My mother taught me to sew and crochet when I was a child. She went through numerous hobbies over the years, passing through latch-hook rugs, macrame, paper mache, crewelwork, cross-stitch, and others. Sewing and crochet were the ones she stuck with, and there was always a space in the house for her sewing machine and a stack of fabrics & patterns. She sewed all kinds of clothes for us, including most of my formal dresses in high school. Her stash was never very large, probably because we moved a lot and paring down becomes a necessity, but I remember digging through her scrap basket to make my first quilt when I was in high school. Not surprisingly, making stuff became a habit with me.
Twenty-three years ago I moved out of my mother’s house and into a small apartment with my then-fiance’ / now-husband. He was also moving out of his parent’s house, and together we owned just about enough to put in the back of a pickup truck. That first apartment was very small, two bedrooms, and since we were expecting our first son that second room was spoken for from the get-go. I had a small stash of yarn and fabric, and sewed a lot of baby clothes and our son’s entire layette set. I also made my own wedding dress, right there in that small apartment – with my sewing machine set up in our bedroom.
A second son joined the first, and the little two-bedroom apartment started to feel a little pinched. We moved to a slightly bigger apartment, a three-bedroom, when our daughter was pending. I continued to crochet and sew when I could, stashing my supplies in bags and boxes wherever I could find a square inch of space. We found apartment living restrictive, and with three young, active children we wanted a yard for them to play in.
A happy set of circumstances led us to our first, and current, house, in 1996: a ‘starter home’ built in 1941, when families lived close and having just one bathroom was not considered child abuse. It’s a three-bedroom house; the boys shared one room and our daughter got the second. My yarn, fabric, and assorted hobby supplies became common sights throughout the house, often stashed in bags or baskets to keep the cats out. Though the house was small, it was filled with much love, and our children have grown up into amazing young adults. The two boys have moved out and started their own adult lives, leaving just our daughter still in the nest.
What that means is that seventeen years after we moved into this house and twenty-three years after I moved out of my mom’s spacious three-story house, I have a spare room. A SPARE ROOM. I can’t shout that loudly enough. We’ve never had a spare anything, and finding spots to store stuff has been a continual challenge. I’ve never stopped making things, and my crafting supplies are squirreled throughout the house and in an outdoor storage closet, and now, now there is an entire room, in the house, that I can use. This makes me so happy, to have a space that I can organize with the hobbies that I find so fulfilling. And knowing I can close the door when it gets too messy. 🙂
The past couple of months have been spent renovating the boys’ bedroom so that our daughter could move into it (it’s larger than her room was). We recently got the hardwood floor in her old bedroom refinished, and on Monday we started moving some stuff into what is now my new craft room. It’s small – roughly 10′ X 11′ – but it’s so much larger than what I’ve had (nothing), that I just can’t wipe this silly grin off my face every time I think about it. We re-purposed a cubby thing that our daughter didn’t want, and I’ll put my fabric in it. A bookshelf moved from our bedroom last night, and it will be filled with yarn. A wire mesh cubby system that has been stored for years will now be put to good use. And my sewing machine no longer has to share the dining table.
Here are a few pictures I took last night; I’ve started gathering my supplies and stash from around the house. There’s still quite a bit to do (I haven’t even started on my sewing stuff), but I’m organizing (and purging) as I go so it will be several days yet until everything is put away in its new home.