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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Stained Glass Afghan

Grandma's Afghan circa 1935
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Mom's Afghan circa 1975
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Mom's Window circa 1980
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Corner with Carlo 2006
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Family History
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
The idea for this post started when I asked my mom to get her old afghan out of storage — the one that defines my Partridge Family era childhood, the one that always covered the back of our huge vinyl couch. I thought that I would compare her afghan to my crazy stripy one. But, when she also pulled out her mom's crocheted afghan another story developed.

There is an afghan that has been waiting to be made by me. It's primarily black with bright colored accents, probably a granny-type square with a circle in the middle and black edges. I've been thinking about it for some time now, saving online photos for inspiration. What I didn't realize is that I will be continuing a craft tradition with this future afghan.

I didn't remember that my maternal grandma (the one I never met, not to be confused with the mean one) crocheted an afghan much like I want to make. She made it back in the 1930s or 40s. It's probably been twenty years or more since I've seen this afghan. My mom's 1970s afghan is a nice complement to her mom's and tells the tale of a generational shift. She made a design contemporary to the time with its brightly colored rectangles, mixed-and-matched like a crazy quilt. So, it seems in our family that every thirty or forty years a new afghan must be made of bright colors and black. I'm ready to keep up my end of the tradition, just waiting to get through the season of holiday crafts.

I picked this corner of our home to photograph these legacy afghans because it's full of family history and because I liked the light cast by the stained glass window. It took me awhile to realize that the afghans look a lot like stained glass. Duh. On the wall behind the baby hangs a genealogic map that is almost eight feet tall — it's a photographic chart of my children's ancestors. It's fun to have daily access to these photos. My older son likes to ask who the people are and how they are related to him. He gets to *see* the British grandma who was one of the first members of the Salvation Army, or the Native American grandma who was the mother of "the first white child" in their part of the Oklahoma Territory, as well as, the grandmas who made the afghans. Maybe someday he will fulfill this colorful legacy and make his own version of the stained glass afghan — Kaffe Fassett look out. A mother of sons can wish, right?

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Blogger Angelina said...

A mamma of boys can always dream! I don't know if there's a hope in hell for my kid to discover his inner Kaffe Fasset, but I think it's interesting how much he loves an embroidered pillow my mom made for me as a kid. He wants me to make him one that is just for him. He's got all these ideas about how I'm going to embroider his pillow. I want to say to him "how about we learn to do it together?" Hell, it can't hurt to try.

I love those afgans. So much prettier than the usual pish-brown and ochre colors afgans often are. Although I will say that I loved the afgans my grandma made even though the colors were not pretty.

Sun Nov 26, 05:35:00 PM PST  
Blogger Blaize said...

Two words: Rosey Grier.

Sun Nov 26, 06:47:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Carrie S. said...

I am so in love with your grandmas afghan! And I also love your moms for the interesting lines and color patterns. both so beautiful - and it's no wonder you have such a gift. It's all so inspiring, as are your inspirational Flickr pics. And that Carlo! What sweetness!

Sun Nov 26, 08:04:00 PM PST  
Blogger futuregirl said...

Oh, they are beautiful blankets. :) For my sister's wedding, I made her a king-sized afghan of black granny squares with pastel flower centers (lavendar, light yellow, mint green, and pale blue) - not quite stained glass colors, but I love the way colors pop on a black background.

MEN AND CRAFTS - my thoughts:

A couple days ago I was sewing in purse linings at Barnes and Noble Cafe, and a nice black guy with a Muslim beard said, as he was plugging in his laptop next to me, "Oh, you crochet?" Before I realize that he correctly identified my handiwork (most people say, "Oh, I knit, too!") he confessed that he could crochet because his mama taught him. "She wanted girls. Dad wasn't too happy about it, but we learned to crochet." I promised not to tell anyone ... don't tell him I told you. :)

My grandmother taught her three sons to cross-stitch. On Sunday afternoons, they all sat on the couch sewing.

The football player Rosey Grier put out a book of embroidery.

I think there is hope for the crafty in all men.

Sun Nov 26, 09:07:00 PM PST  
Anonymous gracia said...

An afghan rug... so wonderful. And how I want one!
cheers, g

Mon Nov 27, 01:44:00 AM PST  
Anonymous meg said...

i have such a thing for afghans. your mom's is my new favorite - so beautiful and all my favorite colors.

Mon Nov 27, 04:10:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Old Round said...

How on earth did you get a genealogical chart like that? Is it pc program? That's way cool.

Your mom's afghan is cutting edge, I think, for the 70's. When I looked at the photos I thought the 1st one was going to be your mom's and then the 2nd was one you had just made. You've reminded me to post about some afghans my mom made in the 70's. I've always thought they were the coolest thing ever and still do. She made three, one for each daughter. And I've got the pattern!

That bambino is bigger! He's a cutie. And so is the bigger one. Hate to slight the bigger ones. That used to drive me crazy.

Mon Nov 27, 07:25:00 AM PST  
Blogger Emily said...

Your posts are so amazing. Love the afghans, especially your mom's. So modern!

Tue Nov 28, 05:04:00 AM PST  
Blogger futuregirl said...

Did you see this story?

Tue Nov 28, 05:30:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Siow Chin said...

Love the afghans, they are so inspiring! I love your Mom's contemporary one very much too. I'm also making a granny one with leftovers trim with black. But I'm making it on a long term basis and haven't touched it for a loooong while.

Tue Nov 28, 05:51:00 AM PST  
Anonymous juju said...

First of all, that's outrageous about the woman breastfeeding on the plane. Thank God I never had idiots like that comment. I once got a very sweet old man complimenting me.
Afgans great, every generation should make one!
I live by the cemetary where the founding memeber of the Salvation Army is buried. Any chance your ancestor was from East London?

Tue Nov 28, 10:35:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Amy said...

Both afghans are spectacular, of course, as I am sure yours will be. I am particularly in awe of that family chart - what a wonderful project and a nice idea to have it available at all times. Love the photo of the little one under it.

Thanks for post re: breasfeeding/airplane story. I'm in the mood to write a complaining email and I know now who it shall be directed at. WHY does this still come up as an issue, my GOD.

Sat Dec 02, 07:41:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Kim said...

Your mother's afghan is fascinating. I could look at that photo for hours.

A mother of boys *can* always dream, and should. Often. Preferably in a warm tub of lavender-scented water. Yeah. Speaking of dreaming...

Mon Dec 04, 05:52:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the "stained glass" afghan! The colors are wonderful.

Stained Glass Lover

Tue Dec 19, 06:10:00 AM PST  
Anonymous battery said...

[...]Many know of and give credit to Louis C. Tiffany for his masterpieces in stained glass, which came from his studio in New York.[...]

Tue Jul 08, 08:45:00 PM PDT  
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