Old Memories Into Something New

My grandmother was quite the seamstress. She made most of her outfits and things for us kids, as well. My favorite thing was a dress that she made for me…

Back in the early 80’s, Gunne Sax was a very popular style of clothing. Kind of a formal-country style. My sister and I were getting portraits made and I wanted a Gunne Sax dress to wear. My grandmother made one for me. I was so happy to have that dress! It was quite similar to this dress, but in brown.

I remember my grandmother was always sewing something; from drapes, to tablecloths, to slipcovers; there wasn’t one room in her home that didn’t have something in it that she had made.

She tried to teach me to sew, but to no avail. I can sew a crooked hem and that’s about it. I do wish I could sew and I do intend to practice. I would love to be able to alter my clothes.

The two buttons above were a couple that I remember my grandmother using on blouses.

My grandmother is currently in a nursing home. Sadly, she is quite senile and no longer remembers her own children (let alone her grand, great-grand and great-great-grandchildren). Well, she is nearly 100-years old, I think she’s entitled!

When she moved out of my father’s house and over to my aunt’s, in Texas, I was given her ample supply of sewing stuff. This included a rather large collection of thread, elastic and as you can see, BUTTONS.

The three above she used on robes that she made for herself. The last button looks white, but it’s actually green. She also had this particular style in pink; those were the two that she used most often.

I didn’t take a picture of this one when I did the other individual buttons, so it’s a crop of another photo. This is one that she used on a jacket that she made.

Everything that she made was of the highest quality. You wouldn’t know that it was home-made. All of her finishing techniques and the materials she used were quite professional looking.

The above two buttons I don’t recall her using. I just thought they were interesting.

I had seen a knitting ablet and was searching the internet for less expensive options. There were some very cool items on etsy and then I had an epiphany… I could make one and I had just what I needed!

I strung the buttons on two strands of tatting/crochet thread that I have on hand.

I put the big buttons on one side and the little buttons on the other. I separated them with a bead at the bottom.

I then tied the ends together, beneath the green and gold button.

As you can see in the picture above, I have placed a short length of knotted elastic around both sets of thread.

For each row of knitting and/or crochet that I do, I move one of the small buttons up, through the elastic loop. I can count up to nine rows, with the small buttons.

When I get to row 10, I move all of the small buttons back to their original position beneath the elastic loop and I move one of the large buttons up. Rinse and repeat.

Conveniently, with this abacus, I can count up to 99 rows. No more paper and pens to worry about. No more relying on my (increasingly unreliable) memory. I can put my work down, return to it days later and be able to quickly figure out where I was when I left off.

It didn’t cost me a thing and every time I use it, I relive happy memories of my grandmother.

One thought on “Old Memories Into Something New

  1. Holly says:

    I’ve got to do this. What a great idea! I’m always getting lost on what row I’m on. It will also fit perfectly with my passion for buttons that started with my own grandmother’s button tin. As a child, I loved sorting through it, looking at the different designs . My own collectin of buttons far out reaches a tin.d LOL


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