Monday, June 16, 2008

Snowflakes in June

I had a very busy morning this morning. Got a lot of things done including mailing genealogy stuff to my sister and my cousin, music to my accompanist, and a condolence note to a friend who recently lost her mother. Then I realized that today is the 10th anniversary of my own mother's passing. I felt I needed to commemorate the day and wanted to write a tribute to her. I decided the best thing to do would be to post photos of some of the gazillion crochet projects that she did over the course of her life. I have already posted about the lovely christening dress she made for me which didn't get used until last year by Baby C. I also posted about the last tablecloth she made which she left unfinished when she died at age 86.

So here are some of my favorite pieces. I'll start with the tablecloths she made for me. The first one was made especially for my round table, back when round tablecloths were hard to find, and features a pineapple theme. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality.

American colonists began importing the pineapple from the Caribbean in the 17th century. Due to its seemingly exotic qualities and rareness, the pineapple soon became a symbol of hospitality in early America. Because trade routes between America and Caribbean islands were often slow and perilous, it was considered a significant achievement for a host to procure a ripe pineapple for guests. Similarly, some accounts tell of New England sea captains who, upon returning from trade routes in the Caribbean or Pacific, would place a pineapple outside their homes as a symbol of a safe return.

Due to its association with warmth and friendliness, pineapples in America were often used as the “crowning” piece in large displays of food. Similarly, the pineapple symbol was used frequently in the 18th and 19th centuries to decorate bed posts, tablecloths, napkins—anything associated with welcoming guests. Today, the pineapple remains a fitting symbol for the hospitality industry, and pineapple-themed products still abound. From lamps to candle holders to salt and pepper shakers and beyond, the pineapple motif says "Welcome!"

Another tablecloth she made for me is used when I open the table to its full dimensions with two added leaves. Again, it was hard to find tablecloths for such a large table. (But don't ask me the exact dimensions right now. I have forgotten them.)

The next three photos show doilies. I'm sorry I didn't take the time to press these out so they would look their best. They have been stored away for a long time. The third doilie, with the pineapple pattern, is still starched and pressed as my mother sent it to me. Nobody uses doilies anymore but at one time, doilies were placed under all table lamps, vases, figurines, and anything on display to protect the wood underneath. The backs of stuffed chairs and arm rests were also covered with similar lacy designs. The paper "doilies" that are used sometimes today on a dessert plate are an abomination in my opinion.

She also made a couple of bedspreads and afghans for me and my daughter, but I don't have photos of them. She made dresses, tops, sweaters, and booties for everyone in the family. Here is a photo of a concert black dress she made for me many years ago and a charming dress for my daughter and her dolly. She also made stuffed animals for all the babies in the family and a set of little teddy bears that were mascots for my niece's gymnastics team.

I will not part with any of these creations even though I may not be using some of them right now. But the ones that my children remember the most with fondness are the snowflakes shown at the top of this post. My mother would make these up off the top of her head and send them to everyone. Some I have used as Christmas tree decorations, but the ones in the photo have long black threads attached to them so I can hang them in the window in the wintertime. Pretend snow. Makes me feel like I'm home again.


  1. Absolutely gorgeous. She was a very talented lady.

  2. Nice post! My coworker who likes to crochet enjoyed the pictures.

  3. I remember all of these except the doilies. I don't think they were used much! Of course my fondest memories are of the set of teddy bears she made for me. My favorite was actually one that was never finished. It was just a body and I called it Football :-)

  4. Ha, ha... I had forgotten about Football! The doilies were used mostly in the front bedroom. In fact, there are still some in there, including a large runner on the dresser, that I didn't photograph. They were also used on the buffet and sometimes on the table.

    And you're right, they should be used. I have gotten them all out to wash, starch, and press.