Pink Hand Knit Sweater in the Circle of Life

handknit vintage pink sweater

Sometimes the circle of life can be sad and scary. My dad’s parents have had declining faculties and abilities for a while now, and were recently moved into a care facility. My dad and his sisters have had to clean out my grandparents’ home. However, there are silver linings to all things. I have been to visit my grandparents in their facility and was happy to find them safe and cared for with a friendly, attentive staff. Another silver lining is that some junk from my grandparents’ home has turned into treasures by being passed to family members. I treasure this pink sweater.

Handmade by Belva Runyan

This sweater was hand knit and has a tag that reads “Fashioned by Belva Runyan.” Belva Runyan was my grandmother’s mother. I don’t know when she knit the sweater, but it was pre-1980 as she was no longer able to knit in the last years of her life. I am thrilled to have it and care for it and treasure it. With each wearing, each glance of it in my wardrobe, I think of my grandmother and her mother and their female ancestors – strong women who gave me my height, (part of) my stubborness, and my love of knitting.

pink knit short sleeve sweater vintage

Unfortunately, the sweater was not in good shape when it arrived. It was musty and covered in moth holes. I spent an evening gently hand washing it and laying it out to dry. I spent many nights carefully darning moth holes with a skein of almost-matching vintage yarn I had in my stash. But every moment spent caring for the sweater was a moment I spent thinking of my female forbearers, remembering them, honoring them, and honoring their work. The icing on the cake is that I genuinely like the sweater and am exciting to have it in my wardrobe! (Worn here with my grey wool Thurlow shorts. Yes, this is California winter wear.)

almost matching pink yarn

Comments 15

  1. Wow! What a gorgeous sweater; totally worth preserving. I would love to know the pattern for that. (or how to do that great lace work)

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Post

      I have actually thought about trying to figure out the lace stitch pattern at some point. Of course I’ll share if I do!

  2. Beautiful sweater and the colour is so pretty. It looks like it was made for you. Enjoy wearing it and the lovely thoughts of your family.

  3. This is such a lovely story. Being able to have things that have been passed down the family is so special. In a way this is what sewing is to me. My grandma moved into a care facility the middle of last year, and I inherited all her sewing supplies. I am constantly amazed at her output and skill

    1. Post

      So sorry to hear that you and your family have gone through something similar. But it sounds as though you found a similar silver lining as well – every stitch with her sewing supplies makes you think of her and admire her :)

  4. WOW, what an incredible find! The sweater looks like it was made for you- a sign, clearly, it was meant to be. It wonderful you were able to restore and preserve it.

  5. So special, and ever so pretty too! I’ve always admired knitters, but having just had a go at knitting myself, I know have a renewed and much greater appreciation of the time and effort that goes into making such a dainty little top. Amazing treasure.

  6. It looks lovely on you and how cool to have a tangible reminder of those women. :) Excellent job repairing and caring for it.

  7. What a wonderful treasure! It looks perfect on you – like it was custom made. I love your whole outfit. The pink lace and stripey socks are super cool together.

  8. Thats super special. I was able to wear some special sweaters from my Mom before I grew bigger than her and had to give them back. I think it is neat that something fits you from that many generations ago.

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