Distionary.com defines ‘heirloom’ as:

heir·loom /ˈɛərˌlum/ Pronunciation KeyShow Spelled Pronunciation[air-loom]

1. a family possession handed down from generation to generation.

heirloom-pic.jpg

A crochet heirloom is pictured above.
That got me to thinking about crochet and our heritage. Do you have any crochet items made by your predecessors – mom, grandma, auntie? I have only one. It’s a small doll sweater crocheted by my mother’s mother for my mom when mom was about 5 years old. To my knowledge, my mamaw had no interest in anything domestic. I never saw her sew or crochet or knit. Of course, she cooked every day and kept her huge kitchen garden in her small town in rural Arkansas. She LOVED being outside. The summers I spent there were filled with fishing, picking berries, swimming in the ‘hole’, visiting neighbors, and eating her exquisitely delicious fried pies made with peach peels leftover from making peach pies. No crochet! So, I cherish even more this single item I have inherited from her. My mom is 84 and I am 58. My mamaw has been gone since 1985. The little doll sweater is a soft pink, moth eaten, and attractive to no one but me!

My mother remembered mamaw participating in quilting bees in my mom’s youth. I have some precious quilts composed of fabrics that my mother can readily identify as having come from her brother’s shirt, her sister’s apron, her grandfather’s tie, etc. Some of the patches are signed by women I knew as ancient ‘relics’ – probably the age I am now – when I was a child.

So, I take these messages, few as they are from my own family, and try to assure that my children and other family members have heirlooms from my hands. I have crocheted an afghan for each of my three kids. I routinely crochet baby afghans for all suitable occasions, but especially for my two cherished grandnephews who are now 4 and 6. Since I have no grandchildren as yet, Dominic and Nicholas are my crochet beneficiaries. I just completed a tiny poncho for the 1 year old daughter of my husband’s secretary. My friends and their children now receive baby afghans for each grandchild and something crocheted as a token gift for each birthday. Maybe some day, these will become heirlooms, valued by their owners as the love tokens they are.

So, go make an heirloom!

By jd wolfe




Comments

6 Comments so far

  1. Karen on March 9, 2007 10:28 pm

    My grandmother had crocheted my mother and each of the granddaughters a sunburst centerpiece doily. Over the years and many moves, my sister lost hers. While it could never totally replace the one Grandma made. I reproduced that doily for her. The look of gratitude and joy when I gave it to her was awesome.

  2. Jennifer on March 11, 2007 11:11 am

    My husband has an afghan his grandma made, one his mom made, and I’m making one for him. He says they are very special to him and he thinks of the person who made it while he snuggles in them. For some reason, crochet and family go together. Something about making it yourself or home made. We need connections across generations and across distances. I agree, go make an heirloom!

  3. jd wolfe on March 12, 2007 7:52 pm

    Karen,
    I’m so moved by your brief story! How sweet and thoughtful of you to reproduce that cherished doily for your daughter. It’ll always be a memory of both you and her grandmother.
    jd

  4. jd wolfe on March 12, 2007 7:54 pm

    Jennifer,
    I agree that crochet and friend go hand in hand, across the generations of families and distance. How well stated! I have a few things, few crocheted however, that I cherish from my grandmother and aunts. Your husband is very special to have three afghans made just for him!
    jd

  5. Sheila Talley on March 21, 2007 5:50 am

    I loved your story! I guess I am very lucky. My mom and her mother were both avid crocheters. I have a huge pile of their doilies that I inherited after each passed on. I would give anything if I could spend an afternoon with a good cup of coffee spent crocheting doilies with my mom and gramma! Thanks for the smile. Your “crochet beneficiaries” are lucky indeed!

  6. Donna on April 9, 2007 10:51 am

    I never knew my gradparents, my family moved away from them before I was born. I have this big hole in my life. my mother was a advid crocheter. She taught me to crochet when I was about 8yrs. I have lots of her (and my)stuff. I don’t crochet much now but I do weave and have a trunk full of weaving for my kids and grandkids probably enough for the greats, also. I have a wooden trunk my great great grandfather made in 1859, which is my pride and joy. All my heirlooms are in it. “In case of fire.. grab that first!!”

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