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jade
Permanent Resident

USA
1543 Posts

Posted - 06/16/2004 :  07:27:05 AM  Show Profile Send jade a Private Message
My handknits last forever. I've given them away when I got tired of the styles or colors but up to now, none have worn out. I think the oldest sweater I have is one I made for my father. He wanted something warm for a trip to Austria during winter. I was home on break from college so I knitted it in two days, many years ago. After he died I asked my mother if I could have it back. It looks as good as ever.

I also have the lace tablecloth I made for my mother when I was about 20. It's from Marianne Kinzel's first book of lace knitting and took me years to finish - hundreds and hundreds of stitches knitted in Coats crochet cotton #20. That also looks as good as new because she never could bring herself to use it.

The oldest garment I have is a dress my mother owned when she was a young girl. She showed it to me to prove that she once was slim. She regretted it because I begged to have it. It's a handmade cheongsam in blue silk, fully lined, with handmade buttons. To die for. Too small for me unless I remove a few ribs, but a gorgeous piece. I could wear most of her other clothes and still have a silk georgette and lace suit she bought in 1946. It is absolutely beautiful and always bring compliments when I wear it.

Good clothes should last a long time.

Cheryl
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Kitknit
New Pal

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 06/20/2004 :  12:48:07 PM  Show Profile Send Kitknit a Private Message
Boo-hoo. I feel left out. Can I brag about something wool but not knit? I have a blanket made by a great great -not sure how many- grandmother. She was born in Ireland in 1824 and came here. I think it probably was made of wool from their own sheep.
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dragonmom
Seriously Hooked

USA
956 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2004 :  6:08:52 PM  Show Profile Send dragonmom a Private Message
i have a lace tablecloth that my grandmother crocheted a long time ago. she's been dead for 12 years, and she gave up thread crochet in her 70's (she was 94 when she died), so it's at least 30 years old, and knowing my grandmother, probably older than that. my mother had it, and when my dad passed away, when she decided to sell the house, she asked me if i wanted it. you never saw me say yes so fast! one of the few things i have from my grandmother. i used to have a teddy bear that she made for one of my girls when they were little (they're 18 and 19 now), but i gave it to my little brother for christmas one year, because i found out he didnt' have anything of hers. it made him cry when he opened the box. i also have several quilts that my grandmother made, although i wonder if one was made by my mother, because it says miss eunice 1943. could be my grandmother made it for her, because they met at the school my dad and mom attended (she was my father's mother) i also have a rag rug (wool, lol) that my grandmother made, and i can remember that rug being in her bedroom when i was a small child. when she passed away (my mother's mother) i asked if i could have it. it's rolled up right now, cuz i don't know where to put it, but it's here. i ahve a baby quilt in sunbonnet sue that my paternal grandmother made for my oldest daughter, that i've put away to pass on to grandchildren. and of course, my maternal grandmother was a prodigious knitter, so i've got all the afghans left, lol, and a few i will ahve to finish. i guess i've got a lot of my family's heritage in my house.
Minnie

the world is knitted from one beautifully variegated skein.
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sallyjo
Permanent Resident

USA
2401 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2004 :  04:38:12 AM  Show Profile Send sallyjo a Private Message
Sunbonnet Sue? I love that pattern. I had something from my great aunt Mary with that on it when I was a child.
I make jokes about other people getting photos as family heirlooms, and I got furniture!

happiness is highly underrated
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klfrazier
Permanent Resident

1745 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2004 :  12:45:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit klfrazier's Homepage Send klfrazier a Private Message
I've been wearing an aran cardigan for the last 15 years that Mom made for her father probably 15-20 years prior to that. I'm not sure why it was in our house - Grampa was very much alive when I started wearing it. I just cabbaged onto it, and it became mine. I'm sure I looked rather silly as it was HUGE on me, but it has been a great source of comfort for a long time.

Kristin
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vicky by the bay
Permanent Resident

USA
4768 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2004 :  3:28:29 PM  Show Profile Send vicky by the bay a Private Message
What a great topic! I just received a box a couple months ago from Mom. She and Daddy had just gone through all Grandma's things....they moved her in w/ them...can't live alone anylonger not safe. She's 97 and becoming very forgetful. There is a quilt w/ the date 1865 embroidered on it made by my great great grandmother. Its very worn because it was used, but beautiful. I think I want to have it repaired and mounted if possible for my bedroom wall. Anyone know if this is possible? I also received the quilt Grandma and I spent several Summers together making. It's a bicentenniel quilt. A square for each state, the year it was brought into the union, state bird, state motto, and state flower embroidered on each square. Then the squares were machine sewn together (by me!) and hand quilted by mostly Grandma, but she was teaching me to hand quilt. I did finally learn to make the stitches small enough and even enough to please her....she was very very hard to please back then. Maybe that's why I don't enjoy hand sewing to this day! But there are good memories attached to this quilt. Also there are more (I have many) lace table clothes, hankies, pillow cases w/ lace edging. Both from my great Grandmother and Grandmother. I am the first generation to knit so I don't have any old hand knit garments or afghans....I do have my Healthful afghan you wonderful women put together for me....that is now going to be passed down for generations I'm sure! Thanks for the great topic!

