It’s interesting to me that over all these years, I still can’t predict with any real accuracy what points in a post will provoke questions or ideas amongst you guys. The comments are a constant source of interest to me.  I’ll post about sweaters and how I don’t want the pockets to be too "pouch like" and instead of the expected conversation about pockets and how to make them flat, I’ll dial into the comments and discover that you’re all debating kangaroo care for newborns.  You’re a total wildcard to me, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I made what I thought was an offhand, unimportant comment, and it turned out to be interesting.

I said this "I have in my mind a traditional layette.  A sweater, bonnet, bootees and blanket, all heirloom quality, all beautiful, all unisex, because I have no idea what flavour of relation is set to arrive."

and then I went up to a friends cottage and had a good swim in the lake and a spectacular cuddle with a few little kids and found some amazing caterpillars and skinny dipped under the stars and then I came back, and read the comments and found out that there some interesting ideas about the word "heirloom" and its definition in the comments, and in my email.  (Before you read these, keep in mind that I love this sort of debate.  I adore that we all have different definitions, and I think it’s pretty spectacular that it’s possible to talk about differences of opinion without getting all hot and bothered. As long as everybody is civil about it, these kinds of conversations are cool.  There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with each other, or with me.)

"What makes something "heirloom quality"? Isn’t everything you (or any one of us) make the same quality? How do you change the "quality" of your knitting?"

"…if you have to ask what Heirloom Quality knitting is, you don’t knit heirloom patterns. (so difficult and complex that most of us attempt only one in a lifetime…)"

"Knit baby blankets, for certain. I loved covering with them myself when nursing or falling asleep and then they can stay with the child. But I prefer the ones that get well-loved, not heirloom quality. Two of my sons have cotton ones that softened so nicely, and my third has acrylic ones that are scratchy but snuggly for him. A soft hand-knit blankey is precious, for mama and child (and probably many more people)."

"My understanding of it is that heirloom is anything made with good quality material, classic design and workmanship, all of which will stand the test of time. A beautifully knit merino baby surprise cardigan is likely to become an heirloom, a colorful fun fur cardi or an acrylic sweater, no matter how intricate, probably not."

"Not to be snarky, but to me anything that a baby receives that is handmade with care is heirloom quality. I’ve crocheted many a baby layette and it still amazes me how few babies get handmade gifts anymore."

That’s a lot of different opinions, and… here’s the shocker. I don’t think that when I said "heirloom quality" I meant it any of those ways – I didn’t have a particular item in mind, or any specific criteria about what makes something an heirloom. In my head, an heirloom could be acrylic, or fun fur (although I admit that the fun fur thing seems like a bit of a leap, but maybe I could be convinced.)  When Amanda was born 24 years ago all I could afford was acrylic, and that’s what her blanket is made of, and you bet I think it’s an heirloom.  When I say "heirloom quality" I don’t mean that it has to be a crazy pattern, or that you have to weep while you make it, but I do mean that in my head, it’s special.

To my way of thinking, an heirloom is something that you’re hoping will be passed down, generation to generation, cared for and loved for a long, long time.  I imagine it going on this new baby, then that baby’s baby, and that means it can be made of anything that will last that long, although I do think that for something that significant, you’d use the best you could afford. 

When I say heirloom quality, I think of someone unfolding something I knit 100 years from now, and I imagine what I would like that to be. Not everything I make is meant to make that trip. There are sweaters that I know will get trashed in the park, hats that I know will be left on a streetcar, mittens that will be lost in the snow. There are blankets that are meant to be cozy, warm, outstanding utility, things that get worn to death until they’re holey, ragged and spent.  I love that sort of stuff, and I knit tons of it and you can’t stop me, but I don’t think of them as heirlooms. They’re important in the day-to-day, but not the long run.  (For example, It’s hard to imagine a pair of "heirloom socks". Most of them work too hard to make the trip, and they don’t fit everyone, and you see what I mean.)

Instead, when I decide to make an heirloom, I think about my great-grandchild unfolding the thing ages from now. I imagine them taking it out, and showing their spouse, and folding it into the soft pile of beautiful things for their new child. I imagine that I am  long gone, and that the only way they have to represent me in this family is to hold up the thing I made and say "Your great, great, grandmother made this. She was a wonderful knitter." 

"Heirloom quality" means that I put my best foot forward. That I want the thing to be the best I can make, so that it represents my commitment and love to my family a long way down the line. I want it to be represent enough of my skill that it has staying power and resonance for my family. I want them to look at it, and know who I was, and what I wanted them to see and feel.

That, my knitter friends, means that it can never be the same thing for me and you, and that I can’t decide what heirloom should be for everyone. We all have different resources, tastes, skills and family traditions. I could never tell you what you would knit that would represent who you are to your family. You’re the only one who knows that, and I guess this is the long way around saying that if you tell me you’re making a fun fur jacket with sequins for your impending grandbaby, and and then you tell me it’s heirloom quality – I might not ever make it, but I’m totally going to believe you.

PS. I’m getting ready to announce something wonderful.  This November, I’m planning to gather in Port Ludlow with a few of my friends, and we’re going to have an amazing retreat and it’s going to be all about lace.   Judith MacKenzie will be there to teach spinning, Nancy Bush (Yeah, that’s who I said.) will teach some fancy stuff, and I’ll do my best to deserve to teach alongside.  Debbi Stone will give us a hand. I’m delighted to have found a way to do this, so let this be your official Save The Date.  We’re all set to meet up there the evening of Friday November 15th, the classes will be the 16th, 17th and 18th.  More information and registration coming soon. (If you know for sure you want in, feel free to drop me a line.)
If you’d like to follow along as this fledgling business takes a little flight, our new Twitter handle is @StrungAlongLLC, we’ll update there, here, and on Debbi’s blog.
Here’s hoping we don’t fall out of the nest.

174 thoughts on “Heirloom

  1. Well said (written).
    Mayhaps an “heirloom is in the eyes of the beholder,” but I like the notion of something beautiful being handed down. Then again, some loved things are just that – loved things. I work with costumes and textiles in museums, and everything tells a story.
    But I could not help but think of the blankie that the royal baby was wrapped in — commercially made, but a supposed tradition in even that family.
    Personally, I hope to be able to make lovely heirloom blankets when I (fingers crossed) one day become a grandmother. (But not too soon, my boys. No need to rush …)

  2. Somehow, when I hear the word “heirloom” any more, all I can think of is tomatoes. So in that sense, anything that is irregular and a funny color could be heirloom. Yeh, I think that applies to a lot of my knitting!

