Something old, something new

When I went back to visit family on the east coast a few months ago, I had the opportunity to grab some hand-me-downs from my granny’s house. I was able to go back in time and send myself an entire box of my great-grandmother’s linens!

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What amazes and inspires me about the treasure trove of table dressings I now possess is not just the quality of the work, but the quality of the care shown by my great grandmother and my granny over the last 75-100 years. There were few stains, no mustiness, and the ironing was as crisp as could be. I could tell that these were cherished items of which Nonna Youngblood was very, very proud.
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It really made me think of how disposable so many things are, and how the ‘stuff’ I have isn’t really anything to cherish – if (when) I ruin a place mat or the cat decides that the napkins are chew toys, I just go buy another. But maybe there’s a lesson here – well-made, handmade things are worth having and worth caring for.

Besides the doilies I’ve made so far, I have plans for many more handmade items (or handmade touches on purchased items) that I intend to keep in good shape. I’m totally in love with crochet edgings right now, so I’ve been swatching a bunch in Curio, for various applications later!
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I’ve found that between my Pinterest crochet board and the gorgeous colors of Curio, I can hardly stop myself from trying every pretty lacy detail I can find. I’m learning how to put an edging on an actual thing (it’s like magic!) as well. It doesn’t look nearly as nice as anything I found in great-grandma’s goodies, but it’s a start.
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Even if there’s no future descendent who will inherit these items, I aim to create something useful that I, at least, can be proud of.


9 comments

  1. Barb T / August 3, 2013

    You’re hand-me-downs are gorgeous, Kerin. I haven’t seen cutwork like that in years. My mother used to do some of that. My sister has her work.

    Barb

  2. Becky / August 5, 2013

    I think it would be very difficult to replicate the vintage linens made by our ancestors. They worked with much different threads in smaller sizes and had years and years of practice. Once of the tricks I’ve learned about thread crochet is that it should be quite tight compared to yarn crochet, which is ironic since I crochet looser with thread than with yarn.

    Your swatches are quite pretty. Maybe you could tell us how you attached the edging to the fabric? More technical details, please!

  3. Alison / August 5, 2013

    I was just as blessed to receive my grandmothers hope chest treasures. You don’t see much of this beauty these days.

  4. Marti Johnson / August 5, 2013

    Having those beautiful linens to cherish makes you a very lucky person indeed! I agree with you about the fact that so much of today’s world is more throw-away than keep … maybe that’s what draws so many of us “creators” to keep the memories alive by making our own creations for future family members!

  5. Sandra / August 5, 2013

    Agree with Becky, you get vintage looks with vintage equivalent materials. Mercerized cotton thread for tatting could work, as it does come in a very thin size 80. Sadly they don’t make 00000000 size knitting needle pins anymore, but I haven’t seen any crochet hooks that can’t match what we have today.

    Honestly though, even if we don’t achieve the same vintage look, well made hand made goods of good material is still and always will be well worth the effort to make. Even without someone to hand them down to you’ll still be making your mark in the crafting world. And who knows who might be admiring your hand work 100 years from now? Maybe even a piece or two might find it’s way into a museum. You never know.

  6. Ruth Kremer / August 5, 2013

    Your lovely antiques are examples of Hardanger embroidery and it’s alive and well! Check the Nordic Needle website for patterns, how to and supplies. Unless Knit Picks wants to expand their new thread line to include smaller thread sizes and even weave linen!

  7. Susie / August 5, 2013

    Those are beautiful pieces. I have several items created by past generations of women. I have often wanted to gather a piece from each, a photo of the artist and create a framed picture. I hope, once created, my daughter and future generations will cherish it.

  8. Joy / August 8, 2013

    I have a few pieces from my ancestors, and they are cherished. Some of them are frames which allows for easy display.