9.20.2010

Mid-Century Monday: Crocheted Blankets

Aren't Mondays one of the hardest days to get out of bed? You've just had a nice weekend and have (hopefully) left your work in its place for two days. Then Sunday night comes, and with it the reminder that you have to get your 8 hours of sleep to be fresh for work tomorrow. If only we could bring a bit of home to work with us: a favorite plant, a pet, a lamp, or perhaps an heirloom crocheted blanket?

Last night's episode of "Mad Men" gave us a glimpse — albeit somewhat morbid (poor Ms. Blankenship, pictured below) — of the beautiful blankets (also commonly referred to as afghans) that women have crocheted for literally hundreds of years as presents for weddings and birthdays, with some being passed down generation to generation. The practice did wain in the beginning of the mid-century years due to WWII and women going into the work force, but they were still very present in households around the country.


This past March I went back to St. Louis for my bridal shower, and my mom and I went through her cedar chests so that I could pick an afghan or two to take home as a present for my soon-to-be married life, and she had so many! Some were wedding presents from when my parents got married in 1980, some were made by my dad's mom, and some were just inherited from relatives. But each one was absolutely beautiful, and I had a difficult time choosing.

Eventually, I picked two (see photos below): one was a brown, orange and green granny square blanket that had belonged to my great-uncle, and the other had belonged to my grandmother. I remember when it used to drape on the back of the armchair in her "TV room" (as we called them since we didn't have TVs in the living room), and as I nuzzled it on my face, I caught whiffs of what her house smelled like.





Today one is draped on the back of an armchair we have in our bedroom, and the other on the back of a couch in our office/guest room, and I'm so grateful to have a piece of my family's history in our newlywed home.

I do often see these blankets in thrift stores, which makes me a little sad since they were most likely made with love by someone's grandmother or aunt or mom. I always stop and look at them to see the creativity that was also poured into it. Crocheting is almost like an artist painting a blank canvas. You get to pick the colors, the pattern, the size, and in the end have something so beautiful and special to pass on to someone else.

What boss could argue with that when they see you snuggling up at work? :)

3 comments:

  1. Ryan and I each have three or four in various homes (a few in ours, a few at our parents' still) that have been passed down or made by our grandmas. I love them :-)

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  2. After reading this it makes me feel a little nostalgic and wanting to be close to the people we miss. The afghans look great in your rooms. I think I will shake off the cobwebs and bring out a couple to snuggle with for the upcoming colder days. Thanks for taking me down memory lane :^)

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  3. I've just started crocheting. I finished a scarf yesterday, and after poo-pooing my silly new hobby for weeks, Aaron touched the scarf, said "ooh, that's soft", wrapped it around his shoulders and demanded a blanket made in the same way. Hopefully I'll eventually make one worth passing on.

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