Wednesday, May 27, 2009

finding Granny in the pin box

I just opened a box of straight pins to find that they smelled like my Granny. Even though my great-grandma (Granny), great-grandpa (Papa), and grandma (Aileen) lived together the entire time I was growing up, to me this smell brings back memories of her. It brought back days spent at their house - summers, afternoons after school - sitting at the sewing machine in Aileen's bedroom (I call her by her name, though when I was really little, it was "Ateen."), learning how to thread a bobbin or make a pillow or working on a project from my middle school home-ec class. Granny used to make a lot of what she wore, and as far back as my memory stretches, this was usually housecoats. Even during the winter, she would putter around the house in those cotton and polyester frocks, with nothing underneath but underwear and thin socks pulled over her ankles. I know, before me, she used to spend more time at the sewing machine. Photos seem to be proof of this.

Now, in my house about 45 minutes outside of where I grew up, I am surrounded by all of her sewing things - the old wooden Singer with the wrought iron peddle; her sewing box that's now filled with brooches, many of which were also hers; thimbles, needles, pincushions, seam rippers, and little boxes overflowing with all sorts of sewing treasures. Using these things makes me feel that I'm still connected to her, that I am carrying on a piece of her life, doing something she would understand and be proud of. This feeling - and that smell in the pin box - is such a comfort to me.

Next to the pin box are two flowers Granny crocheted. I have several more of these, and for a long time, I've been wanting to figure out how to make some like it. My friend Shanna and I went to Granny's house for a lesson one summer during high school, but she absolutely couldn't remember what she did to make them! There is still some hope, though - my friend and fellow fibers artist, Melissa Terry, is trying to decipher the stitch pattern. I have my fingers crossed!

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