Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Doilies from the past

The other day I was going through a small box that we have. Inside it are a few items that Kevin’s mother gave us years ago. There are four hand-embroidered handkerchiefs and one knitted glove. His grandmother made them. I’ve never met Kevin’s grandmother. She passed away many years ago. I was looking at these few items that we have of her. They are beautiful. I wondered about the delicate glove. Where was its mate? Did it get lost long ago? Destroyed? Or was it never made? I started thinking about my own grandmother that passed away a little over a year ago. I remember seeing my grandmother sitting at her kitchen table or on her sofa knitting doilies. 
Growing up, my grandmother always gave me doilies for my birthdays and Christmas. My grandmother continued her tradition of doily making and giving until a few years before her death. I have boxes full of doilies and embroidered tablecloths that my grandmother made and gave me. I decided to take out the boxes and go through them. The items inside were beautiful. I spread my grandmother’s work, and Kevin’s grandmother’s work on the floor around me in my living room. I was surrounded by the work of these two women. A strange feeling came over me. I can’t explain it. The best way I can describe it is that I was surrounded by sacredness. So much work went into each of these objects. So much time. I thought about these two women that didn’t have much in common and lived an ocean apart and yet here they were joined by their craft on my living room floor. Yesterday I spent a quiet hour looking through and holding the hand made artwork of two women that are no longer with us. Somehow, looking at these beautifully detailed items created by their own hands, they didn’t feel so far away. In fact, they felt very near to me. I’ve decided that it is time for these works of art to come out of their boxes. Kevin is going to build frames for them. We are going to display our grandmothers’ art on our dining room wall. I’m excited to be able display them for all to see, especially my children. Maybe this will give my children the opportunity to get to know their great grandmothers a little bit and feel close to them.


  1. This is really neat. That's a cool way to display them as well!


  2. I love this, Anita! I think too many people don't value handwork anymore. It's either considered just a hobby, or it was "woman's work" or it's too old fashioned. When I sit down to knit or crochet or sew, I feel a bit of that sacred. I always hope that the person I'm creating for will feel that in my gift, also. My grandma didn't knit, but she created wonderful pine needle baskets. She never considered herself creative, but the baskets are just beautiful and I'm so happy to have them displayed around my home. I'd love to see photos of your doilies when they're all displayed!