  3. May we educate all our descendents in how to wash wool — and how to take Vermeer-quality photographs.
    In other news, congratulations on the new endeavor in Port Ludlow. If you need someone to break a bottle of champagne over you, I’m your gal.

  4. You’ve summed up what I consider heirloom quite well. I know many things I knit will be well loved and well used, eventually falling apart. But occasionally I want to knit something so special that it will be passed down and treasured, and hope what I do will be remembered and appreciated long after I am gone. The older I get, the more I think about my knitting legacy.

  5. I like your definition of an heirloom. I just finished a lilac purple baby blanket for my god daughter’s baby that I hope will be saved and loved like an heirloom.
    Wish I could make it to the retreat. That’s my birthday weekend, and I’ll be 45, which I think is a special year. Maybe I’ll win a lottery between now and the registration date. 😉

  6. As always, nail on the head. (But phrased far more poetically than that). Wish I could be as tolerant and understanding. (And poetic!)

  7. I’m not sure I’ve ever knit anything that could be considered “heirloom” by anyone’s definition. The greatest compliment to me is when something I’ve knitted and given away gets worn to rags. I’m not a grandmother (yet) so I can certainly see that changing if I ever get that title. I didn’t knit when my children were little, but I oftentimes wish I had, so I could have a wee sweater or bonnet to unfold from its tissue paper to be passed down.

  8. I don’t know if any of the things I’m knitting for my baby qualify as heirloom, but I do know that I intend to carefully wash and set them aside when they no longer fit. They might make it to heirloom status as they are passed to a different baby down the line.
    The blanket on the other hand, I expect will be used to pieces.

  9. I’ve been dying for ages to know how you pull off working in the U.S. when you’re a Canadian citizen. It’s the former immigration lawyer in me (and also the IMF/World Bank spouse who never managed to land a work permit in 16 years in Wash, DC). Just curious…

  10. I have a lovely baby blanket, knit by my mother for my daughter. It’s acrylic (Mom was all about easy care), but it is an heirloom. K can look at it and know the love of her Nana, who has since passed away. She knit it because she wanted her grandchild (ONLY grandchild, as it happened) to be warm and cozy and know how much she was loved. “It represent(ed) her love and commitment to her family”, and will be forever treasured. Well said, and so glad you were able to have some true cottage joy this summer. That was another thing Nana shared with her granddaughter, creating forever memories.

  11. Good luck with the new business!
    (and maybe I’m just too preoccupied with my own dramas, but your phrase ‘heirloom quality’ in the previous post really did not provoke any strong feelings – it’s just something everyone decides.)

  12. You can make something and hope it becomes a heirloom but there is no way to be sure. So just knit something with love and trust that it will be loved in return

  13. I understand and agree with your idea of heirloom, and can clearly see a difference in my intent with some things I make. My first grandchild arrived 4 weeks ago, and I made him 3 baby blankets–a smaller cotton one because its been in the 90s here since June but babies still need some cover-up, an acrylic one that can be dragged around and easily cleaned, and a Spanish Christening Shawl in washable, though more delicate, wool that I hope my daughter-in-law will enjoy using and keeping for many years. All were fun to make, but I will be surprised if the first two last a long time. But I know that they will all be valued for the work and love that went into them.

  14. Sometimes one can stumble into heirloomedness. I started what I thought was a pretty simple white pinwheel crocheted baby blanket and by the time I’d sewn together 52 crocheted pinwheels, you can bet your sweet arse, I felt like it was an heirloom.

  15. I never would have thought that the plain little acrylic sweater I knit for my niece 35 years ago when she was a baby, would be treasured by her and given to her first born 5 years ago, then handed down to her next little one 2 years ago. There are no fancy stitches, no fancy colors or buttons. Just plain old garter stitch in a robin’s egg blue. You are so right that heirloom is in the eye of the beholder.

  16. Beautifully said! Congratulations on your new business endeavor — I wish you the best! And I so wish I could participate.

  17. Oooh, something new in Port Ludlow. Wish I could make it, but against my better judgement, my older brother has talked me into going to Monterey CA that weekend to run in a half-marathon. Yikes. What was I thinking? Knitting with all of you talented people sounds like way more fun and much less stressful on my knees.

  18. Interesting. I hadn’t even thought about the definition of heirloom quality but I think it is a really great idea to discuss.
    When I think of “heirloom quality” I think of something you intend to be hand down so adjectives I think of right away are: timeless, beautiful, classic, neutral-ish. That doesn’t mean the pink and purple fun-fur blanket doesn’t end up being an heirloom, but I probably thought the cream, lace afghan was going to be the heirloom because it has a broader appeal and is a little old fashioned.
    I like the idea of anything possibly becoming an heirloom though. If it became meaningful to the recipient, then it is the heirloom after all. That’s kind of special.
    What lovely concepts.

  19. I don’t know if you listen to podcasts, do you? You really should listen to Brenda Danes podcast http://www.cast-on.com. Specifically episode 58. Franklin Habit does an extraordinary essay, Knitting Time, very reflective of this post. I was privileged recently to complete a newborn sweater began over 20 years ago by a great grandmother since deceased. She had began the sweater to gift to her future great grandchild who arrived this July. I included a print copy of Franklin’s Essay with the completed sweater. YOU will understand why if you listen.

  20. So what’s the heirloom blanket that the babe is wrapped in?
    I mean, surely you figured someone would ask for the name of the pattern, right?

  21. I love your description of an heirloom. It’s really more a feeling than a thing, isn’t it?
    Must share: My Nana (Mom’s Mom) got all 10 grandkids pj’s for Christmas every other year. In the “off” year she’d ask what we wanted. Nana had crocheted each of her 4 kids’ families an afghan & in my family it was the coveted cover we all wanted when reading or watching TV. So, I asked for “my OWN afghan.” I didn’t realize what it would take for her, a low-income woman, to come up with money for yarn, let alone crochet it with her increasingly arthritic hands. (In my defense we lived far away and I didn’t see her day-to-day financial and physical struggles.)
    What I got that Christmas of 1966 was a single crocheted throw in stripes – each row was a yarn that had been left over from something else. I loved it. It moved with the family 4 times, went to college with me, and covered me while I nursed 2 babies. I think of Nana with love and wonder every time I touch or see that afghan. She found a way to give her eldest granddaughter the gift of the warmth and love of a beloved grandparent forever.
    Nana died in 1985 when I was 29. I am now 57. For almost 80% of my life I’ve had that afghan and loved it. To this day it’s my favorite cover when reading or knitting on a cool evening. It may be a scrappy, acrylic, simple “throw,” but it is, indeed, an heirloom.

