Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I have a (very) few pieces of old lace knitting that I treasure. I am aquisitive enough that I just like having them, but more than that I value the unknown hands that made them. So much knitting is, when you come down to it, ephemeral. And yet, so much care has gone into its creation. It is important to me that I can value this work with a fairly just appretiation of the
skill and patience and care that went into its creation.

The doilies came from my mother-in-law's family. I wish I knew just who had made them. Her mother crocheted, but as far as I know did not knit. Marge knit, but not lace.

Both doilies are garter based lace in ecru crochet cotton. The center of round one was worked flat in wedges, with short row shaping in the center section only. The gauge is 12 sts/inch in garter st. The seam joinng the cast on and bound off edges is extremely neat.
The other doily is of heavier thread at 9 sts/inch. The border was worked separately and sewn on with a whip stitch. Interestingly the same eyelet motif used in the center also used on the circular doily.

I honestly don't know where the linen handkerchief came from, possibly also my mother-in-law. The edging is white cotton that literally is as fine as sewing thread. This is also garter based, a very simple sawtooth pattern that looks as though it was pressed rather than blocked. It has a nice, rather frothy effect.
I found the stockings many years ago in a shop in Amador City, CA. I have no idea of their age or where they originally came from. The are adult sized: 9 1/2" from toe to heel, 19" from the top to the bottom of the foot. The gauge is 12-13 sts/inch in the stockinette portions. There is calf shaping in pattern (a sort of feather and fan rib). The heel is a standard "Dutch" heel.
What I find most endearing is that there are several very neat darns. (On can be seen in the photo above). Someone made these. Someone wore these. Someone took care to mend them. In honor of that someone/those someones I treasure them.


Jacquie said...

They really are treasures! It is lovely to have things made by our forbears and to wonder at the skills they had, and all the time they put into it.

The stockings are amazing. I hope who ever they belonged to somehow knows they are still being taken care of!

RUTH said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. I must admit I'm not one who usually surfs the knitting are all SO clever with the things you make and I feel it would all be bit "over my head". I did, of course, do some knitting (many moons ago) when I was pregnant; and remember as a child doing some crochet squares (quite liked that) and a bit of tatting but I've not done much since. There is a new magazine out here about knitting and I have thought about getting it; seeing the lovely things you make may spur me on.

junior_goddess said...

Your doilies would be lovely with flow blue dishes. My aunt has many, but I think her daughters are getting them....sigh. Not nice to kill your cousins off, is it?

Calamintha said...

This posting really touched some chords. We had some lovely lace pieces in our house when I was growing up. I'm not exactly sure what they were, Irish Crochet perhaps. I wonder whether they were made by my grandmother but I'll never know because my mother died suddenly when I was a teenager.

When you have made something special, do you ever wonder what will eventually become of it? I do sometimes although I know it is futile. I can only hope that there will be more people like you around in future generations to treasure the needlework of the past!

Auntie Noo said...

What lovely treasures - I love the stockings - as you say it's great to know something handmade has been so loved!

Knitbert said...

I really enjoyed reading this, your lace items are lovely and it is always so intereesting to read about where hand made items came from and think about who might have made them and loved them.