Tuesday 1 September 2015

Homemade - Do you? Don't you?

Over the weekend I had a very interesting comment on one of my posts on my private Facebook account.

My post was about a conversation I had had with a lady I met in the village, which went like this.....

Q - what do you do?
A - I'm a free lance designer
Q - what do you design?
A - crochet blankets
Q - do you sell the blankets?
A - no, I sell the patterns
Q - what you mean you actually design the blankets yourself!!
A - (in my head) - REALLY!!!!! 😖

There were a few more comments and then I added....

I've also had customers at shows asking "did you make that?" and when I say yes, they're really shocked and surprised
I'm not sure who they thought had actually made it, maybe I should ask next time....

My friend and neighbour Caroline (who runs a lovely B & B in Lynton, if you are coming to visit Lynton make sure to check her out at Lee House :-) commented that it might have something to do with people being removed from creating due to being able to buy everything they need cheaply.
I realise it doesn't apply to knitters and crocheters, but maybe it does, hence this post/comment/question.

I've always assumed everyone made home-made things, I guess due to the fact its something I grew up with and have done my whole life.
My mother and aunt have/had always made all their clothes, as a child I can remember shop bought clothes being a luxury and being allowed to buy a pair of trousers from an actual shop as a birthday treat was something really exciting.
My granny knitted and crocheted and made everything including carpets for her house, my granddad was an upholsterer, had an attic room full of bolts of fabric and owned about 5 or 6 sewing machines, he also had an allotment.
My grandparents brought up three children during the war years and so homemade was part of life.
My dad built several of his own boats, including his first yacht.
There was home grown fruit and veg, birthday cakes, jam and chutney and home made wine etc etc etc
My parents weren't destitute, its just the way it was and it meant they could take me on camping trips around Europe every year and spend my summers sailing.

I've always assumed everyone of my age had a home made life, Caroline's comment made me step back and reassess my assumption and to think about the people who didn't and don't.
I'm beginning to understand that being able to do homemade is something really special now and this is the reason behind all the really popular sewing, cake making, gardening, crafty tv programmes, I've always struggled to understand why they are so popular, surely everyone knows how to make a dress, grow new potato's and bake a cake?
I had several childhood friends whose mothers didn't own sewing machines or knit/crochet or make their own jam and I guess these are the people whose children a generation later have no idea how to do home made, but are eager to learn and make for their own children.

So just I'm just wondering.......... did you? do you do home made?
Or have you had to learn the skills as an adult because there was no one to teach you as a child?


  1. Interesting thoughts on home made. All on my own, I learnt how to crochet, cook and knit (occasionally) as an adult as there was no one to teach me as a child. In my sixties I learnt photography through books and online classes. I'm still learning and improving and enjoying all my new found skills. When my children were small I also made homemade jam and baked cakes. I guess we all have different backgrounds and mine didn't include a mother for very long.

  2. My mum taught me to knit and a school friend taught me to crochet. I think I was more motivated to learn back then because it was still a time when it was as cheap to make your own (or even cheaper!). My mum made a lot of our clothes when we were small and, as she didn't have a sewing machine, sewed them all by hand o.O

    Maybe the reasons we do it have changed? In these days of cheap mass production, knitting or crocheting something is more about expressing your individuality. Speaking personally, it's a little bit of that, but it's also about a change of pace. It forces me to slow down and, for some projects, it demands all my attention. I like to have a mix of things on the go - some can be done in front of the TV, others can't and I just put on some music :)

  3. Yes I make a lot of things myself. We grow a big part of our own vegetables and fruit, make our own jams, we have a lot of chickens for eggs. Every birthday in our house is celebrated with home baked cakes and I make a lot of my childrens clothes. I crochet blankets, scarfs and hats, I can knit and I can cross stitch. My mother used to sew clothes for me, knit and cross stitch, my mother in law makes jams and my husband likes to get his hands dirty in our green house and vegetable garden. My childred grow up amongst these things and think this is normal. Unlike most of their friends.

  4. My mom's mother was from a family of 17, and left Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. My mom's father's family immigrated from Sweden, and my grandfather was an orphan by age 12. He grew up to be very successful, but my grandmother sewed and canned, and loved to make crafts. She used to drive my grandfather crazy because she always had projects going around the house, but would get tired of them before they were all they way done and juryrig the closeout. My mom is the exact same way. My dad's mom was an amazing seamstress, cross stitcher and maker in general, and like me was a perfectionist in all that she did. Both grandmothers always had projects they assigned to me as their protogé, and I've been crafty and creative all my life. Funnily, they got along very well, even though one always would go back and fix the juryrigging of the other. I studied art and design in school, and have made art as part of every job I've had, even though I'm not an artist by trade. Neither grandmother crocheted or knitted; I taught myself to do both when I was a young kid. My Swedish grandfather tatted and darned (and taught me). I married an artist, musician and wannabe farmer, and we live on an orchard, and can and preserve vegetables and fruit, raise chickens and eggs and bake our bread; my husband brews hard cider . In high school and college I made most of my clothes, but I haven't sewn since my kids were born, instead I haunt thrift stores and sales. My kids do all the farm things with us (without a lot of joy...) and are crafty in their own rights. We live differently from a lot of our friends, making-wise, and my kids sometimes resent it, though I think in the big scale they wouldn't trade.

  5. I too grew up with making clothes. Knitting. Jam making etc it was what everyone did and you cannot imagine this was not part of anyone's life. Well into my fifties I was talking to a friend about going to church and I made a comment to her about when we went to Sunday school she said oh no I never went to Sunday school or church and neither did her parents I was mortified I thought everyone went as a child lol... I no longer go to church and haven't done for years but she does now...

  6. Doesn't children learn knitting, crocheting and cooking at school? In Finland children have at school "handycraft" about 2-3 hours a week from age 7 to 13 and after that you can choose "handycraft" as voluntary for 3 hours a week from age 13 to 16. Handycraft means both knitting, crocheting, sewing, woodwork and metalwork. At the age of 12 to 13 everyone has 3 hours a week cooking and after that you can choose it as volyntary for 3 hours a week.

    So if you really want to learn, everyone has an opportunity to learn. An other question is, do everyone want to learn properly...