Thursday, June 02, 2005

About Grandma

My Grandma Anne has been a huge influence in my life, regarding textiles and many other facets of womanhood. She now lives with my dad and stepmom, making the transition from her independant life to that time when she shouldn't be left alone. Part of that transition has been cleaning out her home. And that's what I did with my holiday weekend.

Grandma's passion is lace crochet.

Believe me, this is a fraction, a mere drop, in the body of work my Grandma has generated. She didn't just make a doily. She made sets of doilies....and maybe a coordinating table cloth. She made curtains. She used chunkier yarns, too. Her couch often sported new matching afghans. The number of crocheted slippers and blankets for the VA hospital renders one speechless.

She could chain smoke, talk on the phone, armchair coach the Chicago Cubs, keep a toddler from breaking knick-knacks, and whip up lacey confections all at the same time. Many of her patterns were memorized. Her attention to detail never slacked.

And she worked full time, often overtime.

Grandma worked for General Foods. Her job was to seal bags of dogfood, either with glue or with thread. You know the string that holds a bag of pet food closed? It's cotton, right? Well, why pay for cotton when your employer is throwing away perfectly good end spools of it right before your eyes?

Grandma had stashed enough dog food cotton thread to crochet lace to the moon and back. If you look closely, you can see one of her favorite hooks, with the handle wrapped in medical tape (now yellowed with smoke stains) for better ergonomics.

Don't get me wrong. Being SuperWoman had its price and Grandma certainly paid in full. But, as my dad often says,'That was then and this is now'. And right now, as I contemplate the care that went into each little stitch, I love my Grandma. And I know she loves me back.


Debra said...


Fabulous that you have the legacy of that incredibly productive woman. All that is impressive.

Excuse me if I ask a personal question, but I was looking at the picture of you two. Does she have now Alzheimers? (there is something very familiar in her expression... she looks like my mother did...).

Gerrie said...

OMG! These pictures bring back so many memories for me of work that one of my aunt's did!!

teri springer said...

How lucky to have your grandmother still alive. She must have been a child bride! If my youngest grandparent was still living (mom's mother) she would be 102. I sure miss her!!


maureen said...

Love the story of your Grandmother and that lifetime of work and crochet, especially from the dog food thread! My mother is 93 with dementia now, but after a lifetime of sewing, crochet, etc. her fingers constantly 'fiddle' as if she is still crafting. Heart-breaking!
Give your gran lots of hugs from your readers!

Barbara said...


How fabulous to see and hear all about your grandmother. Reminds me of my grandmother. I, too, have tons of lace and other projects. You name it, she made it. I have scads of supplies and half-finshed projects, too. Sadly, my grandmother had Parkinson's and spent the last fifteen years of her life doing nothing. I still miss her. Thanks for the memories!!

Anonymous said...

Cat, well done.... I love you...