Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Grannies are Great

Granny Squares Crocheted by Natalie and Darcy
Assembled by Ellen
Grannies are great....the squares and the human kind. I just read a post by Charles Phoenix in his "slide of the week" feature on his God Bless Americana site. The slide was strange. There was this little boy, sitting amongst a few granny-like ladies. He was planting a huge kiss on one of the grannies....ON THE LIPS! It's a startling slide, you should really read the post and comments. After I read some of the comments to Charles' post, it made me start to think about my own grandmothers and their relation to my fiber fascination.

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God Bless Americana, Slide of the Week
My father's mother was Ethel, my mother's mother was Freda. Both ladies were talented in fiber arts. Grandma Ethel was a realtor. She was also very active in the Eastern Star which at one time was the women's organization under the Mason's fraternal group, of which my grandfather was a member. Ethel was a bridge player too. She traveled to tournaments all across the country. Ethel sewed, crocheted, knitted, painted, played the piano and made floral decorations for her club events. She was quite an accomplished lady. She was the only one of my grandparents born in the USA. She started out as a school teacher in New Jersey. Later, after she met and married my grandfather, they moved to Philadelphia, then to Los Angeles in 1919. Grandma Ethel passed away when I was only 8 years old, but I spent alot of time with her and feel that I am most like her in skills and looks.
Grandma Freda was born in Russia. Her family emmigrated to the US when she was about 12 years old. I do remember her telling me that when the family came here, she contracted meningitis and she had to stay in the hospital on Ellis Island for months until she was well enough to join her family. That must have been a frightening experience for an immigrant girl who didn't speak any English. She also lived in New Jersey. I'm unclear about when she and my grandfather came to Los Angeles or whether or not they met in L.A. or in the east. I do know that my oldest aunt was born here in L.A., so they must have come here before 1918, about the same time as my fraternal grandparents. Grandma Freda was a card player too. She was an excellent cook. Many of my current recipes come from Freda's archives. She read constantly....novels, history, crime fiction , etc. One of her favorite books that she read over and over was "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale. I think she tried to impart those values to her children and grandchildren over the years. Freda's credo: "If you want something, make it happen!" Also, "Never leave the house without lipstick." I have taken both quotes to heart and always try to live by those words. Freda sewed and crocheted and taught me the basics of crochet. Grandma Freda's house was always immaculate, well-decorated and stylish. She passed away when I was in my 30's, so I REALLLLLY got to know her well. Now that my mother is older I really see her becoming more and more like Grandma Freda every day.
Granny Squares are why I advanced my crochet skills in the 1970's. Grandma Freda only taught me how to chain and single crochet. I learned to knit at the same time and took to that more readily when I was 7 years old. In the late 60's and early '70's, crochet was all the rage. I sat myself down with a Woman's Day Granny Square edition of the magazine, looked at the diagrams and learned how to make a granny square. My life changed after that! I could make so many things out of squares! I haven't stopped crocheting granny squares since that time. Like I always say, "Granny squares are the building blocks to fashion."

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4 Comments:

At 10:34 PM PDT, Blogger mj said...

finally caught up with your birthday week. What a whirlwind! I used to work at the old Warner Hollywood lot -- for 14 years! -- recording foley for Warner Bros. We finally moved to the Burbank studio last March. I know that lot well...
Have a happy birthday month and I'll see you Thursday.

 
At 10:28 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ellen,
You're a STAR!!
I love what you've done with those granny squares!
See you later gator!
Natalie

 
At 4:31 PM PDT, Blogger Darcy said...

yeah, love the dingle ball accents!LOL

 
At 5:48 PM PDT, Blogger ladylinoleum said...

That is my quote for the day, "Never leave the house without lipstick." Amen sistah!

 

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