I was rifling through my bedroom drawers looking for something or other when I came across a rebozo (shawl) my mom made ages ago. I think it’s about 35 years old. I was a kid when she made it and I fondly remember how she painstakingly created it. She used this very thin yarn and I remember going with her to different places in Los Angeles and Tijuana looking for the right colors when she would run out. I thought the finished rebozo was so beautiful. From that day on and through the years, I would pull it out and look at it wherever she had it.
Towards the end my of my mom’s life, her things started getting boxed up as she was forced to move in to a nursing home. When it was sadly clear she was at the end of her life, I decided my siblings and I needed to go through her things and keep what we wanted and donate what we didn’t. My mom was a very practical woman and I knew she would want us to use her things instead of having then deteriorate in those boxes. It made me sad thinking of that beautiful rebozo, among other things, sitting in a dusty garage, boxed up and rotting while I cherished it so much. I staked my claim to that rebozo. My siblings were fine with that. They had similar feelings towards other things so I pulled out those boxes and went through them piece by piece. It was like a treasure hunt. Some things were nothing but trash but among that rubble were those gems we were looking for. I elatedly found it. Even after sitting in those not-so-cared-for boxes, it was still beautiful. It brought back so many memories. Memories of how my sister made a gorgeous one in blue. I remember making a small one with my mom walking me through the process. When my mom passed, I was able to wear that rebozo to her funeral. I wore some jewelry she gave me (my mom and I were always in cahoots when it came to jewelry) and that beautiful rebozo. I felt surrounded by my mom’s love. Since my mom’s passing, I have become the crocheter of the family, having taken up my mom’s mantel. Everyone assumed I had made the rebozo and delighting in my mom’s influence on me and I loved telling everyone that no, my mom made it decades ago. It made everyone feel good to know that a part of her was still there.
I don’t have my mom’s talent for looking at a crocheted piece and knowing how to duplicate it exactly. I stare at her shawl knowing that I can’t recreate it. Not exactly anyway. I remember some things about how it was made but making a new one is lost on me. That’s fine by me, though. I have hers and that’s more than enough.
I’ve been working on the twin babies I promised my mom-in-law. I’m finally done! I just finished up their outfits and booties and I can ship them off.
She wanted them to wear onesies and since I had never made a onesie, I had to learn how to do it. I was at my sister’s house (again) while I was trying to figure out the outfits and searching the internet when she pointed out that what I was looking at was not right. I was in fact looking at sleepers or something but not onesies. I totally disagreed with her because I was so sure that what my mom-in-law wanted was what I was looking at even though she called it a onesie. I insisted both could be called onesies. My sister insisted I was wrong (as big sisters are known to do) and made me check with my in-law to be sure. Well, I begrudgingly admit she saved me because she was right. The outfit I thought I needed was actually more complicated so she saved me from time wasted looking for and creating the wrong one. Once I was on the right track, I looked at pictures and patterns for inspiration. I l scanned several patterns to get a general idea of how they are done and then made one of the babies his onesie. The other doll came out a tad bit smaller so I modified it again to fit him better (plus I didn’t write the first one down so I had to guess at what I’d done but I’ll write it down next time :-).
I find it interesting that even though I used the same pattern for the dolls, a pattern I created I might add, they still came out slightly different sizes. I thought I used the same tension on both but I guess I didn’t. My wrists were probably tired on the bigger doll and I didn’t even notice that my tension was looser. But that’s the beauty of making dolls, size isn’t nearly as important as say, making clothing. That’s probably why I gravitate towards making toys. No one’s going to complain if their doll comes out a little bigger or smaller 🙂
I am extremely excited! My sister-in-law and one of my best friends just finished making her very own doll using the techniques in my almost finished book. I gave her a rough copy of the book to try out so she could give me feedback. She is my target audience, namely someone who crochets but is intimidated about creating something off top of their head. My book is more of a tutorial than a pattern book. I wanted to pick her brain about whether said tutorial made any sense and how I could make the book better. I can’t describe how elated I felt to see her post on Facebook showing off her finished doll!
“She’s wonky, she’s lanky, and just a little funky, but she’s done…made a ton of mistakes…like giving her so many curls her head flops about…but I’m smitten. Got get her decent…thank you Yolanda. I’m on to make her a sister!”
Based on her ideas and how I actually saw her using the book, I found some areas that I could definitely improve upon. Every time she had a question, it was an insight into how clearly I wrote that particular section. Her input was (and still is) invaluable but the best and most awesome part was seeing her get excited about making her doll. And she is even ready to make her next one 🙂
She has been there right along with me as I’ve been improving my skills on my dolls. She would often make comments about how she wished she could do it herself. I would explain the process to her but she would always say she wasn’t creative like me. She would argue she couldn’t just pick up a hook and make one without a pattern. I always shot back that she was creative and she already crocheted and knitted (which I can’t do so kudos to her) so she was already creative. I would start prattling on about how I created them and about how It was a process I followed and not necessarily a pattern and blah blah blah. That’s when her eyes would glaze over. I suspect she just wanted me to make them for her (giggle). The idea for the book was actually born and inspired by her because I absolutely knew she could just pick up a hook and make a doll (or whatever else she wanted).
My friend and I are both avid readers so instead of prattling on to her about how I make my dolls, I decided to put it down on paper and surprise, surprise, she discovered she is creative! It didn’t work when I was throwing words at her but I’m so happy it worked in book form. I am so proud of her (and grateful she was willing to spend time on this whole project) and I love her doll!
Today I was thinking about how grateful I am when my family and friends challenge me to make or try something I’ve never tried before. Of course, at the time of said challenge, I’m usually annoyed that they don’t leave me alone in my complacency. My daughter is the most guilty of this by always wanting something I’ve never done before or wanting something I’ve done but in a different way. I tend to throw her a look that’s pure annoyance because I know it is going to be work to get the results she wants. Hours spent researching stitches, techniques, and experimentation goes drifting through my brain. I usually respond with a skeptical, “We’ll see,” each knowing full well I’ll eventually try it. I’m always happy I rise to the challenge because, in the end, I finish with a brand new bag of tricks that enhance my future projects.
Case in point, she wanted a doll. Great, I thought, I make dolls! Easy peezy. But wait! She wanted a gothic doll…and with wings no less! She sent me these cute illustrations of what she wanted. I saw these beauties and wondered if I could meet her high expectations.