  22. Thank you such a great post. I have an acrylic crocheted afghan my grandmother made when I was born 36(yikes!) years ago. I still sleep with it and my children live to cuddle in it too. I treasure it, but never thought of it as an heirloom until today.

  23. I totally didn’t even really pick up on that line – the colours you had chosen, and the way you normally knit your baby items – indicates to me that you make them to be heirloom items, to be be unfolded, touched, fondled, washed, taken care of, but used…Through the most future generations that the item can survive.
    Also, I got teary-eyed, too.
    It’s why I’m knitting my wedding shawl – I want something that I can use to remind me such a special day.
    And I know the little person who gets your “layette” will have parents who remember the special day of the arrival of their child, and that the knitting they clothe them in will be, in part, the reminder of that.
    Katie =^..^=

  24. I adore the sentiment of ‘heirloom quality’ things but I also steer well clear of actually using them! You see, I would be so upset to be the one who stained/damaged or heaven forbade lost it, that it would have to be quickly fondled, admired, perhaps a few photo’s, and then swiftly and a little regretfully passed on, lest it attract moths/get dropped (or whatever) while I’m not paying strict attention. Things made or given with love, without expectation, though – oh, those I love and treasure, use and use and if they stay the course for my grandchildren, or another family baby – wonderful. If not? I’ll have to hope I’m still knitting! (I actually love best the idea of something so patched, darned, mended, that no-one’s quite sure if any of the original article is still there!)

  25. I have an old acrylic crochet afghan made by my Nana. I have a converted video of her working on it one Christmas as I (3yrs old) danced around the Christmas tree in my new cowboy hat, boots and not much else. 50 yrs later it is faded, scratchy, with lots of wear and whenever I wrap myself up in it I think of the love it was made with and my Nana who has passed away. That is my definition of an heirloom for sure.

  26. 1. I’m reminded of your suggestion in the Mawata class for those of us who had no one at hand to knit the class project silk baby bonnet for – to wit, “there may be someone at your local shelter who has no one to knit them an heirloom bonnet.” A typically lovely sentiment from our thoughtful Harlot!
    2. It’s important that those beautiful, well-loved pieces that are saved make it out of the cedar chest each generation (or more often), so their histories are not forgotten. I think it’s so sad that I have lovely old handknits that must have come from somewhere, but I don’t have the history, and my mom can’t tell me because she doesn’t remember anymore.

  27. How lovely….all the ideas about heirlooms and future generations. I knit baby blankets for the children and grandchilden of friends and I hope that they will be loved and cherished. But even if they get eaten by the family dog or lost in a move, somebody knows that I cared enough to knit something.

  28. This made me well up. As it happens I think your little lamb cardigan is so totally adorable & definitely in the category of heirloom. IMHO.
    Wish I had the skills (I don’t & I’m ok with that) & even tempted to wish for a wee one.
    What is is in baby clothes that turns us into raving lunatics??? LOL
    Worthing, UK

  29. This is exactly how I feel about heirlooms. They are about a feeling.
    I have my mother’s coffee cup from work. It is a Miskatonic University coffee cup. It is an heirloom to me. A link to who she was. I don’t have her anymore but we can still have coffee together.

  30. I couldn’t agree with you more! My GREAT-grandmother knit me 2 sweaters out of fingering weight acrylic. One in yellow, and the other in green since she had no idea “what” I would be. All 4 of my children have worn these 2 sweaters. The pattern is a basic, utilitarian design, but the love and sense of heritage are there forever (along with all the stains that show how very special these sweaters are and will always be).
    This same great-grandmother is the one who first taught me to knit and crochet. She came here at the age of 19 from Switzerland. I am the only one of the “greats” who was interested in fiber arts. In addition to knitting, she taught me to crochet, and to make crazy quilts out of velveteen scraps. She passed in 1964, and I still miss her every single day.

  31. I love the idea of a fall retreat and Port Ludlow seems lovely, but I would stand a better chance of attending if it would be somewhere east of the Mississippi River in the US, or in Ontario or Québec. I’m sure your loyal readers could suggest many locations. Just sayin’…. Still love you, Steph

  32. This discussion reminded me of the blanket I knit for my eldest sister’s first baby. It was simple, washable, crib-sized. Years later when I was expecting my first baby, we were going through her baby things for hand-me-downs when I pulled out the blanket. “You can have anything but that,” my sister said. “Somebody made that for me.” Cracked me up. Good lesson in giving!

  33. I love this post so, so much, and the comments on it. I’ve been thinking a lot about heirlooms, too; recently we’ve had to move my father into a nursing home, and we’re slowly going through all of his things. I’ve realized that it’s more of a distillation: from the piles of crap we’ve pulled out things, and some of those things are now mementos, and a few of those mementos will become heirlooms. Like Rachel T said above, the meaning that things have make them heirlooms. The factory-made tin houses for Lionel model train layouts have none of the beauty of a handknit, but they’re as much a part of my family story as the blanket that my great-grandmother made for me, and as long as someone remembers the history of each object, they’ll both get passed on.

  34. This sounds like a fantastic idea for a retreat. I spin and I knit lace almost exclusively 🙂 I’m in New England – far far from Port Ludlow – but I’m definitely interested!!! I’ll be watching closely for more information and registration details ?

  35. Tear. At my baby shower three years ago, my mother handed me a box that she has been lugging from state to state for over 30 years. I opened it and it was a green white and yellow chevron striped crochet baby blanket that my Great Grandmother crocheted for me! I apparently used it and my mother saved it to give to me. So yes. My daughter (who is now 2.5) often sleeps with a blankie that her great-great grandmother made for her. Even though Grannie passed a year ago, she is still with us. I hope I get the opportunity to save it for my daughter’s future baby shower.

  36. As the granddaughter of a prolific knitter who was known for her heirloom quilts rather than her knitting, I’m keenly aware of the difference.
    Grandma knit because kids needed clothes, rather than for enjoyment and as such, for the most part, her children did not value her knitting as heirloom. On the other hand as the only knitter out of all her descendants, I’m well aware of the time and love that she put into every sweater, hat or mitten that she ever made me, and 18 years after her passing treasure those that remain.
    My sisters are both skilled needle artists although in different ways and are aware of the time and work that go into creating knitted items. When they started having children, they asked for handknits. The deal we made was simple. I make classic patterns using the very best yarns available that are appropriate for the pattern. They are not to put them in yard sales or throw them away when they are outgrown. If they don’t want to keep them, they come back to me or go to the sister who appreciates them. Otherwise they will never, ever see another hand knit garment from my needles.
    My youngest sister is awaiting the arrival of her first grandchild. Since it’s a boy he’s getting a new wardrobe of handknits as she only had girls. But all the sweaters that I made for her children have been carefully folded away in the cedar chest waiting for the next generation to arrive.
    At the shower over the weekend, my niece opened the box of knits and asked about the care instructions for each piece. And yes I quite deliberately included a true heirloom in the stack. A BSJ made with yarn leftover from a helmet liner knit for his Marine father, and buttoned with buttons salvaged from his great-grandfather’s Army fatigues from the 1950’s.
    One of my nieces will be receiving the receiving blanket that my grandmother made for the baby shower held for my mother when she was expecting me almost fifty years ago and her love will get wrapped around a new generation.

