These are the questions that have been on my mind as I've prepared to look back at my life. The Green Woman has also been curious, as she's not always been with me. So where exactly did it all begin?
I don't remember a time when I wasn't making things.....so it's very hard for me to answer those questions. Instead, I turned to the two women who were the most influential in my creative life - my mother and my Gram. After all, not only were they always making things as well, but they both also encouraged each and every interest I pursued.
So I asked them each, What's the first thing you ever remember me making?
I asked Mom first, but she didn't have much to offer, perhaps having become so accustomed to my habits that she had forgotten as well. Mom remembers a small cross-stitch piece when I was small, as well as minor sewing projects when I was a Skylark - our church's version of the Girl Scouts. There were also several crafts in 4-H, which we joined when I was about 10. (4-H will have it's own entry in this series!) What she did know for sure was that my true love for fiber arts really kicked off during a trip to the Mt. Pleasant Old Thresher's Reunion when I was about 12. During our time there, I became fascinated with a woman spinning French angora rabbit wool straight from the bunny in her lap. It was all over after that.
My Gram, who has always treasured my creations, remembered much more. When asked the same question, she began listing the many, many pieces which she holds dear. Gram still has the sewing cards, decorated with birds, which began my long history with the needle. Her walls are decorated with my artwork - going back to the first little picture and note I drew for her at the age of two. (For the record, it's of Rudolph visiting the Baby Jesus.) A picture frame and a heart-shaped box - painted white and decorated with red ribbons - are still on display in her home.
I asked her next if she remembered when I learned how to knit. Her answer, "No, seemed like you could always knit." I, however, very clearly remember working on my first little garter stitch square at Gram's house. She had to have been the one who taught me.
Then I asked her about a little brass bowl that is filled with little tiny things I sewed as a child. Gram's response was, "You were real little when you did that. I don't think you were in school. I'm pretty sure you weren't in school." There's a little pillow in the bowl, as well as a pair of pants and a shirt made from cutting out pieces in the right shape and then stitching them flat together. I know those little hand sewn things are among her favorites. I think at one point there was also a nine-patch that I did as well.
Gram then went on, "I remember you were always wanting to make something, that I know, and we did all kinds of things.....for you to learn and do. And you were great with the scissors. We never cooked much, but we did a lot of things with material and that sort of thing. " She knows that it all started well before I ever went to 4-H
A good friend of Gram's once came by during one of my visits. I was sitting quietly, working on a needlepoint piece. (I've no idea how old I was, but Gram believes it was also before I started school as she remembers that I was very little.) The friend asked me what stitch I was doing, and I apparently replied, "I'm doing the continental," with great confidence and dignity. Gram laughed to remember the look on her friend's face as she hadn't expected me to really know what I was doing.
And so, the answer is....always.