Thursday, 21 July 2011

I want to rock your gypsy soul...

I've been wanting to try my hand at embroidery hoops for awhile now, ever since I first saw them over at one of my favourite blogs, SouleMama. Amanda's hoops are gorgeous and I'll need a lot of practice to make ones that pretty, but I really enjoy the freehand aspect of creating these- you can't really screw up. Except for the fact that the black thread totally shows through from the back on this one. Oh well. I made this one a couple months ago, and another one more recently that was a birthday gift for my mother (I took a picture of it with my BlackBerry but the dog decided it looked like a fantastic chew toy (the phone not the hoop) so that photo is lost in outer space now).

Sometimes I feel like crafting is a silly hobby. Friends and family occasionally make light-hearted and good-natured jokes about my copious amounts of crafting supplies (though, really, they have no idea just how much stuff you need to make crafts...I'm very restrained), and sometimes it does make me feel like I am a little frivolous, like I should have a more...constructive pastime. But, really, I think there are important cultural, social and familial rituals tied to making things by hand that run much deeper than the simple fun of crafting.

Some of my most deeply seeded and happiest childhood memories are of baking holiday treats with my mother, learning to use her sewing machine, "helping" my dad put our treehouse together, making the infamous giant pot of spaghetti with him, building pathways and forts with my sister at the family cottage. There is something about the physical act of crafting something with your hands, especially with others, that goes beyond the very primal satisfaction of providing for our loved ones (which in itself is, I think, an important fulfillment in a happy life) and grounds us in the bonds of family, our relationship to the earth and the seasons, and our own nature as human beings. It's something I think we've largely forgotten in the West- something I'm slowly, quietly, happily rediscovering.

And quite frankly, I think it's fun, so if I look like an old lady when I'm sitting on the couch embroidering and watching Jeopardy!, I'll take I Don't Care for 200, Alex. 


  1. Coming here by way of Soulemama. I know what you mean--and I don't really care either. It is such a soothing way to fill my time with end products that are (sometimes) beautiful. Congratulations on your (soon to be) little one!

  2. As a weaver and occasional crafter (with grand intentions of lots of crafting! and a stash to match them!) - I would have to ask what, besides perhaps gardening and canning and etc would be a more "productive" hobby? I think making things is one of the most productive and healing things that you can do!

    (coming here by way of cold antler, by the by)

  3. You're so right Jasmine! I guess what I meant was, for example, I just spent several evenings making a rag rug- it would have been way easier to just go to Walmart and buy a cheap rug- but I got much more satisfaction out of making it, as I imagine you do from your weaving.