Friday, 13 November 2009

Vintage Crochet

I was flicking through my absolute favourite crochet book last night, Vintage Crochet by Susan Cropper of Loop, when I thought it was about time I did a post about two pieces of real vintage crochet that I have. The first was made by my Gran. She made these mats from pink cotton, and she also made a yellow tablecloth from the same pattern, again out of cotton. The tablecloth is breathtaking because it is so big and the crochet work is so fine.

She started making the tablecloth when she was a teenager, and because of the war, she could only get yellow cotton. She continued making the tablecloth right up until her 70s, when she finally finished it, so it was a good 50 years in the making at least.

At some point she must have been able to get hold of a small amount of pink cotton to make the mats, and she kindly gave one to me recently. It is a bit of a family trait that we start things and never finish them. My gran has lots of half sewn embroidery kits, jumpers that have been knitted and never sewn up, but I think we can forgive her for that considering she spent a lifetime making this wonderful piece of crochet, and finished it!
I find it incredible that she could crochet so finely. She told me that she loved doing it because it was so fine and lace like. The photos don't really give you an accurate idea of just how tiny the loops are. In the photo below I have put a needle through one of the chains to try to give you an idea, but the needle is actually quite a big one so it still doesn't demonstrate just how tiny it is.
My gran still has the original pattern, it hasn't quite fallen to bits yet, so I scanned it with a view to having a go at it myself but I just don't have the patience! If anybody would like the pattern please just ask and I will email it to you.
I love the repetition of the floral motifs. This little mat is so beautiful, dainty and pretty.

The second piece of heirloom vintage crochet is one given to me by Andy's Grandma. It was made by her Grandmother, Mrs Minnie Jane Julian who lived in Aylesbury for most of her life. She was born in 1865 in an appartment next to Kings Cross Station and died in 1955. She learnt how to crochet at bording school, which she went to because her mum died when she was young.

I love the intricate detail in this piece of crochet. It is so beautiful, perfectly done.

Minnie had a wonderful technique, each stitch is flawless. The whole piece is in excellent condition, as if it was made yesterday, not nearly 100 years ago.

I wish I had the skills to produce something so delicate.

I feel honoured and privileged to have been given these two incredible pieces of crochet. Not only are they examples of fine craftsmanship, but they tell a story of days gone by and are important pieces of both of our families' history. I've been wanting to frame them and put them on the wall in our spare room/ sewing/craft room but I haven't yet found suitable frames. Hopefully I might spot something at the shops this weekend because they need to be displayed to do them justice. I have been working on my own crochet blanket this week in-between being worn out and tired from work. It is coming along and growing slowly but looking at these two pieces of crochet puts mine to shame. Just as well that the light was so bad that I couldn't photograph it today. I will however show you how it is coming along some other time.
We have a very exciting day in store for us tomorrow, involving lots of making, but making something I have never made before. And yes, that's right, I said we, which means Andy will be doing the making too! But I will have to leave you guessing until tomorrow as to what we will be doing.....


  1. Hi Emma-A really nice blog-my mum(Audrey) and Rosie(my sister/Andy's Mum)and our Mum were talking about this at the Old People's home when I was visting from Sheffield on Saturday. So nice to read something so sensitive about these family objects. I do just remember this old lady and once visiting her house in the very early 1950s-think she's my great grandmother-I know more about her children Flo and Minnie than about her-my e mail at work is we will see you at the wedding.

  2. Hi Emma -sure i am now sending from google account which I had to re-set password to-will repeat message- so nice to read the post- my mum, myself and Rosy were looking at this printed out at Old People's home-hopefully see you at wedding
    cheers John Baxter