My grandma could crochet with her eyes closed. The movement of that needle and thread was just an extension of her own body.
Do you remember when you were first introduced to the art of crafting? I was too young to understand it then… but I was witnessing something that would forever alter the course of my life.
The first artisan I ever knew was my grandmother, a strong, stubborn woman with an undying passion for crochet. I rarely remember a day that went by without her having a needle and thread in her hands. She had amazing skills and talent and over the years she had perfected the process and technique of crochet.
For the Love of the Craft
She would sell her work locally, but not so much to make a profit, it was more about taking pride in creating something from scratch with her own two hands. The reward she got for her time and dedication was worth more than money – it was seeing the joy in the faces of those who admired her work and loved the pieces she created.
For my grandma, crafting was a time to think, dream and create. It wasn’t out of necessity that she crocheted, it was for the love of the craft.
She always had a project going – sometimes two or three. She would spend all summer working on special pieces to enter in our small county fair. She was like a kid on Christmas morning when she went to see how many ribbons she had won. I don’t know exactly how many blue ribbons she did take home from the fair…but I do know how proud she was of each one.
My First Crochet Project
I was probably around the age of twelve when she attempted to teach me how to crochet. I had been fascinated for years by the tedious detail and precision involved in crafting such intricate pieces. How do you take something so raw and unfinished and form it into something so familiar and beautiful?
I had often practiced the chain stitch, but this was going to be my first real project. Something you could actually see, touch, and use…a potholder. Well, maybe not the most extravagant, none-the-less it was a practical choice. My first instruction from my grandma was to get the “practice” yarn. I’m not sure what ever happened to that potholder, but I’ll never forget that variegated yarn with moss green, rust red and white. Of course, I protested to use another color (preferably any color except that), but I ultimately lost the battle.
I would say I did well for a beginner crochet student. My grandma had a high standard though and was quick to point out my mistakes. When she took my masterpiece and unraveled two or three complete rounds, I could hardly bear to watch my hard work being ripped out. Ultimately I finished the potholder, and I’m glad now that I can say I completed at least one crochet project in my life.
Although that was my first and last crochet endeavor, I’ll never forget the experience. The memory of that evening with my grandma (and that ugly yarn!) is forever ingrained in my mind. Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to try my hand at crochet again.
A Handmade Gift to be Treasured
My grandma passed away in 2016, at age 90, but her memory lives on through the numerous blankets, doilies, pot holders, and Christmas ornaments…and more ornaments…that she enriched the family with throughout her lifetime of crocheting.
Sure we always had our pick of what she made, but the one gift with the most sentimental value was the afghan she made especially for me when I was a teenager. She let me pick the colors that I wanted, and it seems just like yesterday I chose maroon, pink and white without even thinking twice. I remember the days she spent in the living room, almost effortlessly it seemed, to craft that timeless heirloom for me.
I awaited anxiously for each evening to come and reveal the daily progress as it took on more shape and form. Finally…it was finished. It was perfect, it was beautiful, and it was made with love – just for me.
Everyone needs handmade gifts in their life to keep and treasure. Whether they are made by your grandmother or a local artisan – they are made with the same love, care and attention. Taking into consideration that every inch of the material used to make the finished product flowed through the hands of the artisan – who wouldn’t love and cherish such a heartfelt gift?
My Inspiration to Craft
Although, crochet was not necessarily my forte, just like my grandma, I too was bitten by the creativity bug. Thanks to her I got hooked on the wonder and endless possibilities of traditional arts and crafts. Now I enjoy everything from projects with my 4-year-old to making handmade cards and gifts or experimenting with DIY recipes. Time spent crafting is always time well spent.
I absorbed both the entrepreneurial spirit and the intrigue for craft from the hours spent watching my grandma. She taught me that if you keep working and stay devoted – you will eventually bring your vision to life and get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Sometimes, you have to unravel and start over…but that’s okay too.
Those influential years are what inspired me to build a platform that would pay homage to my grandma and help other arts and crafts artists achieve the recognition and appreciation they deserve. Unlike the big marketplaces, where you’re nothing more than another shop, at 5000 Gifts I want to share your story, your brand, your products and your process. Our goal is to foster human connections through craftsmanship and creativity.
5000 Gifts Brings New Life to Handmade
5000 Gifts is about coming together with artists to advance the handmade community and keep arts and crafts alive in America. Artists contribute to the vitality and character of our communities and they need a resource to help them stay connected, branded, promoted and celebrated. We can best reach new customers and advocate for handmade through the collaboration and cooperation of like-minded artists and handmade enthusiasts.
My grandma’s lifetime devotion to her craft is my inspiration to make 5000 Gifts the well-recognized, far-reaching platform that I have envisioned. With 5000 Gifts, I hope to inspire creativity in all individuals and make consumers aware of the hours and effort that went into making handmade goods and the years of skill and experience that make it all possible. I would love for my grandma to see what I’m doing now – I know she would be proud.
The future of handmade is in our hands – and it’s going to be great!
If you’re an artist in need of promotion and you’re interested in supporting our mission, join now. We would love for you to become a part of our artisan network.
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Together We Can Make Every Moment Handmade