Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dear friends, heirlooms and crochet

Today I went to lunch with a dear friend, Joyce. We go at least once a year to a Japanese restaurant in Springfield for sushi. Joyce and I have been friends for several years now. We once worked together, and she is now retired, but we still see each other and chat with each other. I have been fortunate in my life to have many folks in my life whom I consider dear friends, and Joyce is one of those. She and I share many things, including a love for all things handmade. Today she gifted me with these vintage pattern booklets, which once belonged to her mother. Joyce's mom was once a gifted knitter and crocheter, but can no longer enjoy these endeavors. I am very honored that Joyce would give them to me; she knows I will add them to my vintage pattern library (I am a sucker for the old-timey stuff and can't pass up vintage patterns when I find them in flea markets and antique shops!).
It seems needlecrafting is in my genes; I had a great-great aunt on Mom's side who once owned a shop where she sold items she and her sisters had sewn and crocheted. You would think some items might have come down to my Mom, but alas, none have. We only have the stories. For me, it's not so much about the stuff, but it's more about holding something in my hands that was made by the hands of my foremothers, women whom I will never know. What were they like? Who taught them how to crochet? What did their work look like? Since they sold their work in the shop (and I understand the shop was quite successful in the day), I can only assume their work was top-notch. Knowing how skilled my own Mother is with a hook and a string should confirm this, as she learned her craft at the knees of these women.
I love the "Father Knows Best" look on this one!

Most of the booklets are mid to late '40's to early 50's. One is dated 1946, another 1950, the others not dated, but in the same style. So even if I can't have anything heirloom from the distant generations in my family, I can cherish the heirloom patterns of one of my best friends mother. My grandson was the recipient of a gorgeous hairpin lace blanket that Joyce's Mom had made and I was delighted to find the pattern in one of these booklets. The heirlooms will start with my own Mom, who has made a beautiful doily, and quilted table-topper and a counted cross-stitch sampler for me. I told her this year I would love to have a crocheted throw. She said she had never thought about making me one, since I crochet so much myself; but I told her I wanted one that SHE made. So, she's swatching and playing with some design ideas, which is even better than using a pattern, since mine will be the only one in the world like it!

I hope ya'll cherish the little things that you have recieved from generations past, whether they are "things" or stories. I am thinking there is a lot of design inspiration in these; now where did I put my hook?