Vicky (Queen O'Yarn archivist-QYA)
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carpe diem
Permanent Resident

1158 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2004 :  2:35:57 PM  Show Profile Send carpe diem a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by vicky by the bay
There is a quilt w/ the date 1865 embroidered on it made by my great great grandmother. Its very worn because it was used, but beautiful. I think I want to have it repaired and mounted if possible for my bedroom wall. Anyone know if this is possible?

Yes, it is possible - how precious Vicky ! I would strongly advise researching the possiblity of hermetically (sp?) sealing this gorgeous heirloom before framing. Contact your local wedding boutique or planner for more information and referrals.

I'd love to see a photo if you get the opportunity and interested in sharing ...

~ Lisa, Seattle
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KEG
Sustaining Member

122 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2004 :  3:37:21 PM  Show Profile Send KEG a Private Message
Check one of the local museums to see if they can recommend a fabric conservator. The Oakland Museum might be a good choice because they have similar-type objects. Caring for and displaying old textiles safely is not difficult, but it's important to know a few simple things. Use acid-free paper for all storage, roll rather than fold, and if you hang it, make sure that the weight is evenly distributed and is supported by a backing fabric of some sort. Don't want those old threads carrying the entire weight.
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fillyjonk
Permanent Resident

1127 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  06:28:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit fillyjonk's Homepage Send fillyjonk a Private Message
Well, I know when new quilts are to be hung - like at a quilt show - the maker sews a "sleeve" on the top back that allows a dowel rod or piece of narrow PVC pipe to pass through and hold the quilt up.

Possibly, there might be some way the top could be affixed to a "new" back (to reduce strain on the old fibers) and a sleeve made on that back for hanging?

The problem with framing quilts (other than the expense of having a custom frame made for something so huge) is that they don't "breathe" and if you live in a climate that is at all humid, you can get mold growth.

Of course, the problem with unframed quilts, especially on walls, is that they can get dusty (and you DON'T want to vacuum them!).

Also, if you hang it, please be sure to hang it away from direct sunlight as much as possible. A lot of the older fibers fade very easily, and some are even destroyed by sun exposure, in their weakened condition. (Even new fibers can fade; I have a quilt my mom mad for me when I went away to college and after three years of having it in my apartment near a sunny window, the dark blue fabric had faded considerably).
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Sher
Permanent Resident

1292 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  08:52:07 AM  Show Profile  Send Sher a Yahoo! Message Send Sher a Private Message
My oldest is probably an aran given to me as a gift by an Irish woman for whom I did weekly babysitting as a 13 year old. I'm not sure of the age of the garment, but second vintage garment is probably a hand designed pullover vest (pattern included) given to me by my husband's cousins. Their mother had died and Aunt Chrissie and I shared a passion for knitting. The vests were made by Chrissie's sisters in Scotland. One sister would design and do the simple work, the second sister would do all the intricate work. (What a story!) I began seriously knitting in 1976 and still have many sweaters, afghans, baby and childrens items which are either in use or stored for the next generation.
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Carolyn
Chatty Knitter

USA
284 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  09:05:38 AM  Show Profile Send Carolyn a Private Message
I have lots of old knitted stuff, including his-and-hers thermal-lined, zipper-front, wool jackets made from Mary Maxim kits around 1960. Now that we live in Florida, they only get worn about once a year - if that! But they still look great, and the original mothproof yarn still has no holes in it. I don't even see this yarn in the current Mary Maxim catalogs. It was bulky, but knit on #9 needles (I think) to make very dense raglan sweater-jackets in stockinette stitch with intarsia motifs. The liners were made of woven nylon (rayon?) fabric with laminated foam backing, also ordered from Mary Maxim. We used to wear these jackets to go skiing in Michigan. Later we moved to Ellensburg, WA, and they were very useful in the winter there.

