John and I spent part of this past Saturday in Belmont, SC. The Belmont Historical Society hosts an event every year to celebrate yesterday’s days.
On their property is a restored cotton mill house, that gave me the visual several years ago that helped me start writing Tales of a Cosmic Possum. It is set up to portray a 1935 typical home in a mill village.
Sharing their crafts was a basket weaver, a wood carver, a weaver, a tatter, an expert on crewel work, and three women playing old games for children.
The wood carver’s work was exquisite. On display was a candle box, several plates and bowls of various sizes, a wooden egg, and trivets. When he retired at 55, his wife suggested he find a hobby. At age 83, he is still enjoying it. Using three major cuts, he has borrowed designs from old butter molds and Dresden lace embroidery patterns.
We sold our books, and John had the opportunity to shoot his Kentucky rifle replica. A trio of singers and guitarists serenaded us, and the museum was open to visitors. Their period rooms started in the Revolutionary War and follow the history of Belton through World War II.
And, yes, as you know, I love handmade items and had to buy a few for gifts.
It was the tatter that caught my eye the longest, as I watched her walk around and tatt without losing a stitch. Tatting is a way to create knotted lace with a small shuttle. Irish immigrants brought this gift to America. Wearing collars of tatted lace, the women soon found that this was a source of extra money for them.
Nanna, my grandmother, tatted. She made doilies and decorated the hems of dishcloths and pillow cases. I treasure some of her work, and I love for people to notice its beauty in my home.
It seems I am being pushed away from my knitting and maybe to another typed of handwork. If you don’t do handwork, I would love to encourage you to try.
As Phyllis George said, “There is something soothing and satisfying to watch your own creation take shape. Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves.”