Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Heirloom Apron And A Question

Do you have some textile treasure so infused with love it transcends its practical, functional origins and qualifies as an heirloom? When these things come into your keeping, it makes you think about the time and effort that went into their making, and maybe the tools used to create them.

Tatting by Bessie Cooper
Last week my mother gave me her organza apron trimmed with tatting. This is the kind of apron worn at holiday dinners after all the messy preparation work was done, or while serving cake and punch at bridal showers.  My grandmother did the tatting and made that apron, probably before I was born. I can only imagine how long it took her to tat that edging, in between milking cows twice a day, doing farm chores, keeping a big garden, and fixing three meals a day.

Along with the apron, mom gave me Grandma's tatting shuttle. No gold coin could have felt more precious than that shuttle when Mom pressed it into my palm. I never saw Grandma use it, not that I recall. Instead, her hands were usually busy with a crochet hook during my visits. But I do remember my mother talking about how that shuttle flew in her mother's hands -- and how much work it was to wash and stretch those lace curtains. My mom does not love the act of tatting, yet that shuttle is the artifact she's treasured all these years in remembrance of her mom.

You may have textile treasures you're planning to pass down some day. They may even be things you made yourself. But here's my question: Have you ever given the tool used to make the piece along with the gift?


  1. I have some very beautiful handmade lace that my aunt made many, many years ago. I would have loved to own some of her tools, but unfortunately I don't. No, I have never given the gift of an heirloom and its tool. I can certainly appreciate that you love those two items.

  2. I have a braided rug Great Grandma made for me and the folding cones braiding tools(if thats what they are called) that she used to make the braids.. The rug is salmon and blue because those were the colors of the old blankets she cut to make the rug strips.

    Thanks for sparking the memory..

  3. I love hearing about people's handmade treasures, and the people who made them. Thanks for sharing, Lene and Poppy!


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