As a maker, I know how much time, work, love and energy goes into creating items by hand. Each stitch is an expression of love; love for the craft and love for the recipient. That is why handmade items that are made by others hold so much value to me. Even more so when it is made by someone close to me.
There is nothing more special than having an item that was made by the hands of someone in your family. Even when you are away from them, having something they have spent time creating is like having them with you..a virtual hug of sorts. This is the idea behind prayer shawls, baby blankets, afghans and so many other handmade gifts. To be wrapped in the handwork of someone that loves you is a gift in itself.
With that appreciation in mind, I would like to share with you some crocheted items that were made by the women in my husbands family. We were blessed with a trunk full of family heirlooms; old photo albums, antique baby shoes, burlap desert water bags, an old coffee grinder and an assortment of other treasures. Buried on the bottom of the trunk in a plastic bag were some beautiful pieces of crocheted work that had been made by, I believe, my husband’s grandmother, Norma Reed.
She was a crafty woman, like myself. I never had the pleasure to meet her, as she passed many years before I met her grandson. But through her handwork, I feel connected to her. We speak the same language of double crochets and slip stitches. I can feel her hands cramping at the small thread crochet stitches and imagine her thinking to herself, “am I ever going to finish this tablecloth?” (she never did…more on that later). I feel very grateful to have the items we do. We keep one of the two ripple afghans proudly displayed and often used in our living room.
So, without further ado, here are the lovely pieces we have that I am so happy to share with you.
First we have the two ripple afghans. The tan and white one we sent to my husband’s aunt, Norma’s only daughter. You can see the scrap ripple on our couch. I love how it pops off the dark grey. It makes me smile every time I enter the room 🙂
Then we have the simple, but sweet, Granny Square ornament that hangs on our tree at Christmas.
Now, onto the thread crochet pieces. For any of you that have worked in thread crochet, you know how hard it is on your hands and how long it takes to complete a project because of the tiny stitches. I have such an admiration for people that have the patience and physical stamina to complete such projects. Take for instance this baby bonnet. The crochet thread is not much thicker than sewing thread. How long could it have taken her to make this? I don’t even know what child it was made for.
I am a big fan of pineapples and this is a lovely example of a small pineapple doily. This sits on my dresser and is where I keep my wedding ring at night. I have plans to recreate this pattern in a larger gauge to make a bigger, but matching piece.
And finally, the piece de resistance, the thread tablecloth I mentioned earlier. There are 249 completed motifs joined together. There are many a stray thread end that I can only assume were going to be woven in at it’s completion (a habit many of us crocheter’s still have today). The entire piece measures 44 inches by 86 inches (unblocked, of course). She would have had at least 12 motifs still to complete just for the last row. Since I don’t know what her final measurements were to be, I don’t know how many more she planned to do. That is quite a large task to undertake; a labor of love.
The detail on this is phenomenal. Even in it’s unfinished nature, this, and the other pieces, are heirloom crochet that we will treasure forever. I am proud to be the next woman in the family to continue the crochet tradition. I hope the things I make will carry the love I have to our future children and theirs as well.
Do you have a crochet tradition in your family? What pieces do you have that speak to you across the generations? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.