Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Learning to Crochet and Memories of my Nanni

Today, I would like to share some of my crochet projects with you and memories of my Grandmother who I called Nanni.

Besides cooking/baking as well as many other interests, I love to crochet. It is my creative outlet, my passion, my stress reliever, and my comfort. My favorite patterns to crochet are doilies, but I enjoy all crocheting of any kind. I love all kinds of yarns and colors. I mostly enjoy taking a pattern and change it up a little so this will then create a new pattern. I also knit but my preference is to crochet.

My love for crocheting became apparent when I was taught by my Grandmother (Nanni) at a young age. She never used a pattern to crochet but she would look at an item and create the exact same thing. That is how she taught me, I never learned how to read a pattern book till much later in my life. My Nanni was a Milliner/ Interior Designer by profession. A milliner is one that makes, trims, designs or sells women’s hats. Some of her many talents included crocheting, playing the piano by ear, designing clothes for herself, and being very creative and as we would call it today “crafty“. She owned her own business and called it “Roberta Originals”. I have many memories of going to her store in Astoria, Queens and helping her for the day. She would take me on the bus and we would go into New York City in the garment district so she could get her supplies for her hats. It was always an experience to be with her as she would teach me about many ways to be creative. Sometimes when we would be in the garment district she would bring me to a store that would carry buttons, scarves, feathers, felt, material and many other brick brac that she used to create her “Originals“. My Nanni you could say was very flamboyant in her ways. She always dressed to the nines and would expect me to be very prim and proper. Her hats were so beautiful and always different. All I had to do is have a hat on, (at that time they used hats when I was a young girl) she would take a chiffon scarf out of her closet and drape it on the hat, and a new hat would be born for me to wear. After we would go shopping at Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, and B.Altman’s I would be hungry and tired. So that was a clue to go to Schrafft's Restaurant for lunch. How wonderful that was, on Fifth Avenue. Schrafft's, was a very impressive place for a young person, especially with waiters and waitresses dressed in black and white starched outfits. My favorite was the ice cream floats after our lunch, coffee ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top. We would try to get a booth by the big windows so I could see all the people hurrying by and I always looked to see if I could spot a celebrity which would have been just to die for. Things were different back in the late 1960’s, celebrities would be walking around Manhattan more and you didn’t have the paparazzi trying to take a photo. My Nanni and I were very close and she took me on many more adventures when I was young and then even when I became a young woman. I always admired her zest for life, her strength, and I think that her love of creativeness rubbed off on me. My Nanni passed away at the age of 97 on February 22, 2000. I am very lucky to have inherited some of her hats which have given me many fond memories of our past together.

Here is a pattern of a crochet afghan called “Kitten’s in a Row”. It was a delight to crochet. A very easy pattern to read. I have crocheted this afghan for many family and friends. Everyone loves it, especially cat lovers. This particular afghan (that is pictured), I entered it into a county fair and I won a Red Ribbon ( Second Place )for the afghan category. I used 8 skeins (Red Heart Super Saver) for this one, but according to how big you want to make it, you may need more. (Bevs Country Cottage- website)
This pattern is easily adaptable for a afghan blanket for a preemie to an adult. Note that using a different weight yarn (e.g. a baby weight) will require a different size hook. This afghan is square. The adult sized afghan is approximately 40” x 60”. But you can make it any size you wish by adding more or fewer rows.
For more information and to see the instructions on this pattern go to:

You can also see all of my projects that I crocheted on Ravelry  
which is a free social networking website. It functions as an organizational tool for a variety of fiber arts including knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving. Members share projects, ideas, and their collection of yarn, fiber, and tools.

No comments:

Post a Comment