I have been absent and I am sorry! I have been putting more of my creative energy into knitting than into writing this week. I'm going on an extended vacation in June and I have a lot of projects I want to finish up.
It doesn't happen often, but yesterday I was working on something and I said to myself, I said, "Self? What this project needs is some sequins."
See what you did right there? You judged me! I felt it!
I swear, I don't go for the old sequin box very often, but I needed to yesterday. (It was for a present, so I'll post pics after it has been - um - presented - then you'll see how much better it is with sequins. I swear.)
But I didn't take a break from my knitting to defend my use of a sequin now and then. I took a break to tell you about my sequin box.
My Aunt Mimi was an old-school crafter. She always had a project going. She taught me to crochet when I was seven (and I am eternally grateful). She always let me help with whatever the craft d'jour was. When I visited her, I never knew if we'd be weaving yarn flowers on a loom, or sticking sequins into styrofoam fruit, or dipping wire frames into melted plastic to make flowers - whatever the next new craft was, she was into it. It was all extraordinarily tacky, but tacky crafts and seven year olds were a pretty good fit, so it worked for me. For us.
As she aged and her fingers became stiff and sore, she would bring me the projects she wanted to make and I would make them for her. Chunky shawls and afghans crocheted with acrylic yarn. She wanted them for herself and she wanted them to give as gifts. By then, that was no longer my thing, but it was what she knew. It was what she wanted. So I'd put aside my natural fibers and my delicate needles and make - exactly what you probably picture when you hear crocheted shawl...
Years later, I was selling baby items in a juried craft show and chatting with the woman next to me who did beautiful rustic paintings on old barn wood. She said she hated when people asked her what she did without seeing her work, because just the words conjured up images of blocks of wood that said "I Heart Country". I told her to imagine what it felt like to tell people you crocheted... She said, "Oh! I see your point! Acrylic afghans and dishrags!" Yep. (Oh, and in case you're wondering? I'm not above making a dishrag now and then. They are very practical and are a nice "traveling project". Just sayin'.) But we both lamented the stereotyped treatment our crafts had been subjected to and cheapened by. We both felt the need to defend what we actually did. That was a little snobby of us. But we found it necessary.
'Cause when you hear crafter? Well...
I swear I've never made a cozy for toilet paper rolls.
Back to my sequin box.
(See? You thought I'd forgotten... sooner or later the shiny, sparkly sequins were bound to bring me back...)
When my Aunt Mimi passed away - over twenty years ago, now - I was given her sewing box. The aforementioned sequin box. Because I mentioned her love of all things tacky, right? This box has been a treasure trove of adornments for me for the past couple decades. There are all manner of shiny things encased in this box. There are, of course, sequins - in every color and many shapes and sizes. There are little bits of shiny ribbons and ric-rac. There are mismatched buttons and needle threaders from the 50's still in their original packaging. There are wee handpainted doll heads. (I hate to even imagine what her plans were with those...) And there are handwritten patterns for those afghans and shawls. Those afghans and shawls that I hated to make and that I thought tainted my craft with tackiness... yep - I treasure those handwritten patterns.
So yesterday, when I opened my sequin box to finish off a project, apparently I opened up a lot more than just a box.
I should use sequins more often.