River Island Needleworker

I am an avid needleworker and quilter from Plainwell, Michigan. Plainwell is located about 10 miles north of Kalamazoo, Michigan and is situated on an island in the Kalamzoo River. The Kalamazoo River is an EPA area of concern due to PCB contamination from the numerous paper mills along the river. For more information see Kalamazoo River Superfund Site and wikiPedia

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Handiwork traditions

I know how and why I became interested in "handiwork". It has been a part of my life as long as I remember. Both my grandmothers did some sort of needlework. I'll never forget the purple bathrobe my paternal grandmother made me. It was a beautiful dark purple print - with a light puple lining and lace around the neck and cuffs. I wore that bathrobe so much I wore it out. My maternal grandmother made me a jumper from an old coat and smocked many a dress for me. She also made me lots of Barbie doll clothes. Both grandmothers created beautiful quilts and afghans.

Both my grandmothers developed these skills as much from necessity as desire, but they lived in a time when these skills seem to have had more value than they do today. They recycled (Barbie and I had many dresses made from the same material). They also crocheted, knitted, and did other needlework. I'm not saying that women today don't do these things, but I think there are generations of girls who won't be growing up with these traditions in their family. This saddens me - because these skills are rooted deep in our history.