Nana Made Use of Everything

My Nana grew up during the Great Depression.  So she was a very frugal lady and used everything she could and didn’t waste anything.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

She and I were very close and she taught me many of the homesteading skills and heritage arts that I love.  I believe my homesteading spirit definitely comes from her, as does the frugal side of me!

Last week I talked about how she and my Great-Grandmother used scraps of fabric from clothing they had sewn or fabric from worn-out clothing to put together these beautiful paper pieces for a quilt.  It was a practical way to use up extra fabric to make something beautiful and useful.

My daughters and I are continuing the quilt by using their paper pieces, and making our own from our scrap fabric.

This week I am going to share another way that we learned from Nana to make use of scraps…yarn scraps.

Back in the day, they use to make all their own socks.  Store-bought was too expensive and not always readily available.  So my Great-Grandmother and my Nana (grandmother) would knit socks for their families.  That meant that there was quite a lot of sock yarn scraps leftover.  Did they throw them out – no way!  They used them to make a granny square afghan.  Really, they probably made many afghans with the scraps over time, but I only know of one – the one my Nana kept on the back of her couch.

After Nana passed away I took a photo of the afghan that she had that she and my great-grandmother had made so that I could figure out the pattern and make my own.  As you can see, they made granny squares using different colors of sock yarn, then went around each with black, and then hooked them together.  It is a beautiful afghan and has a very vintage feel, which I love.  I wish I had a photo of the whole thing to show you, but I only took the close up at the time so I could figure out how to make it myself.

It was easy to figure out, it only uses double crochet stitches, plus single crochet for the black border.  I love how they changed out the colors, which made the patterns really stand out in special ways.

So, being a sock knitter, and having plenty of scraps of my own, I decided to follow in their footsteps and not waste the yarn by throwing it away.  So I put all my leftover sock yarn scraps in a bag, and every few months the bag comes out and my daughters and I make a few more squares and then put it away, to bring out again a few months later.  It is another long-term project, like the English Paper Piecing quilt.  The girls and I look forward to the day the afghan is hanging on the back of our couch – just like Nana’s.

5 thoughts on “Nana Made Use of Everything

  1. My family were also crafters and frugal ones at that. Great Aunt Emily could do almost anything and everything. Mum was a knitter, Aunt Hannah a potter and Aunt Edith a dressmaker. I was always fascinated how they could make something from almost nothing. They did it because they didn’t have the money to always buy new but everything was made with love and care. Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories of when I used to watch them make and do as a small child. My Great Grandma used to say “Your hands should never be idle”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a historical costumer and have scraps saved of all of the outfits I have made for myself, my husband and children, and even for some customers. One day, when our house is built and I have a sewing room again, I plan to turn those scraps into quilts. I may just have to use your paper piecing idea since the majority of that can be done while sitting with the family in the evenings, not sequestered in the sewing room. And I love the idea of using yarn scraps in such a cool manner. I might have to start saving my scraps of yarn, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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