Friday, September 17, 2004

Needlework at the Doctor's Office

My husband came home from work with some of his own crochet stories:

"I was in the doctor's office when I saw two ladies sitting there busy with their knitting & crocheting.  So I said to them, 'I see you're knitting, and you're crocheting.'

Immediately both women looked up at me and smiled.  They were impressed that I knew the difference between the two and inquired if I did needlework too.

'No,' I said, 'I don't, but my wife does.  She does both but prefers to crochet.'  The older lady who was crocheting smiled and nodded her head as if in agreement.  I just thought it was fun to point out to them that I knew what they were doing."

My husband also brought home some crochet work for me to look at ... he said a coworker has an afghan that's been passed down through a few generations and is in need of repair work.

I don't do repair work ... I have too much on my plate to be taking on any more work, but I said I'd look at it and offer my diagnosis.  So he reached in and pulled out a granny square afghan.

I wasn't surprised.  I've seen about 10 granny square afghans, this year alone, that needed repair work.  I looked over his coworkers' blanket and gave him the bad news.

"It's been repaired once before ... see the thread?  The squares are falling apart, the trim is too.  And we're not even talking about the need to take the afghan apart to replace squares that are completely missing." 

It's in really sad shape.  "Is there no hope for it," he asked?  "It's like a family heirloom."

I told him it could be repaired, but the amount of work that would be required to fix it would be about the amount of time to create a brand new one from scratch.  Yes, it was that bad!!

I did make one recommendation for him to take to his coworker.  "Have them have it mounted in a shadow box," I said, "this way, they will still have the afghan to pass down, and with it displayed as art, it can still be enjoyed without further risk of damage."  He seemed to like this small ray of hope to share with his coworker.

So what happened?  Why are all these granny square afghans needing repair?  Well, it comes down to the tails.

When we crochet, we should leave a long tail (about 4"-8" long) when we begin, and a long tail when we finish (again about 4"-8" long) and weave them in.  When the tails are cut off next to the slip knot, or the ending chain, it's a disaster waiting to happen as the knots come undone and the work starts to unravel.  As in the case of the granny squares I've been seeing, the squares are coming apart at each color change, at the joinings, and on the trim.

I wanted to pass this information along today in case you're creating something for gift giving at the upcoming holidays -- keep your tails long and weave them in when you're done.  You can even use a little bit of fabric glue to help secure those ends.  Longer tails are better and help ensure the longevity of your work.


Anonymous said...

I think that is a wonderful preserve that afghan by framing it. My father's side have an afghan that is passed down in that form. Its very old and had to be done to preserve it. The story about the two ladies knitting and crocheting was goes to show how much attention your husband pays to what you do. That is always a wonderful thing. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dee,  Sometimes I read your journal and think we lead parallel lives.  Yesterday one of my students gave me a granny square afghan to repair.  I don't have kids at home any longer so I have more time than you do.  Hope you get the electricity back soon.  Holly

Anonymous said...

what a great idea about the shadow box!
Thanks for the info on the granny squares....will tuck that away :)