  37. that is exactly what I thought your meant,
    well said
    I too would be more able to attend a Harlot Retreat should you ever decide to do one here at home…

  38. Soooo, Miss Stephanie, how far along are you with the layette?? Are you finished? Did you start with the big stuff (blanket??) and then wind down with the bitty things, or vice versa?
    Can you show us the work in progress??
    Please, with sugar on top?

  39. As long as “Heirloom” doesn’t mean “Baby blanket that will fit a queen bed”. 😉

  40. Speaking of kangaroos, was there any more news about the kangaroo that Julia Gillard, then prime minister of Australia, was knitting for the new royal baby (we now know as George)? The day after the picture of the prime minister knitting the kangaroo appeared in a magazine, she was deposed by Kevin Rudd. Did the kangaroo get finished? Did it ever get to George?

  41. I guess I don’t get sentimental with things like y’all do. I would rather something I’ve made gets worn to bits by being used and loved than kept for generations rarely used. My mom recently sent me a box of my old baby things and I really don’t know what to do with them. I don’t have the attachment to them that she did. Although it is fun to see the first sweater she knit and the tunic she embroidered for me.
    Even so, I admire the love and forethought behind “heirloom.” I’ve helped quite a few friends repair their decades-old shredded baby blankets and one 100-year old afghan. Witnessing my friends’ joy when then see a restored loved item fills me with satisfaction. It’s like the love surrounding handmade items gets passed down through time and space and spreads to those who come in contact with it.

  42. When I think ‘heirloom’ I think something passed down. None of my ‘Auntie Dee blankies’ (made for each and every one of my siblings’ kids) are going to be heirlooms. They are all made out of acrylic, mostly because they were all being made for teens and pre-teens and they needed to be hard-wearing and totally washable. Also, I was poor and often couldn’t afford enough yarn (even acrylic) to finish a blanket in a single shopping trip. I intended them to be used, and one has in fact been used to death and since replaced, which I totally love. A trio of them is being carefully tucked away and protected by the mother of the boys who recieved them. She might manage to make those into heirlooms, saving them from her rough and tumble sons, which is cool, but not what I’d ever intended. They were meant to be love in the form of a cozy blanket. I’d rather the love were passed down than the blanket.

  43. I went from enjoying a lovely post about the idea of Heirloom – your description is what I was imagining from the first post – to Damn! I have a retail holiday show the weekend of November 15th and if I hadn’t already paid for the booth I’d figure a way out. A weekend of Lace? In Port Ludlow? Damn.

  44. I agree that an heirloom is something made with love, and the very best work I can possibly do. I agree it would , in my dream be something that grands and great grands would use for their wee ones or in some instances for their weddings.
    I made three items I thought to b such. They were not knitted
    When each of my daughters had her first child I did a French Handsewn gown for the Baptism. All smocked and tucked etc like crazy. All their babies wore them, 1 is tucked away for future use , 2 are framed and on the walls of their homes ” until someone is ready to use them”. I guess they consider them heirlooms, all three of them. But they could just as well have not!

  45. Oh my goodness, what I wouldn’t give to be able to go to that Port Ludlow retreat (it’s even local-ish!). Sadly, I’m hip-deep (har!) in fertility treatments, and if they go well, I don’t think I can travel then due to various doctor’s appointments. (And if they don’t go well, I’ll probably be doing my second round and will be even more screwed!)
    So… I hope this is going to be a yearly thing! 🙂

  46. I have a blanket, bonnet, sweater and booties that my Grandmother made for me when I was an infant. Its lovely and I have looked after it well, unfortunately my daughter deemed it too girly for her baby boys. The Christening Dress that Grandma made for my Mom, which also covered my aunt, 6 grandchildren..one of which was me, and 4 great grandchildren became a ‘ceremonial garment’ because you can’t put a dress on a boy?
    Heaven help me here..what am I going to do with this beautiful layette if no one wants it?

  47. My mother both knitted and sewed. We have christening blankets and christening dresses that are “heirloom”. Why? Because she made them and they have seen 2 generations wear them and use them and hopefuuly many more.

  48. My grandmother crocheted a beautiful yellow and white blanket for my son when he was born. I passed that blanket, as well as one I knit, onto my first grandson. 4 generations of love wrapped in that same blanket.

  49. Once upon a long time ago, I knit an Aran-style bunting for my younger sister’s only daughter. Last winter my niece sent me a picture of her baby son wearing that same bunting.
    That makes me smile every time I think of it! It didn’t occur to me at the time, but I guess what I knit turned out to be an heirloom.
    I love her and her baby, and I wish I still had the pattern for the bunting, because I loved knitting it. :o)
    Win-win all around

  50. When my (now former) daughter-in-law was pregnant, I gave her a gift that brought tears to her and her best friend. I had a double 5×7 picture frame. One side was empty and the other side had a picture of our son at 1 year wearing a blue cabled sweater that I had knitted — yeah, it was acrylic (all I could afford).
    Also included was the freshly washed and blocked sweater. Later my daughter-in-law was able to fill the second side of the picture frame.

  51. My mum was a Knitter…. Through my childhood, she always had knitting on long car trips and winter evenings. One of my most treasured possessions is the long loose cardigan that she knit me, in 4-ply (sock weight?) wool, must be 20, maybe 30 years, ago. She’s been gone more than 10 yrs but I think of her every time I snuggle up on the couch in it. Heirloom, definitely.

  52. I thought the attraction of your writing was your warm humour. Then I thought it was how passionate you were about knitting and how you opened yourself up to your readers making us care about you and what you care about. Now I think it is because your writing resonates so much with our lives. Thank you Stephanie. I’m really looking forward to this new heirloom!

  53. Thank you. I’m glad my question/comment stirred up such a wonderful post and touching memories.

  54. This is the most beautiful thing you have ever written….and you write VERY well.
    I was “watching” your great-great-grandchild opening up the tissue paper and admiring the work of knitted art, be it sweater, booties, blanket…whatever. He/she will be very proud of the piece of heirloom knitting handed down from you.
    I made me weep a bit, as I have no children, hence no grands, nor any great-grands to be out there somewhere opening up the tissue paper. You are very blessed…
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful passionate talent with the rest of us.

