Passing skills through generations

child practicing spinning with a drop spindle

Little Miss* has been "playing at spinning" with a drop spindle over the weekend. When she gets the hang of spinning this long piece of (ready-made) yarn without the leader falling off the hook (she is so frustrated about that) I'll be giving her some roving to try out. And it's not just my daughter who wants to learn - I've already had to give my mum a demo and she is planning to get her own spindle!

I was quite fascinated to read about Abby Franquemont's spinning as a child and how at age 8, after 3 years of practice, she was finally considered 'good enough' although she was well behind her Andean peers who were already spinning fine strong yarn for their family's weaving supplies. In 'Respect the Spindle' she talks about taking her spinning gear everywhere and how playing with friends involved extreme spinning challenges (spinning off the side of a cliff until the spindle dropped etc). In a couple of recent intereviews (details soon) I talked about not remembering how or when I learned to knit - someone must have shown me, but I can't really remember who or when. Perhaps it was osmosis from my knitty mum and nanna!

All this had me thinking about the skills we pass onto our children. Did you learn your craft from an older family member? What skills do you have that you'd like to pass on to your future generations? Have you taught the older generations any new skills? I'd love to know.
*I am relieved to see that even she has a double chin in a spinning photo, she took some (blurry) pics of me too, and I thought it was just a(nother) sign of getting older. 


  1. I learned to knit from my Granny and my Mum (as well as school, as it was on our curriculum in the '80s). That's why I picked it up again about five years ago, because I realised that it's my responsibility to teach my children how to knit, as the powers that be have decided it's not a key primary school skill anymore. I was so proud of my 6yo when seh declared her new years resolution to be to "knit a whole thing". And she doesn't realise how brilliantly she's doing! She'll have knitted several :-)

  2. That sounds really fascinating, and I love that your daughter wants to learn how to spin as well....even though it is frustrating for her!

  3. I'm a self taught knitter/crocheter. My grandmother was a spinner and weaver, but sadly due to the distace between us, I wasn't infected with fiber love until after her death. I'm kind of rather sorry she never got to teach me to spin, but now I teach my own skills to anyone who asks, including my own mum.

  4. I learned crochet from my mom then neither of us did it for many years and when I picked it up again she was inspired to pick it up again in this great creative circle!

  5. Both my grandmothers crocheted, as did the in-law grandmothers, and I'm so sad I never learned from them. I do have lovely doilies from all, as well as a real retro navy-edged granny square for my youngest that my husband's granny made.

  6. My grans taught me to knit and crochet before I even went to school! It's not something my teenage son wants to learn - as it doesn't involve a muddy field and ball, but he does like the fact that his mum is "crafty"!

  7. This is such a sweet pic. You definitely have to frame it.
    My mum is a fantastic seamstress. I have yet to learn but we've talked about sewing lessons from the bottom up. I would love to see my daughters knit and spin, plus cook.


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