Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A couple of postings ago I wrote about great-uncle Gilly and his wife Clara. I never met Clara. She died just a short time after I arrived on Norfolk Island. But funnily enough, I have great affection for my husband's forbears, because, after all, they have all played a part in shaping his own life and the person he is today. I feel I have a particularly strong link and bond with some of the women in his family, particularly those who did needlework.

Now, I am not sure if Clara was a person of any particular skills in that area. However, when I married Bernie, he gave me this length of crochet work that had been worked by Clara. It was among hers and Gilly's things when the old couple died. Clara died 45 years ago, and the piece was probably made many years before that. I have never known what to do with it. I think you will agree that in some ways it resembles a length of bandage - and the roll measured at least 4 metres. I have often wondered what Clara intended it to be. I suspect that she was taught the crochet pattern by her sisters-in-law (who were fine needlewomen), and she just kept on repeating it to give her hands something to do!

Over the years I have brought it out from time to time, and considered possibilities for it. At one time I thought of setting it between panels of fabric to make a tablecloth or a quilt, but there really wasn't enough of it to make a feature of it that way. Another time I thought I could use it as a decorative shelf edging, but it really is a bit plain for that.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through some textile blogs, and something really set my train of creative thought zooming. I would cut it into shorter lengths to make some pretty little bags. And I would call them "Clara's treasures" because "Treasure" was Gilly's affectionate nicknmae for her.
This is the first one I made. It still needs a handle. The crocheted medallion was made by Clara's sister-in-law Charlotte. The faux pearls are fairly old, as are the buttons.
Then I started to get bolder, and decided to bring out the dye. The old cotton crochet thread takes up the dye just brilliantly. You can see I have threaded ribbons through some of the open lattice. This one still needs lining as well as a hamdle!
This will be the next one. A little amulet purse. Not necesarily by choice. You see, when I was setting the "seamist" colour dye in the microwave, I left the piece to zap just a few seconds too long, and a couple of patches on the side scorched a little, and needed to be cut off!
I think both Clara and Gilly would be pleased. Maybe "Treasure" herself wondered what on earth she could make out of this length of crochet work!!
Below is another reminder we have of Clara and Gilly. It is a beautiful old chaise longue that Bernie actually bought from Gilly a year or two before he died. It badly needs recovering in a more attractive colour, but "old gold" was really "in" when we had it reupholstered a few years back.

I hope to do about half a dozen little bags, using a variety of embellishments.


Anonymous said...

Marvellous I love the bags indeed what treasures.

FredaB said...

Hi Mary

You sure hit on a clever way to use the crochet strips. I really like the lace one you made first bu the color one is very different from it and is also very pretty.

will be watching for the next ones.



marilyn said...

Oh Mary! Thanks so much for the wonderful idea. I have a few rolls of trim that my grandma crocheted many, many years ago, and I've never known what to do with it. You have solved the problem! That white bag is scrumptious! I love it! And I love your blog.
Warm regards,

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