  55. I have been very busy lately and, while I have read all of your posts, I seem to have missed who the lucky person is having another baby for your family?? And “heirloom” to me is more of a feeling than simply a thing to be described.

  56. To me, what makes something “heirloom quality” is a mix of the love that goes into it, and how the recipient sees it.
    I remember my mom making some tops and shorts for one of my sisters when she was a preschooler. Although my mom was a skilled seamstress, my sister hated those clothes because she wore them when she had an unfortunate hairstyle. That sister refused to keep those to hand down to her own daughter.
    On the other hand, an aunt of my father’s quickly made crib-sized quilts when a set of twins was born to my parents. The pattern was a simple one, made out of squares, and the quilting was equally simple. The quilts were put to their intended use (although never within 100 miles of strained peas), but always with the recognition that my great aunt had thought the birth of the twins to be a grand occasion. Now well into their 40’s, the twins still have those quilts. One has hers displayed on a towel rod, under her baby picture, on the stairwell wall leading up to her bedroom. (Her brother has his packed away, last I heard.) And yes, my sister’s was used to help keep each of her daughters warm when they were infants.
    I can only hope that some of my gifts to my nieces and nephews (I don’t have the patience needed to be a parent!) will become heirlooms some day. . .

  57. I had the same thing in mind that you did when you said “heirloom”. To me that means something handed down from generation to generation be it a tatty piece of costume jewelry not worth 5 cents or a beautiful christening gown made by hand out of irish linen. To me an heirloom is something from my family in ages past that holds meaning to me. My piece of tatty costume jewelry was my great grandmothers given to her by her father who was a doctor to the Indians on an Indian reservation in New Mexico way back when. Its by no means valuable but I have a picture of her wearing it and it means the world to me. That to me is an heirloom. A treasured bit from ages past with memories attached. Isn’t it great to see what it means to everyone else? I agree wholeheartedly it is! Have a superfantastic day, everyone!

  58. I have made far more quilts than knit items. I have quilts made by grandmothers and with grandmothers that I cherish. Quilts for beds, sleepovers on the floor, picnics under the trees and quilts to fold down before one is in bed. They all serve a purpose and in their own way are heirlooms. Someday I hope to say the same thing about my knitting. I must learn to knit faster.

  59. Lovely post and fascinating comments. They give me a new perspective on a blanket I knit for my 6-year-old grandson for his baby shower before he was born, and the matching one I’m currently knitting for his 22-mo.-old brother.
    The first grandson was about two when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to be near my daughter and her family. I soon realized that I didn’t see the blanket around anywhere. I asked my daughter, and she said, “Oh, it’s in the closet, it’s too pretty to be used.” Hm-m, maybe that’s another definition of heirloom, something to be kept hidden away for preservation?
    Well, that was not my intent, and I gently told her that I would be honored if the blanket were loved to shreds. So she put it out to be used, but by then he was past getting attached to blankies.
    The younger boy, however, loves his brother’s blanket and recently started dragging it around and calling it “night-night.” That made me realize that while I wanted the blanket to be used, I didn’t want the baby to tear up the blanket before his brother is old enough to decide whether to keep it and perhaps pass it on to his own children.
    So I took the blanket out of circulation to prevent his getting too attached to it, bought the same yarn (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino) in a similar color, and have almost finished knitting the second blanket. I’ll give it to the baby, and with any luck he won’t realize the switch.
    It looks like this saga may result in one heirloom blanket and one worn-out blankie, both equally valuable in my eyes.

  60. Agree with your comments about heirloom knits for babies. I try to use really wonderful wool, but as my son-in-law is the ‘Lord of the Laundry’, I have promised him that I will only use machine washable wools.

  61. The Christmas before I left for college, my mom presented me with a quilt she’d made for me. Now, you have to understand how extraordinary this quilt was. We lived in a tiny, tiny house, in which pretty much anything one did could be heard anywhere else. My mom was not a seamstress — she had terrible eyesight, and was dreadfully impatient, and was left handed (her excuse, not mine) — but she owned an old, cranky, foot pedal sewing machine (table) that had things stored on top and underneath and was generally inaccessible. Despite these hindrances, she spent several months cutting and sewing squares of corduroy she’d gotten goodness knows where into strips that one of her friends then sewed together and backed with a neutral colored sheet. It was a complete and total surprise – I couldn’t imagine how she could make something so large and complicated without my once having guessed what she was doing.
    This quilt was my bedspread throughout college and graduate school. It’s not super even, and the color scheme is chaotic at best. It’s got stains from hot chocolate, wine, and probably a few fluids that I can’t mention in polite company. But it’s my most treasured possession. When my son was old enough for his own bed, we put Gram’s quilt on it and it acquired a few more stains. Now it’s packed away, waiting for my son to have his own space where he, too, can use and cherish it.
    You’re right, Stephanie — everyone has her or his own definition of an heirloom. This quilt is mine.

  62. I totally GOT what you said when you said Heirloom Quality. Something that will be appreciated long after babe (and perhaps his/her siblings) are grown up. And perhaps passed on to their kids.
    Each of my kids were fortunate to receive such gifts as babies. I won’t go into detail as to what they got but think hand knit sweaters and quilts that I treasure and keep to this day. The acrylic scratchy blankets from the old second aunts? I saved them too.
    All so precious to me that someone took the time to think about my babies, spend the time and energy making something for them is just so wonderfully loving. And much appreciated 🙂

  63. This new wee one will be so blessed with your knitting and your love and your gifts will be handed down for sure. Lucky lucky baby. On your new announcement this is me dropping you a line. I just contacted Debbi too. What a wonderful opportunity .

  64. You know what, I didn’t even stop for a second to question what you meant by heirloom. It means the same things as yours mean. I made 6 things for my baby son. Of those, three are special and what I consider heirloom 1) a hat from the first yarn a bought after I was pregnant 2) a layette that is super complicated (for me) and made with yarn from where he was conceived (don’t worry, I won’t tell him that part) and 3) and acrylic blanket in a super simple stitch that is an homage to my neighbor lady that taught me to crochet and a pattern that babies love because they can stick their fingers in it. So, I guess, I think heirloom quality is more about the intent and the feeling.

