Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

On First Getting Hooked

I was first introduced to crochet at my Grandmother's knee. She worked very fine crochet with small hooks and produced table runners and dressing table sets of gossamer quality. She learned from her own mother, who was a child in the 1870's, and who probably learned from her mother in turn. My Great-grandma had ten children, six of them girls, and my Gran would tell me tales of how her mother used to make their clothes, including undergarments, which were all edged with hand-crocheted lace. No mod-cons in those days, so I wonder how she found time to execute such fine work.

My own mother is a wonderful knitter and although she has crocheted in the past, she is lost these days without a knitting project. At 90 years old, as you will have read in previous posts, I'm still giving her projects to do.

I dug out my crochet hooks when I was expecting my daughter in 1977. There was no internet, and my Grandmother was quite poorly (in fact she passed away when my daughter was five days old), so I couldn't seek advice. Books from the local library, and a couple of pamphlets and other magazine specials, were all I had for reference. There wasn't the plethora of publications that we see today in newsagents and booksellers. I was so content to be able to produce this hooded shawl as my first attempt.

Look at the price of the pattern: 11 pence
I think that would be called vintage now.

I was quite pleased with myself so decided to make an 'angel top'. That's what you dressed babies in in the 1970's. Those and babygrows (wonderful invention). It was quite a challenge and I'm sure it was full of mistakes, but my daughter didn't mind, and she really did look angelic wearing it.  When my son was born in 1979 he had a blue version. I waited until he'd arrived to get the colour right. Yes, again in those days we did do a lot of pink for girls, blue for boys. I found it harder; probably because my brain was still full of pregnancy hormones, but I persisted, and here they both are modelling their respective tops. My daughter s angel top also appears in the post 'Hello Dolly', where it can be seen still in pristine condition 34 years later.

Maternal Grandparents admire my handiwork - and the angel top!
Paternal Grandma only has eyes for the latest grandson - who could blame her?

Maternal grandparents again - grandson demonstrating his 'startle reflex' beautifully. Clearly overwhelmed by his Mama's latest creation and the bright blue colour!

So, with a break of twenty-nine years I completely forgot how difficult I'd found the second one and decided I'd make TWO, for my twin grandchildren. I chose cream this time and got going. Well, as my now three-year old granddaughter would say, "I did it!"
Considering the problems I'd had in the 70's this was quite a feat - as my brain was now nearly thirty years older!  
It's a matter of choice whether it was worn with buttons down the back or the front.

My Mum again  - showing that she hasn't lost the knack of holding a baby.


  1. Nell, I bow down before your crochet skills. Unfortunatately I'm likely to be a grandmother myself before I'm able to make anything that skillful. Beautiful family photographs of the various little angels wearing their angel tops.

  2. Well, you SAY there was no internet, but in fact the origins of the internet can be traced back to USA research in the early 1960s. By 1975 there was a form of publicly-accessible dial-up access and even the UK was getting its public networks connected by around 1977. Anyway…carry on ;) x

  3. Thank you again Izzard. Who’d have known that the dear little angel in blue would turn out to be such a knowlegeable human being. We were so blessed to have you to bring us kicking and screaming into the internet age :) X.