Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Loving Hands

The past few weeks, we've been going through closets and bins with an eye toward clearing out the clutter and better storing the things we want to keep. I was reminded of what a treasure trove of handmade textiles I have, and I thought I'd share some here.

First up is a quilt that came from my paternal grandmother's house - or garage, I should say. We found it in a footlocker. My mother and I decided this quilt must have come from my grandfather's side of the family, since stuff from her family was so well cared for. It has flannel backing, which no other quilt handed down through my family has, and it features some really cool graphic fabrics, probably from the 1930s or 40s -- giant blue and white pears, French people dancing around the Eiffel Tower and white golf balls on a mustard background. Fun stuff!

On Mom's side of the family, I have two items made by my great-grandmother's little sister, Gladys. I only remember my Aunt Gladys from her later years, living in the same nursing home as my great-grandfather (her brother-in-law). He didn't really get along with her, but I loved visiting her room. She and her roommate were crochet machines, cranking out pastel-colored blankets, dolls and cozies that covered nearly every corner of the room. This is a tablecloth that I think is crocheted. It might be tatting, though I don't really know anything about tatting. The work is very tiny. It only has a few stains and some tears that could be repaired. It's not really my style, but I do love it's intricacy.

Aunt Gladys also made this cool trivet-like thing constructed with interlocking crocheted rings. The white rings seem to have been made one inside the next, and then were woven together by the section in green/yellow and then bordered with same psychedelic yarn. The result is a groovy 70s Celtic knot.

I'm sure a big part of the appeal of these items for me is knowing something of their provenance and of their makers. It makes me sad that I can't talk to Aunt Gladys now and tell her how much I loved watching her work as a boy. Or that I will probably never know who made that quilt. But having these and pulling them out from time to time to admire them makes me very, very happy.


  1. My grandma crocheted similar trivets - I seem to remember her crocheting around plastic rings, like from a 6-pack (soda, of course - Grandma was a tea-totaller!), but I can't figure out how se could have gotten them intertwined.

    Also - can you bring the tablecloth to SCC? I'd love to see it. I've done some tatting and I crochet, so I can probably tell you which it is.

  2. Dude - Please bring the quilt to knitting...I want to see the vintage fabrics. My grandma has an old quilt that has flannel backing. She says that was the real bedding that folks used back in the day v the prettier quilts. "delevity" was the anti-robot word i just got. that should really be a word, right.

  3. I believe that's crochetted lacework. I have many similar pieces in my linen collection. Tatting is usually more fine threads and lots of knots.

  4. It's so great that you're saving these!

  5. Here's an explanation of how to make that type of trivet if you're interested.