A Special Connection with Crochet Traditions Magazine

Sep 14, 2011

I come from a long line of crafters. When I was a kid, all of my sweaters, hats, scarves, and mittens were crocheted by my maternal grandmother, and all without a pattern! When my sister and I were kids, my mom, thinking she would keep us out of trouble, taught us how to do needlepoint, then how to crochet, and finally how to knit when she started taking lessons at a local yarn shop. She also bought us bags and bags of beads and buttons and sequins when she ordered her knitting and crochet supplies, and my sister and I quickly learned how to string these into colorful necklaces and bracelets. That was how I got bit by the beading bug, and thirty years later, here I am as the editor of Beading Daily.

It was my mom who encouraged me to send my very first original beading project to Beadwork magazine back in 2004. She had always held the Interweave family of magazines in the very highest respect, and I soon started following in her footsteps when my piece was accepted for publication in early 2005.

Over the years, Mom and I had talked about doing a series of bead crochet and beadwoven bags based on vintage patterns from the turn of the twentieth century. But time and work and college and other responsibilities always led us to put off working on them. But we still talked about knitting and crochet and beadwork, and whenever Mom had a question about sourcing beads she would call me to find out where she might find a hard-to-locate product. When I was learning how to do bead crochet, I called her when I was absolutely stuck and ready to chuck my whole project out the window.

We started talking about the collaboration again in 2007 when I found out that I was pregnant with my son. My husband and I had decided that I would be a work-at-home mom after our son was born, and I was going to earn my income through my original beading designs and my finished beaded jewelry. But in July of 2008, Mom passed away after her health rapidly declined following a car accident earlier that year. I was devastated not only by her passing but also by the fact that we never got to work together on our collaboration.

One of the many crocheted vests Mom made for me throughout high school and college. I still wear this one all the time!
Then on my very first day at Interweave, in my very first meeting, I was introduced to some of the other staff from Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, and PieceWork magazines, as well as Toni Rexroat, the editor of the online community Crochet Me. It was a real treat to finally get to meet and talk to Jeane Hutchins, the editor of PieceWork magazine, who remembered my mom fondly from her many submissions to the magazine. Jeane gave me a copy of a recent issue of PieceWork, in which the author of an article mentioned the article by Mom about restoring an antique lace tablecloth as her inspiration for the restoration of an antique crocheted lace scarf. I found out later that week that Toni was working on editing some of Mom's other past submissions for Crochet Traditions, a special issue that showcases projects in a historical and cultural context.

Mom would have been thrilled and honored to have her work included in this issue of Crochet Traditions - part of what she loved most about knitting and crochet was the rich and complex history of needlecraft, something that she instilled in me when I started my own explorations of beadwork and glass bead making. 

Her articles in the newest Crochet Traditions include: A Shell-Pattern Bonnet for Baby; Ann Scott's Lace; and Repairing a Treasured Crocheted Tablecloth & Wheel Motifs, about how she painstakingly repaired her mother's crocheted lace tablecloth. You can find all of her articles, along with lots of other beautiful heirloom crochet projects, in the 2011 edition of Crochet Traditions.

Have you carried on with your own family traditions of crafting and needlework? Or have you started new traditions that you hope to pass down to your children? Share your stories and experiences here on the blog!

Bead Happy,


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brianmurphy wrote
on Sep 20, 2011 3:49 AM

It's pretty awesome! Being a fashion designer I wanted to ask that can you please explain me it's stitches pattern so that I can try this?

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BeckyP@18 wrote
on Oct 8, 2011 10:04 PM

My most vivid memory of my grandmother was that she never sat down even for 5 minutes with picking up her handwork. Mostly she knitted but she did other handwork also. When I was about 5 she made 5 crocheted bedspreads ( 3 yellow &  2 pink)that are multi-layered flowers in a square alternated with a square that only had an open work x in it. I sat in amazement the she could turn a single piece of thread into a multi-layered flower.One of the bedspreads was Grandma's, one my Mom, one my Aunt &  2 went to my older sisters to start their hopechests. I was very jealous. Just before my Aunt died she gave me hers. It's even pink my favorite color. When I put the spread on my bed I realized that Grandma was who I got my creativity from. I also remembered Grandma sending me to straighten the tassels on her spread when I was underfoot. Something I had not thought of in thirty years. I can never thank my aunt enough for her gift.