Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I have lost my maternal Grannie recently. She was quite a lady. She married my Grandpa when she was just seven years old. She had to care for a huge joint family of In-laws, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and other relatives of my Grandpa. Apart from this friends and other distant relatives used to drop by regularly
My Grandpa's family were and are still highly regarded in the literary and musical circles in this part. He had a good knowledge of Carnatic and Hindustani Music. So when ever there were any concert in the town, the music stalwarts,used to stay in their home. It was a huge palatial home with a big garden. My mother, my aunts and uncles are all well trained in Carnatic or Hindustani music, either vocal or instrumental.
Any way my Grannie had a lot to do day and night. But in spite of that she learnt music, both singing and playing Veena all through raising the family of seven children. She wrote many songs on her own and composed them. She also collected and learned many traditional and folk songs from Sadhus, beggars and Musicians. She also passed BA in those days and was very good in English. Till she died she used to very proudly recall her student days in Girls school run by Christian missionaries. There she learned sewing, embroidery, crochet and many other such handicrafts. She was a very great cook and made the finest of delicacies, snacks, pickles, be it for one or hundred. She was also very well versed in Ayurveda and knew how to make many of the medicines.
Her enthusiasm for learning something new all the time, interacting with people from various regions, cultures and back grounds, learning about their culture, their cuisines, customs, traditions, art and crafts was boundless. This was what she taught me as a child.
Even when she was in bed, whenever someone used to visit her irrespective of the age of the visitor, she used to interact with them, knowing about latest fashions in clothes, jewelery, politics, movie stars, recipes...she was very lively and enthusiastic.
Any way coming to the point, when I was spring cleaning some old trunks, I landed upon some Crochet items she made. They are nearly 50 years old. Can they be called antique?Alas they have that yellowish tinge now and also have some rust marks. I could not remove them despite the best of my efforts or whiten them.
She had made lots of table covers, tray covers, bags, torans (used for decorating door ways), door curtains and many more. Her door curtains I remember were very beautiful. My mom also used to make many items. But again the door curtains were the in thing in those days. They used to depict mythological figures of Rama, Hanuman carrying the Sanjeevani mountain, Radha Krishna, Goddess Lakshmi standing/sitting in lotus, Goddess Saraswathi, floral motives like roses, lotuses, etc, birds like peacocks, swans, parrots and many other motives like deers, elephants etc. Alas I have only very few of my Gran's articles with me now.
I want to share some of the crochet my Grannie, my mom and my sis have made. I am trying to unearth more of my Gran's and mom's creations. Let me try my luck.
This is a circular tray cover. Such covers are used to cover trays when sweets, snacks or condiments are sent to our neighbors, relatives or friends kept in circular silver trays.

The center part of the cover.
This is the design on the edge.

Another circular tray cover

My Grannie used to put her initials in all her creations.

These are collar for blouses-unfinished

This is a square shaped table/tray cover made by Grannie.

See my Grannie's initials. BSM.

Meant to be bag for carrying lunch to school by kids; made by my Grannie.

Another one, note the design. But such an ugly spot. I could not remove it. Any suggestions for removing the ugly spot? Please let me know. I would be very grateful.

Other side of the bag.

Another piece of circular cover.

This is the cover for feeding bottle made by my Grannie or my mom. Later on it was used to carry flask. This looks a bit freash since I washed it with some stain remover hot water.

The Toran or curtain for door ways.
This is yet again a circular tray cover. but made by my sister.

Center of the cover.

This one is made by my sister, with scraps of wool. She is much more proficient in crochet than me. I somehow don't have much interest in this art, though I can create some pieces myself.

This one is again made by my sis. But this is the one which made by using the nails on a frame and knotting the yarn. I don't know what this art is called. Can any one please tell me?

Hope you have enjoyed this. Please do let me know. Your comments and suggestions are welcome and I would be very much interested in knowing please.


Janet M. Davies said...

It is wonderful to have your Grandmothers things. My grandmother taught me to crochet also.

Sailaja said...

Thank you Janet. You are a great artist. All your creations and designs are beautiful.

Shay said...

How lucky you are to have your Grandmother's things. I love the door curtain in particular.

For the stained lunch bag; if it is cotton, try boiling it gently in several gallons of water with some soft soap and a little chlorine bleach (about 4 tablespoons to a bucket of water is plenty). Then lay it out in the sun on some grass for an hour or so.

The hot sun reacts to the chlorophyll in the grass to act as a bleaching agent.

Sailaja said...

Thank you Shay will try it and see.

Sailaja said...

Thank you friends for your warm responses. I have added bigger pictures as one of my friends pointed out that they were not able to see them clearly.

ria said...

Hi Sailaja, Lovely blog. So far as the marks on the crochet are concerned, we have, in the UK, whitener which you just dump the whole lot in warm water and leave for a white until it is white again. Works very well on yellowed cottons etc. I have used it on my own crochet. I don't know if it would work for the stains on the bag, which obviously are not just yellowing. You could make crochet flowers, daisys or similar to cover up the stains, but without knowing what the stains are it is very difficult. Also because the items are so old you need to be careful not to damage them. If you try looking on the internet for 'Dylon, Ultra Whitener' you will see the stuff I have used. Let me know if I can help more.
I studied Hinduism at University as part of my course so your visit to the Temple was very interesting.
Best wishes, Ria

Sailaja said...

Thank you Ria for your comments. We too get a whitener in India, which we are supposed to add along with the washing powder and hot water. The stain might be of rust. I don't know exactly.I will try that first. But your idea of making crochet flowers to cover it up is really great.If all fails I will have to resort to that.