|CROCHET THROUGH THE YEARS|
Betty J. Waldbieser
My mom, Isabelle West, was about 12 years old when her mother first taught her to crochet doiles from bedspread cotton. Times were tough in the 1930s when her father died. To make some extra money for her family mom made a beautiful long bureau scarf and raffled it off. Before my mom and dad were married, he used to live across the street from her. He would sit on the porch and pretend to read a newspaper he had secretly poked a small hole in so he could watch my mom crochet. And crochet she did! She made many lovely doily sets for my bureaus, beautiful edgings on handkerchiefs and scarves and outfits in every color for my 8-inch doll collection. She eventually crocheted afghans for my sister and me, 7 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and 3 great, great grandchildren. Most recently she crocheted more than 120 Easter baskets and donated them to local kindergarten children. Her crochet hook has been very busy during most of her 84 years.
I suppose I was around the same age my mom had been when she taught me the fine art of crocheting. I went on to make some beautiful doilies but soon switched over to yarn when the acrylic varieties came on the market. I remember the many nice comments I received on the poncho I made. When I was expecting my first child, I crocheted a cute little baby set. When the first girl came along, there were little crocheted dresses. Then came stuffed animals and toys. When it was time for birthday parties, the guests all loved the crocheted party favors they took home with them. And my neighbors still adorn their Christmas trees with the crocheted ornaments from years past. When my oldest daughter was about 8 or 9 years old, I passed on this wonderful craft to her.
I had always enjoyed crocheting small things that could be made in a short length of time especially small toys for my children. About 25 years ago--is it really that long!--I designed my first "fridgie." It was a simple pink flower with wiggle eyes and a felt mouth. A friend took some to work with her and before long flowers were blooming all over the place. That was the start of my designing career. The flowers gave way to bunnies, pumpkins, Santas, hearts, flags, pilgrims and many others. Eventually, some of my patterns were accepted for publication by Leisure Arts. What a thrill that was! There were six booklets in all. Most recently one of my patterns was accepted by Crafting Traditions for their 2003 fall edition.
Now with hopes of grandchildren one day, my thoughts have once again turned to designing for children. The finger puppets bring back those wonderful fairy tales from childhood. Little ones love to participate and interact with the stories. And what tea party would be complete without lots of goodies? The scrumptious Tea Time Treats look good enough to eat! The Silly Shapes bring a smile to the lips and help children learn at the same time. Hang one up anywhere to brighten a corner of your world. These patterns were designed with children in mind but from babies to grandparents they bring out the "kid" in all of us!!
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