I am so lucky to come from a line of strong, creative, skilled women who not took the time to hand make things for their families but also recognized the importance of saving them for future generations. My mom has kept a hope chest for me full of things from my childhood and she and I recently went through it to clean and sort things for my soon-to-be-here baby girl. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of what she saved here.
I wanted to start by sharing the pieces that my Grandma Currie (my dad’s mom) knit for me because my G’ma passed away two weeks ago. She was a formidable knitter, crocheter and seamstress (which I talked about in my post about my grandmothers). Thinking of her legacy and being excited to share it with my baby has helped me to be at peace with her passing. My mom told me that I was particularly obsessed with the strawberry hat and wore it for many years. (You can also see that my love of red cardigans has been a lifelong love).
The pieces in my hope chest that have the most history were knit and crocheted by my Great-Grandma Smail (my mom’s mom’s mom). She was also a very talented knitter and crocheter and it brings me to tears to think that my lucky baby girl will be the fourth generation in my family to wear each of these pieces as they were knit by my Great-Grandma for my Grandma.
My mom also knit for me when I was a baby. She laughed when we pulled these out of the chest as they are certainly not as technically impressive as the knit garments from my grandmothers, but I know they were made with just as much love and I’m just as excited for baby girl to wear them as well.
My mom was quite a talented seamstress when I was young and I remember sitting at her side and helping her trim the loose threads off of many WIPs over the years. I got handmade Easter and Christmas dresses (and Halloween costumes) for many years – in fact I still have the pattern mom used to make the green velvet dress.
My mom also saved an assortment of ready-to-wear clothes that I wore as a baby that she particularly loved. Can you tell I was born in the mid-80’s by the amount of velour and terrycloth in the collection? I came home from the hospital in the purple onesie with the kitty on it. My mom thinks that the Mary Had a Little Lamb dress was actually meant to be a doll dress but I was a preemie and so tiny when I came home that I wore it. Although my parents didn’t know what sex I was until I was born, I was born so prematurely that my mom’s baby shower happened after I came home which my mom said was actually quite nice since she got to show me off and because it meant that I received some girly clothes and not just gender neutral clothes.
I also have an assortment of blankets for baby girl. My godmother made the alphabet quilt for me. The orange stripe blanket was my uncle’s when he was a baby. The two crocheted blankets were given to my parents by friends at my baby shower and each have a matching sweater to go with the blanket – I guess that was a very popular thing to do at the time. Mom made the polka-dot blanket (by sewing a bias binding onto the edge of a pre-quilted fabric) to match my nursery which was all decorated in primary colors and polka-dots.
I still remembered the teddy bear in a hot air balloon from my nursery and can’t wait to hang it on baby girl’s nursery wall as well! The little bit of fluff is all that is left of lambie, the lambskin that I absolutely adored as a baby.
My Nana (my mom’s dad’s mom) made the bunny pillow for me and my mom cross-stitched and sewed the blue lace pillow (it was stuffed with lavender that has long since lost its smell, though I intend to re-stuff it). My mom’s good friend Connie made the girl’s face and I hung it on my wall for many, many years to hold hair clips. The goofy felt animals (mice? teddy bears?) were what hung from the mobile over my crib. I plan on re-stringing them so they can decorate baby girl’s nursery as well. The wooden mobile hung above my mom’s crib and, while I don’t feel comfortable having it within baby girl’s reach, I’m glad to have it.
Do you still have special items from your childhood that you have saved to share with a young loved one?