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About the Header Image: Idlebrook Wendy Darling Evensen, the baby of our family.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Heirlooms - If Only They Could Talk

This lovely cross stitch on a linen hand towel is part of a treasure chest of beautiful items I inherited from my Mother.  I display this one in the bathroom, but we don't use it.  Every once in awhile I wash it gently to freshen it up.  I was ironing it when I stopped to think about who made it.  I'm not quite sure if it was my mother, her mother, my father's mother, or some other relative.
I know Mom embroidered and tatted because she taught both to me, but I also have a letter from my mother to my father's mother thanking her for the hand towels.  My Dad inherited the letter my mother had written to his mother when his mother died.  How sweet that his mother had saved the thank you note from her daughter-in-law. 

Could this have been one of the towels? 
  Or, could have it been this linen towel with the tatted edges.  
These two images are of opposite ends of the same towel.

If one or both of my grandmothers was involved with these towels, the towels probably would have been made between 1880 and 1920.  My goodness, they are in beautiful condition 100 years or so later.

Perhaps the tatted towel was made by my maternal grandmother.  My mother tatted and learned the art from her mother, but this is a different style than what I saw my mother making.  I also have pillow cases with similar tatting.  I know my mother did not make those, but it is not clear which relative did.

So, these items will continue to hold their secrets.  I enjoy knowing they were made by my relatives and am now finally going to get them framed and protected under glass.

Do you have similar items?  Hopefully, you still have someone alive in your family who can tell you the stories behind them. If so, it would be so great to write those stories down and put them with the item for the next generations. 



Wanda said...

My mother, maternal g/mother and g/g/mother were all quilters. My paternal g/mother crocheted and tatted and a g/g/father actually embroidered a little. I have several things they all made and some things lost to memory. I've taken photos of many to put in a journal of sorts, to identify them and other belongings handed down, maybe it should be a family blog!

Your pieces are lovely, Lois!

Olive Knitting said...

Great post! I suddenly remember how proud I am to be part of the homecraft circle or, maybe I mean cycle. When I'm home visiting my parents my mother always dresses the guest bed for me with embroidered pillow cases and a quilt both made by her mother because she knows I appreciate the work and art that went into them. The quilt is made from left over material she used to make dresses for my mom and my aunt when they were kids. Unfortunately grandma died before she could teach me to quilt but she did teach me to embroider and I still have the little mix-match kit of supplies she gave me plus the pillow case I was working on when she was teaching me. Grandma also made me pillows using the matress ticking and the feathers from HER parents bed. Wow. My other grandma is a crocheter. She's still alive and has made my father promise to get every single afghan she has in her house to me when she dies. Fiber arts are WAY better than cryonics for eternal life!

Anonymous said...

They are so pretty!! The first one you showed would look pretty framed. Ever thought of framing them? I did it for a gift long time ago. I folded it in half and had it framed. They put it on special acid free paper behind it and seal it tight - it was so pretty! I received some pretty towels from Bob's mom. Most were had stitched or tatted. Lucky you! ...debbie

Elaine said...

Both pieces are beautiful. You are fortunate to have these items handed down to you, and it's too bad that you don't know their history. The only needlework I have is a quilt that belonged to my husband's mother, but he doesn't know the history behind it, except to know that it came with his mother from Pennsylvania when they moved to Alaska in the early sixties. As you say, these items hold their secrets. I like Wanda's idea of making a journal with photos to identify items that are handed down. I have several things that have been handed down to me and I know some of the history, but my children probably don't. I think I need to make a journal, including items that I have from my childhood.

Lois Evensen said...

Wanda, that is so smart. I was thinking of writing notes to put with the items, but a photo journal is the very best. Thank you.

How sweet, Lynn, that your mother used the lovely pieces that are family heirlooms. It is so special to touch and use something so carefully made by the hands of someone who has passed that item down to us.

Yes, Debbie, I do plan to frame them. I have a pillow case with a tatted edging that I plan to frame, too.

Hi Elaine, I was just writing here when your comment came in. Yes, I agree about Wanda's idea.

To extend these thoughts: It is very interesting that things that we might not think will be heirlooms that we have made will someday be in our grandchild's hand or his/her child's hand and the question will be asked, "I wonder who made this. I wonder what the story behind it is." Perhaps we should all be making a photo journal of all the things that we make and give to them to be passed on when it is time.

You all have such good ideas. Thank you all for stopping by.

Very best,

Erin Wallace said...

These are beautiful! I have a pillow my grandmother quilted and one my aunt embroidered. Very special items indeed

River Glorious said...

Lovely piece. if I had one, and the money, I would frame it.

Diana said...

They are beautiful Lois. I've never tatted before, just crochet. It's to bad that the mystery will never be solved but at least you have a pretty good idea.Since my mom passed away in December, I have acquired quite a bit of her things, old and new. I do wish I new the story behind them all. I have no one to ask anymore.
Love Di ♥