is 1970’s.

Madeira Madeira bag

I’ve got no clue how to fix the broken bits. To be honest I haven’t checked out how broken it really is. I can just see that the fabric is coming away from the baskety bit.

Nanna's patchwork blanket.

Upon returning home to Devon I went and rummaged in my own cupboards and dug out a few things.

Patchwork blanket

Nanna made this patchwork blanket for my 18th. For a good couple of years leading up to that birthday I’d see hexagons here and there and ask what they were for. She was always evasive and I wouldn’t get a straight answer, hah! I have to be careful with it, I think there might still be a pin lodged in the layers somewhere. I found about three when I got it and managed to get a couple out. I use it regardless, pins be damned. It is not quite twenty years of age.

Having made a patchwork bag using english paper piecing, I know how this sort of thing is a proper labour of love. And her hexies are smaller than mine!

nanna's crochet blanket.

This is the crochet blanket she made for my eldest boy just over seven years ago00000 when he was born. It’s a classic Granny and it is this blanket that made me go to my local wool shop and buy my first crochet hook!

My first bit of crochet

Rewind to some point in the 1980’s… This tatty looking thing above is the first piece of crochet I ever attempted. I made this foundation chain and decided that crochet was rubbish. I don’t think it helped that I was told that I must hold the hook a certain way (me n Nanna don’t agree on hook hold). Knitting was easier; I could make squares and scarves and things. This crochet failure was tied to the middle of a Nanna made crochet blanket that I had as a little girl. (I threw it away last year. It was stinky and holey. The foundation chain is the only bit that remains).

Nanna knitted baby blanket

She knitted this one, for Eldest boy also.

Marceline tortoiseshell

And as usual, the cat wanted in on it so she clambered on Nanna’s blankets and went to sleep.

I’m still feeling funny about old things (not Nanna and Grandad. The other stuff). I’ve been sorting through my old work from when I first started school. I blame going back to Southampton.

school work.

aeroplane museum This was when I went to the Hall of Aviation in Southampton (now called Solent Sky). I took my boys last week. Still awesome.

dolls wedding outfit

I don’t know if I blame Southampton that much. It might also have been before that because I asked my sister to dig stuff out a few weeks ago. I was watching the Sewing Bee and had begun to wonder when I first started sewing.

I used to sit for hours, hand sewing outfits and accessories for my Sindy. After a while I graduated to the sewing machine. I was around ten when I made this wedding outfit from the leftovers of my other sister’s christening gown. My step mum helped me do this as I don’t think I could have managed those sleeves alone. I think I need to ask Sister to go back in the loft to see if she has the red cordoury dress I made her for Christmas when I was twelve… I was dead proud of myself!

Handknitted dolls clothes.

What Sindy/Barbie wouldn’t want knitted clothes?! Some Nanna specials.

hand knitted dolls coat.

I particularly love this coat and I actually think my mum knitted this. It wasn’t passed on to my sisters, it was the only one I kept.

HAnd knitted baby blanket.

Speaking of my Mum. I’m fairly certain she made this one and the one below. One knitted, one crocheted. Both in the seventies, for my brother.  I’m sure she’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

Crochet baby blanket

She said this one wasn’t suitable in the end. Too many holes for baby fingers.

Anyway, I’m gonna go. I didn’t realise there was so much from the past that still exists. What the blazes am I gonna do with it all?! Hope there’re no ghostly cooties clingling on to all the dust.

22 thoughts on “A Crafty Trip Down Memory Lane.

  1. What a beautiful post full of memories. You can see where you get your talents from. How lucky that these items have been kept and passed to you and that you can still talk about them with your grandparents.

    1. Thank you. I don’t often think about it. I’m glad that, this time, I did! Even my grandad joined in, asking about the benefits of wooden knitting needles versus metal ones. I don’t think he was that interested the answer!

  2. I enjoyed this post. You come from a crafty family. Your grandmothers embroidery is gorgeous & that bag is fab!! I wish I took more notice of my granny doing embroidery it’s only now I am appreciating all the work involved

    1. Exactly! As a kid I thought a lot of it was boring and I was always encouraged to do things properly, which never helped! I definitely appreciate it more now.

  3. It’s so lovely that the interest and skills have been passed down ,hopefully one of your boys will be keen to learn. I love the tablecloth, did she do it free hand or draw out some kind of pattern/plan?

    1. They both have their moments. Every now and again they’ll twiddle a crochet hook or try sewing with felt but mostly it’s all about computer games.
      I think Nanna would have used a transfer for the embroidery. I had a look at some of the ones she’s still got stashed away. I’m not really sure how they work. Would they have had iron on ones in the forties?!

  4. Oh what a FABulous treasure trove!! Your nanna’s embroidery is exquisite. I’ve started collecting these sorts of things from my family and (when I get the courage) I’m going to cut them up and put them into a quilt. Then they’ll be used and admired instead of living in a cupboard. Enjoy your collection.

    1. Thank you! I know what you mean, I had that thought too but I’m not sure I can cut this one up. Maybe I’ll have to rescue someone else’s from charity shops and jumbles!

  5. Such a lovely collection of memories. The embroidery is so special and the blanket is a wonderful mix of fabrics We desperately need to sort out our loft and when that happens I’ll be travelling memory lane too. I’m rather sentimental and Hubby is worse than me so there’s an awful lot of stuff to sort through!

    1. I’m more sentimental than I thought I was. I can be ruthless too and go through phases where lots of things get binned. For this reason, there isn’t much more that I’ve got. Also, when I moved to Devon from Southampton (17/18 years ago) my mum chucked loads of my stuff out because I was a hoarder! I still miss my rabbit rucksack 🙁

  6. What a gorgeous collection of hand made goodies! I really enjoyed reading this post. My family is similar to yours, everyone made bits and pieces, and I was encouraged to do it too. I had hand knitted sindy and Barbie clothes, although I always coveted the shiny nylon ones in the shop! Now I appreciate what my Aunty made! I might go and have a rummage myself xx

    1. Shop bought doll clothes!! Yeah, I totally wanted those. I had a few outfits, some were quite snazzy. I don’t know if you could buy outfits that weren’t party clothes. Actually, I did have jodphurs and horsey top for Sindy, which I thought was brilliant (for some reason)!

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