  65. i love that you have a acrylic heirloom… while my husband and i were living in africa i became pregnant (oops)with our first child… my mother sent me fabric for the christening gown set… in her little town in the late 70s there was nowhere to buy fine cotton, so polyester it was, sent in a box with embroidery floss and her love for her first grandchild all the way to ghana in west africa… an heirloom indeed, used by many many lovely little ones……kath

  66. If I think about heirloom knits for my girls I do think immediately of the two Alice Starmore blankets I made – they are the very pinnacle of my skill and I’m afraid I don’t let them be used in rough and tumble games. The family quilts on the other hand have been dragged around the garden, used as tents, and generally snuggled under – I don’t know whether the girls will ever consider them heirlooms, I consider them loved.

  67. Very well put.
    My youngest was Christened this month and I knitted her gown, I must have been mad to take it on with a newborn and a toddler but I made it, with a lot of kicks up bottom from a group on Ravelry.
    It might not be as amazing as a lace weight lacy lace gown but it is special to me and that is what I think heirloom knitting is. Something that one day my daughters will use for their children.

  68. Interesting post. My most cherish heirloom is a christening gown, machine knitted in laceweight by my father for me. I wore it in 1960. Two of my children and two of my grandchildren have worn it, too.

  69. This lovely post made me think of the 20+ handknit outfits I made for my youngest son who will turn 35 next month. Gorgeous Phildar patterns! Aran leggings, pullover and cardigan, one piece sleepers, a bathrobe lined with coordinating fabric, all so beautiful. I loaned them to my sister, and sadly, never saw them again.
    As a yoga teacher, my primary mission is to teach a spiritual practice, and the inspiration for that is my own life. Letting go of these beautiful pieces, and my anger at my sister, who maintained that she didn’t have them, was a challenge but necessary, as I intended them as heirlooms for my child.
    Some children out there somewhere are wearing some beautiful clothes!

  70. So glad you wrote about the word “heirloom”. Well put! And as always, there is warmth, enthusiasm and inclusivity in your words.

  71. I find this a bit funny because I often knit things that the recipients interpret to be “heirloom” and I don’t. I don’t believe in making anything that is not meant to be used. I don’t mean dragged out into the yard and stepped on….but used. You wouldn’t believe the kid gloves that come out sometimes when I gift something knitted. Don’t even get me started on quilts I’ve made.

  72. In a sense, based on your description, “heirloom” means “not for every day”. Having read your blog for a while, I think everything you do is the best you can, knowing how leaving in an error is intolerable. But heirloom ends up meaning something with extra effort, of scale or design, and brought out for special occasions. It isn’t meant for the sandbox, or even for the snow. Heirloom means something like for first baby pictures or christening gowns. Maybe Christmas stockings or ornaments (if the cat doesn’t get them), or tree skirts, that you hope will outlive you.
    Utility items are just as ‘important’ since they remind someone of you every single day, but they aren’t meant to last in the same way. Washcloths can be cute, elaborate or clever. But heirloom?

  73. It’s interesting how we all look at things differently. When I’ve made baby blankets (quilted, woven or knitted), I tell the moms that I hope they are worn out with love by the time the kid is 5 years old. I can make more. The first one I made (quilt) is now a mere scrap of its original glory – one in which the young owner has put her own crooked stitches into to repair holes and tears. I think it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
    Don’t get me wrong. I have heirlooms that have been passed down to me and that will be passed down to my nieces and nephew when they are old enough, but they are for adults to admire. I love a worn out baby blanket, one that has been urped and spit up upon, washed countless times only to be used as a pretend cape or to fall to sleep on in the back of the car on a trip. That’s a loved bankie!

  74. Why not heirloom socks? A couple of Christmases ago I made a pair of socks for a much loved childhood friend. I painstakingly sized and charted the pattern myself (and I mean painstakingly, I’m no expert) from a traditional ‘marriage lines’ fisher gansey pattern from the Northumberland (UK)fishing village near where we were both brought up. She loved them. Said she would have them framed, or maybe stuffed and mounted. I’m not sure she was joking.

  75. I’ve always thought of “heirloom” as something made by loving hands that has been passed down from generation to generation. I have a few of those treasures, and it seems I’ve given a few items to friends who consider them as such. I made a lace shawl for a co-worker years ago whose immediate comment was, “It’s an heirloom that will be passed on to my daughter.” Lovely traditions.

  76. One reason that more of us do not knit layettes for babies anymore (I am told) is because modern mothers do not know how to care for them and they get ruined and thrown about by the kids and do not stand the test of time. You either never see them again or you see them in such a state as to wonder why you bothered to make them.

  77. I’m about to meet the TinyHuman that has been growing and kicking and stabbing me with its knees for the last 40 weeks and the greatest gift I have received for the baby are two blankets. They were knit for me when I was a baby by my maternal and paternal grandmothers, one of whom still with us and is SO EXCITED to be a great-Granny. Both blankets were knit in acrylic “baby” yarn, one purchased yarn in Saskatchewan and one in WAY Northern Ontario. Turns out? SAME YARN.
    They aren’t complex patterns but they are special heirlooms, for sure.

  78. That’s exactly what I thought you meant by heirloom quality… I didn’t realize there were other meanings until I read thru the comments.
    I have three (well, two) blankets — one that my grandmother made for my daughter, which I gave to her daughters, and two hand made quilts from my friend Hester and my sister that belong to my boys that they used and loved and had formal pictures taken with that I took care with and that are put away for their children. I also have an heirloom cradle that my grandfather made for my daughter, which I’ve passed on to her when her eldest was born.
    And I’ve knit one heirloom lace shawl for one of my girls and have another on the needles for wedding presents. Heirloom, to me, means passed on from generation to generation. 🙂

  79. I also in my mind consider very old, old patterns to be heirloom quality. If you make a baby layette out of the old pattern your grandmother used to use…that feels heirloom to me as well!

  80. We have an “heirloom” fun fur blanket in my house. On a lark, I made a fun fur/simply soft throw blanket when I was first learning how to knit. When my son was about a year old, I pulled it out of storage, thinking to donate to a pet shelter. However, he immediately fell in love with it and started carrying it around wherever he went. He is now almost 5 and still sleeps with it every night. We call it his “Furry Blanket”.

  81. It seems some things I knit become heirloom, when I certainly didn’t intend that. Recently I knit a pinwheel sweater for my niece’s little girl – just using up scraps (of acrylic, since Dad does a great job of the laundry!) and the brightest colours I could find in my stash – to alleviate the grayness of a very gray stockinette cardigan I am knitting for my very tall grandson. I put a note in with the sweater saying if it was too gaudy for them, just give it to charity. I got a lovely thank you note telling me that it was the most beautiful fun thing they had ever seen and would be going in to her keepsake box when she outgrew it! Heirloom? Who knew?

  82. Oh, how I wish I could be in Port Ludlow. Not possible, moeny or time-wise this time. Wish one of these wonderful opportunities would some day be available closer to the East Coast (there is a great ocean this side, too…)but I know you’ve heard this over and over. Great that you are still creating events like this.