Carolyn
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mokeymiddle
New Pal

USA
13 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  09:30:22 AM  Show Profile Send mokeymiddle a Private Message
The single most valuable (to me) object that I own is a huge wool coat my Mom knit for my Dad when I was about 5 years old, I remember spending hours with my arms straight out in front of me while she wound this enormous amount of wool (My dad was 6'6"). Six years ago when my Dad died, my stepmother "allowed" each of his first set of children to choose one item of his to keep. That sweater was the only thing I wanted. I would have been heartbroken if she had not let me have it. I passed up a beautiful quilt made by my great-grandmother and I still regret a little that the quilt has left my family. But that sweater means the world to me.
-mokeymiddle
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Mickey
Permanent Resident

USA
1670 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  09:32:02 AM  Show Profile Send Mickey a Private Message
My grandmother is over 80 and still going strong, god bless her! She's back home in Austria and I'm in Texas, and on my living room lies a rug she crocheted maybe 40 years ago. Come to think of it, I also still wear a white woolen shawl she made for me when I was a teenager -I'm 41 now. Mom has no interest in needle crafts, but grandma and me do! lol
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Molly C
Seriously Hooked

USA
884 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  09:45:06 AM  Show Profile Send Molly C a Private Message
My mother made my dad a big fisherman's sweater before they were married (no love sweater curse there - over 40 years of marriage!) that I still have and wear occassionally. It's really quite huge on me, but I have always like the sweater in general, and now, being a knitter, I appreciate it even more. My mom might still have some of my children's sweaters she made for me stored someplace. I'll have to ask her.

Molly
http://knittingmolly.blogspot.com
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lilylover
New Pal

7 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  10:50:53 AM  Show Profile Send lilylover a Private Message
My oldest sweater which I still wear is a pullover with cowel collar that my grandmother made for me when I was about 13. I'm 56 now, so that's 43 years ago! It is made from the softest acrylic yarn and is badly pilled, but I still love it.
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MichelleKS
New Pal

45 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  11:09:51 AM  Show Profile  Visit MichelleKS's Homepage Send MichelleKS a Private Message
I have a sweater that my mother knit when she was about 20 years old. My mother is now 67. The sweater looks like it is brand new and I still where it.

Each member of my Dad's family including us grandchildren have afghan's that were crocheted by my Grandmother and given to us when we graduated from highschool with a $100 bill pinned to them. Before my grandmother lost the ability to crochet she had made all of the squares for her youngest grandson, but she never got to put it all together into an afghan. When she died 3 years ago, my aunt (my cousin's mother) gave me the bags of the crocheted squares and said, "You are the one that know how to do all this crafty stuff. Your mission is to put this afghan together by the time Ross graduates from high school." So I have all the squares, now I just have to learn how to crochet or figure out how to knit them together so he too will have his afghan to take to college. I think it will now be my job to create afghans for the next generation. So far that is only 4 kids!


Michelle
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kateknits@gto.net


Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  11:15:28 AM  Show Profile Send kateknits@gto.net a Private Message
For twenty years I wore a lavendar lace sweater sent to me by an elderly aunt in Scotland. I loved it to death and it finally gave up the ghost. My auntie told me got it at a craft sale at the local "Home for Retired Genlewomen". Somehow, I think they have gone the same way as the sweater.<g>

I still have and occasionally wear my first crocheted project, a hat that I made in 1967. Still in good condition, still ugly, and time won't change that but I don't care.

Kate in Waterloo Canada
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Lesley


Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  12:13:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lesley's Homepage Send Lesley a Private Message
If this looks weird somehow, my excuse is that it is my first posting.

The oldest hand knit clothing I currently own are 2 sweaters I made. One is a simple, four color, yoked Fair Isle design I knit about 40 years ago. The other is my first Aran Isle design done a couple of years later. Big problem - both are way too tight to wear comfortably now. No, I haven't gained any weight, but sweaters were worn much closer to the body then, my knitting was much tighter than now, and they have probably shrunk a little.

I do have an Icelandic sweater I knit in 1976, (also the matching one I made for my late husband), and actually wore to Iceland a few years ago! It will last forever as I don't get to wear it very often here in Scottsdale, Arizona where it will be about 107 today.

When my grandson was born I sent him the sweater and hat I had made for his father 34 years before. I hope my grandson's kids get to wear it, too!

If we are including items other than clothes, I have a pansy pattern crocheted afghan my mother made in the 1930's and a multicolored granny afghan made by her mother which is at least as old. Also, some quilts which look like they are made from old "house dresses" in the 1920's or 30's by my late husband's aunt.

Lesley AZ
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Redrobin
Chatty Knitter

USA
191 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  12:32:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit Redrobin's Homepage Send Redrobin a Private Message
Sadly, it is not a family thing, but I have a cashmere cardigan with detachable fur collar that I bought at a vintage store in LA, dated around 1943. From an examination of the inside, it is hand-knitted (though the stitches are teeny!). I wear it sometimes, but between the age, the luxury and the fur, not very often. Still, I love it. It is one of my favorite things.
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Knit2Relax
Gabber Extraordinaire

433 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2004 :  12:49:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Knit2Relax's Homepage Send Knit2Relax a Private Message
Never met my husband's grandmother, as she passed away when he was young, but I do have the dresses she knitted for herself.... because of her knitting, I have a special link to someone I have never met.

Teresa
California
Knitting and More
http://journals.aol.com/knit2relax/KnittingandMore/
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