Yarn handicrafts have stood the test of time. It has changed, as fashion has changed. It has had its seasons of prominence and it’s seasons of obscurity. For most of my youth, seemingly the only people who worked stitches with yarn were ‘old people’. Recently it seems to be coming back into trendy fashion, even macrame has made a reappearance. A newish fad is hand knitting. I have seen hand yarned scarves, mittens, tote bags. The Granny Square is still a crochet icon. There have been some odd appearances, such as the crochet face mask and knitted underwear. But there have been such interesting blankets! The temperature and mood blanket, where you stitch a different color each day and at the end of the year have 365 rows of memories. In my adulthood I have dabbled with knit and crochet. I’ve made scarves, baby booties and bibs, dish and face washing rags. A young friend confided in me the other day that hand crocheted washcloths are her most favorite to use. My daughter even crocheted a halter top. I thought that trend had surely died in the 70’s. Her top is much cuter than anything I have seen in a vintage crochet magazine.
What I have not seen in modern yarn craft are the dainty creations that I love. Doilies, especially. I see them at thrift and antique stores, and just have to ‘rescue’ them to bring home and enjoy. I see the hours of patient, tedious, skill woven into each one.
There is a sweet lady at our church who made little dainty crocheted Tea Cup and Saucers and brought them to a lady’s tea party event as door prizes. Immediately I asked her to teach me. The next time I saw her, she had hand written the instructions and placed them, along with one of her tea cups to use as a visual guide, in my grateful hands. I had a feeling I would need more help, my experience in reading crochet receipts is minimal. I did give it a fair try flying solo. I attempted several times to tackle it on my own. I got to the second row only! I needed help. I felt like if she could explain the instructions to me, I would be able to do the stitching.
Ms Cedessel, 88 years young, came over one Tuesday afternoon and sat with me patiently for over two hours while she talked me through the rows and rows of instructions. I knew I would see her Wednesday night at church, and promised to try my best at completing at least one tea cup and saucer. With her help, I finally understood the pattern and understood in my mind what the stitches were accomplishing. Wednesday morning I sat on my couch for hours and hours. I took apart more stitches than were in the finished project, starting over again and again on every row. I still missed one mistake, a set of five double crochet where there should only be four. I noticed this two rows late and decided it blended in well and to not take so much apart again! I was on a time crunch to finish. But I did accomplish the goal! I made one Tea Cup and Saucer!!
Ms Cedessel was very proud of me when I showed her my finished project. And I was quite excited that I was capable myself!! Thursday, I did not want to do anything except make another. And I did. With much less taking apart of the stitches. It still took me a few hours, but the joy of accomplishment made each minute, my aching hands and back, worth it.
My hope in asking for help, was that if she could teach me, it might boost my confidence and lead me to finally learning how to crochet the dainty doilies myself. Even if I am a one woman band, the only old soul spreading doilies all over her home, I want that art to stay alive in this world!
I am still a bit surprised I am able to make a nicely stitched tea cup and saucer, because since then I have been attempting some bookmark patterns and failing miserably. I may not be able to improve my skill much, the verdict is still out. I may only be good at tea cups and saucers! If so I will have to find a way to let my dream of doilies and bookmarks rest. I am not giving up yet. I will struggle along a bit more on own, and if needed I will ask my sweet friend for help again. I am so thankful for Ms Cedessel, and I hope I can teach a younger woman how to make dainty doilies one day… if not I know I can teach her how to make a Tea Cup and Saucer!