11.30.11 Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

My crafty grandmother Carmelita

My crafty grandmother Carmelita

This Día de los Muertos, I am thinking about my grandmother an awful lot. She passed away almost five years ago and with all the knitting and crocheting I’ve been doing this year, she is in my memories a little more than usual.

My grandmother came to Chicago, from McAllen, Texas for a few months when I was a newborn. I’m told it was a typical frigid winter in Chicago. The many stories of her visit always end in giggles about the story of my older sister chasing my grandmother’s bus in tears when it was time for her to go back to Texas. I imagine the time that she spent with us to be warm and comforting; my grandmother Carmelita was everything a grandmother should be; sweet and always the voice of reason.

When my grandmother passed away, I woke up to a tearful phone call from my aunt in Texas. It had been years since I had last seen her and I was filled with regret for opting to stay home during my parents’ last visits to Texas. It happened over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and so my parents, my oldest sister and I hit the road and drove more than 24 hours straight to make it on time.

These days it is my grandmother’s crochet lessons that stick with me the most. Our family visits to Texas always included a sweet handmade gift. My last childhood visit included a little lesson; I remember sitting down next to her and learning how to do the chain stitch on a crochet hook. She enthusiastically showed me all her projects and tools, and I vividly remember her teaching me how to make a pom pom.

These memories stay with me now more than ever and I can’t help but feel a wonderful connection to her through my fiber arts adventures. Carrying on the tradition and dedicating an altar to her and El Stitch y Bitch’s crafty ancestors has given me the ultimate peace; I know she is with me and El Stitch y Bitch and I hope she and our crafty ancestors are causing a raucous at the National Museum of Mexican Art this year.

Tejiendo en Guadalajara

Tejiendo en Guadalajara

I  recently spent two glorious weeks in the city of Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco in Mexico.  My time there was full of delicious food, an escape to the beach and plenty of beautiful handmade artesanias.  Since I was on vacation, I planned on catching up on some much needed knitting. It didn’t take very long to find the craft culture of Guadalajara, on la calle Zaragoza in the downtown area; before I knew it I was amongst other enthusiastic knitters, crocheters, and surrounded by yarn shops. I quickly found a teacher who helped me brush up on my rusty crochet techniques and it was a great opportunity to show off my own knitting skills and tools. It was also wonderful to feel so welcomed; over the two weeks I returned to the strip frequently and learned how to crochet a flower and a hat. Needless to say, I came home with a huge bag of yarn and some great memories of all the lovely women and the stories we shared.

[slideshow]

Know of any other craft strips like Calle Zaragoza?  Let me know!