Jess Hutch.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I'm working on patterns for the leetle book, and watching the news, and just feeling rather glum. I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the scale of this tragedy; my heart and mind goes out to all the folks who have been affected.

It has got me thinking about my family, and how much they mean to me. I come from a long line of crafters and I'd like to share a bit about them with you.

Well, my Dad... he's an amazing artist, he can draw anything. When I was a kid he started a woodworking business and turned beautiful hardwood vases on a lathe. I still have one, and I keep pestering him to start turning again...

My Mom makes gorgeous quilts and gives almost all of them away. She learned to sew when she was young and sewed most of her clothes as a teenager. She started quilting several years ago and I always love to see what she's come up with - and she loves the mathy parts about it, can you imagine?

My sister Kate is one of the most talented people I've ever known. She hand-pieced an extraordinary Grandma's Flower Garden quilt, and is quilting it now. I love it. She made me a wonderful embroidered quilt and knits and crochets and beads and does pretty much everything.

Grandma Leota teaches folks how to weave baskets. She lives in Southeastern Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachians, and has a farm and a workshop filled with all her dried flowers and basket supplies. She is well into her seventies and still hikes and bikes and gardens.

Her Mom, Oleanno, and another great-grandma, Gladys, both quilted. I have one of Oleanno's and it's comprised mostly of scraps from sewing clothes - I love it. Gladys did quilts from kits well into her eighties and nineties, they are really colorful and gorgeous.

And so on and so forth. When I think of all the folks in my family - over generations and generations - who have made things with their hands, either for fun or out of necessity, I feel part of something very big and important. People in my family have been farmers and laborers for generations, hand-crafting items was a necessary part of life for them. As a Modern Urban Young Woman I don't have to make anything, in fact I have gone months and years without picking up a needle or a skein of yarn. But somehow - sitting in a chair, watching my hands do something something skilled and neat - I feel connected to these people.


At 4:46 PM , laura r. said...

what a wonderful narrative.
you are fortunate that the folks around you valued working with their hands. they gave you a wonderful, sustainable life skill.

At 9:11 PM , Katie Banana said...

Wow Jessie... thanks. That was so wonderful. We are so lucky to have such creative and crafty roots.


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