  83. Dear Madame Yarn Harlot,
    I totally agree with you in terms of defining heirloom knitting.
    I disagree on one issue: Heirloom socks do exist. I’ve got two pairs of them. They belonged to my grandfather (died in 1982), knitted either by one of my aunts or by his wife (one aunt and his wife died around 1950 and the surviving aunt didn’t knit socks any more when I came to know her from about mid 1960ies). They are worn and they are meticulously darned in the places where they had holes. I wear them rarely, just in winter cuddling on my sofa, when I’m at loose ends and need something warm and soothing. It feels great, like I’m in a tradition of knitting for use and really make things lasting.
    I will get them on the weekend, take a picture and put them into my Ravelry projects for proof. Definitely I’ll do that.
    There’s also a huge knitted round tablecloth knitted by – I think – a greatgrandaunt, which I just this minute decided to try to copy for a baby blanket. I’m at this sort of stuff anyway at the moment.

  84. I own three quilts. One is a scrap quilt sewn by a friend from odds and ends. One is an extroadinarily beautiful (and expensive) quilt made by my mother, and the third is a worn hand sewn wool batted quilt made by my mennonite forebearers. The Mennonite quilt is unwrapped and for the viewing of my crafty friends. My mother’s quilt is brought out of the linen closet for guests. The rag quilt covers my legs as I knit, and I find equal enjoyment in all three. Which are heirloom? Who knows. All are treasured.

  85. I second the “So what’s the heirloom blanket that the babe is wrapped in?
    I mean, surely you figured someone would ask for the name of the pattern, right?”

  86. Beautiful, beautiful photo that captures it all. Perfectly written to match.
    I read it remembering the discovery in my great-aunt’s attic of the beautiful needlepoint picture her grandmother had made in the 1800’s in a frontier town. My mother inherited it; I think it’s in a museum now.
    My work should be so lucky–not museumed so much but treasured like that.

  87. I have my baby blanket. At least, my mother told me it was my baby blanket. I don’t remember using it and I have no pictures of me in it. When I take it out of the trunk and look at it, it appears to me to be an unblocked shetland shawl in an old cream coloured wool. I certainly consider it an heirloom.
    I don’t know anything else about it. I don’t know who knit it. I don’t know who gave it to my mom. I wish I did.
    I also don’t know what will happen to it. I don’t have children or siblings. It is a mystery at this point. So maybe it will cease to be an heirloom when it leaves me. That is an interesting thought. I do believe I will dig it out of the trunk tonight.
    Thank you all for your thoughts and experience.

  88. I knit a “maybe-baby” blanket for a dear young friend who feared motherhood might never happen. She found out she had ‘caught’ within weeks of being diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Mastectomy and chemo followed and so did a healthy, beautiful daughter. I’ve knit many a beautiful Shetland cobweb lace shawl, but that particular blankie is *my* heirloom. Lovely post, Steph, thank you.

  89. I’m primarily a quilter, not a knitter, altho I knit too. And I research the lives of long-gone quiltermakers whose quilts have survived. As, uh, “heirlooms”. I hope you don’t mind if I refer the people who now own these quilts to your discussion of “heirloom”. You put us inside the mind of the maker of these objects we now treasure, a place we seldom think to go. Thank you. You do know your writing means so much to so many people? Thanks for all of it.

  90. It sounds like everything you plan to knit for the baby will be lovely and special and precious, well treasured down the line. That’s a gorgeous yarn you are using, and great color for pieces that can be passed down generations.
    When my first sister got cancer, I was a fairly beginner knitter and made her an afghan with both somewhat chunky yarn and worsted. Lol, bad combination, plus it was MACHINE knitted (I know, I know!) But she loved it. In fact, she joked to her friends, ‘my sister’s kindof excited I have to go thru chemo again because now I’ll be able to use the afghan.’ She would nap with it. When she passed away, her kids decided the best way for everyone to ‘have the afghan’ was to leave it at their dad’s house so when visiting they could snuggle with it on the couch watching tv. The whole reason that afghan is so loved is because it reminds them of their mom and I guess that’s what might make it an heirloom.

  91. Beautifully said, as always.
    43 years ago, my mother made my sister’s wedding gown and veil. 33 years ago, I wore the veil at my wedding. Last autumn, my daughter wore the veil at her wedding. My mom passed away 40 years ago and my sister was in the last stages (unbeknownst to us) of her battle with cancer and was unable to attend the wedding. I was so pleased that my daughter wore the veil. I don’t know if mom intended it to be an heirloom, but an heirloom it was.
    Not knowing if the veil will survive another 20 years for another generation, I spun and knit a lace-weight Feather & Fan stole for her wedding. I hope someday, her daughter may wear it at her wedding.

  92. about 40 years ago i crochet a large blanket out of left over yarn. i didn’t consider it an heirloom when i made it but today my son and his kids do. that old worned out often mended blanket is their favorite. i have K&C more over the years but that is the one they all want to wrap up in. you just never know what someone is going to love!

  93. Your definition of heirloom is perfect.
    My Mom made a crochet acrylic blanket while she was pregnant with me in the 70s. I took that blanket everywhere. The holes between the crochet were perfect for my little fingers to poke through. Grocery shopping was pure torture for me because my Mom worried that the blanket would get dropped so it was left in the car. There was even a vacation in which my Dad had to drive back to a rest stop about 40 miles away when it was discovered I left my beloved blanket on a bench. By the time I started kindergarten the blanket was a tangle of white, pink and blue string. Funnily enough after my blanket my Mom stopped crocheting.
    When I turned 16 my family threw me a lovely surprise party and I was lucky enough to receive many wonderful gifts. Including my Dad’s used, on it’s last legs car but the gift I remember the most is the baby blanket my Mom made from the original pattern. She had to teach herself how to crochet again and work on it in secret.
    When I turned 30 I asked for a throw sized blanket in the baby blanket pattern. My Mom used fine wool this time and the baby pink yarn was replaced by a purple which is more my style and every time I use that blanket I remember that first blanket oh so long ago. When my niece comes over we cuddle under it and she tells me stories about how Grandma made her a special blanket too.

  94. I did not have anyone to knit for me, but get the whole heirloom thing anyway. This is due to a great grandmother, who, despite having very arthritic hands by the time I was old enough to get my own room, made me matching twin bed quilts for my new bunkbeds. She was gone by the time my sister was old enough to share those beds, but I shared with her. I still have mine, it holds a special place in my heart and history, as it was made from scraps of clothing she had sewn over the years for her kids and grandkids. hopefully it will still be sharable when my grandneices and nephews come along.

  95. I’m so glad you posted on the comment discussion I totally missed, I never really put much thought into whether a project would be an heirloom or not.
    P.S. it wasn’t a jacket with sequins. It was a fun fur gorilla suit onesie so the little guy and the babies of the future could match their dad’s favorite party outfit.

  96. Isn’t this why we are all drawn to create? To leave a part of us “behind”? It’s the people we leave it for that decide to love and cherish it…. And eventually pass it down the family ladder. If no one passes it on, it can’t be an heirloom. This fact is why I’m in agony when. I see hand made things in a thrift shop ….

  97. One of the girls who almost married my son once commented (after looking at my handwork), “you know, after you’re gone, we’ll put out all your beautiful things and it’ll be like you’re still here.” I’m still sorry that she didn’t make the cut. She understood ‘heirloom’.

  98. I picture your great-great-grandperson carefully unwrapping the tissue and pulling out a lovely blanket, and saying, “My great-great-grandmama was the Yarn Harlot!”

  99. Of all the things I ‘ve knit or crocheted for an impending
    grandchild, one was an instant heirloom. I used my late
    mother’s bakelite knitting needles and acrylic yarn
    that was from my late mother-in-law’s stash .
    There’s also a sweater box of baby things circulating through
    my kids’ generation that includes stuff my mother
    made for them, stuff I made and even the embroidered bonnet
    made out of white flannel that’s all that’s left of the
    bonnet, bootee and coat set that my mother made for me
    to wear home from the hospital way back in 1949 !

  100. I loved your original post about the topic. “Heirloom” is anything that stands the test of time. My grandmothers thimble from the 1960’s is an heirloom. My grandfathers christening dress an heirloom as well. An heirloom is anything significant from the past. Homemade, storebought, it does not matter!

  101. Thanks so much for this post and for all the comments. I’ve read every single one and my heart feels all warm and fuzzy. Love is a wonderful thing. Families are wonderful things. Handknits and quilts are tangible pieces of love we can pass down through families. The idea brings a sense of calm to my heart.

  102. Lovely post! It made me really think about what I make for the wee ones. Really.
    When you plan the next big retreat, can you please consider keeping it closer to this side of the continent? Thank you. 🙂

  103. I love the notion of heirloom being tied to our family legacy. I cherish objects with memory and meaning, as well as things I have made – the petit point Christmas stockings made for parents and aunts and uncles now gone, that bring them to heart and mind as I hang them on each passing year’s tree among many examples.
    Please put me on the list for the Port Ludlow weekend. I have often wanted to come, but never has it been good timing. This one works!

  104. “Heirloom” can mean many things. I crochet baby blankets and hope that they will be adopted as “blankie” by the baby. Since if I am so lucky the blanket will be dragged around, I make it of washable acrylic yarn. I also make adult-sized afghans of acrylic yarn that are meant to be used, but I’ve been told some are being cherished as heirlooms. That’s fine.
    My personal heirlooms include a twin-size quilt made with large squares of bright-colored 1970’s polyester knit tied with red yarn that my mother made me when I went to college and a sweater she bought and sent me so I could wear it when I was homesick. She said when I did so, she was giving me a hug. Now that she’s gone, I put it on sometimes even though it doesn’t really fit any more. When I admired her sterling silver spoon ring, she gave it to me on condition I wear it. It has rarely been off one of my fingers. I have more valuable items that belonged to my mother, but I cherish none of them as much as I do these simple things.
    Anything is heirloom quality when it is made or given with love.

  105. Brian Jordan: There is another explanation, but it’s a bit devious. Some of them argue that there was a prior creation, which was destroyed when Lucifer was cast out of heaven, hence the world being “without form, and void” etc. This ignores completely the fact that the Creation myth teaches that it was Adam’s “transgression” that introduced death into world (backed up by later writers “Death reigned from Adam to Moses” etc), but what the hell? As you say, those pesky dinosaurs have to be accounted for somehow!

  106. I have a new (step) grandchild. Olivia is one week old today. I was thrilled to knit some beautiful sweaters for her older sister but I can’t bring myself to make anything for Olivia. Her mama got rid of everything I made for the older child with the exception of one sweater made when she was somewhat older (and certainly not the nicest of the lot). It hurt, although I would never say this to the mom. I know she didn’t do it out of meanness, just an inability to appreciate but I just can’t bear to do it again. Perhaps in fifteen years or so when both girls are older and can control what happens to something they love I’ll try it again for them. So sad.

  107. Heirloom… brings up a lot of thoughts for me. The sweater my grandmother made for my oldest daughter, the blanket my mother made for her, the quilt that I made my second daughter. Although none of them will be making the trip to great grands, they have all been very well loved and really that’s all that matters to me. I think they are all heirlooms if only for the memories associated with them for me. ( the quilt was loved to the point that it was in shreds and finally given up by my 12 year old baby girl 🙂 Duplicate made and waiting for grandchild despite none on the horizon yet.

  108. “Your great, great, grandmother made this. She was a wonderful knitter.”
    … I nearly cried at this part!

  109. What a great bunch of comments. Steph you are a diplomat and we enjoy together that sense that knitting and wearing of the knit is a warm and treasured family tradition. PS Even if the family is one with no kiddles. I knit for other people’s grandkids and kids – always appreciated

  110. I still have the baby sweater my great-great Aunt Laura, whom I’m named after, knit for my older brother.

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  112. Beautifully put, also it put to my mind the beautiful knit layettes that my Grandmother, who I never met, had knit for both my brother and myself before we were born. They are acrylic and in mint green and pale yellow, but the love, warmth and skill has not diminished through the years. I used them again when my son was born and would love to us them if we have another child or when/if we eventually, hopefully a LONG way off, have grandchildren.

  113. I’ve been brooding about this concept…I made blankets, booties, etc. for my first (and probably only) grandchild and gave them to my daughter-in-law @ the baby shower. I have since discovered that she stuffed them in a closet and there they remain. To her, handmade = homemade, and if it doesn’t come from a store, she doesn’t want it.

  114. A wedding for most women, is the DAY. Not every day, it’s time protagonist, the expected time. It is a series of elements that must be detailed so that everything goes exactly PERFECT.

  115. My grandchildren have worn sweaters knit by: their grandmother (me), their great-grandmother (my m-i-l), and their great-great grandmother. What a treat to pull them out and remember the no-longer-here people who made them. (not me. I’m still here. 🙂

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  117. I have a pair of socks I knit that are ‘heirloom’ quality. My sister framed them, put them on the wall, and said her great-grandchildren will wear them….in 100 years.

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