August 4, 2010

In Her Hands...

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. - Proverbs 31:13

If you've followed my blog for a while, you've read that my mother-in-law, Evelyn, was an accomplished needlewoman. These are some of her sock darners - now mine. Reminders of a time and place when part of a woman's homekeeping skills included repairing her family's socks.

Handsome told me that Evelyn used to knit argyle socks. Knowing that, I'm sure that she took special care to keep them in wearable condition. In those days, you didn't throw away a damaged sock. It was, instead, repaired.

I love to make socks, and know how much goes into creating a pair, so I have a great respect for Evelyn's ability to make them using the detailed argyle pattern. How I would have loved to sit knitting with her, but we never had the chance.
One of my favorite family photographs.
Evelyn, with Handsome on the right and his brother on the left.


When I hold these tools, I imagine them in the hands of my elegant mother-in-law. I can picture her sitting in her favorite chair with a basketful of socks awaiting repair. I can see the bits of yarn she would use to weave a new heel across the well-worn wood of the darners. I can hear Handsome and his brother teasing her, and her good-natured responses. I can imagine the socks being restored to their former glory in her hands.

She was a woman who loved her family deeply, and cared for them, above all else, her whole life. These tools are precious to me because they represent that devotion. They also remind me of a more genteel, innocent time. I like that.

24 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

marie said...

What beautiful memories and such a sweet tribute.
That's a wonderful photo!

Angela said...

Bloggerette Sister and fellow Blissfull Swapper: What an awesome photo! Your post is beautifully sentimental and wonderfully written. Thanks for sharing your story.
Angela
www.sewloquacious.blogspot.com

Suzann said...

What a wonderful treasure!

Jennifer said...

Great post! Yes, I wish for those simpler times many days. The photo is precious. My MIL will be 92 next month! She used to tatt and knit alot too and I've heard similar stories of repairing those socks. There is alot of love knitted in those socks....

Jennifer

Jillayne said...

What a delightful picture - you can see the happiness on their faces so clearly. The tools of needlework hold a particular joy for me; I think they are our true treasures, more so than things we make with them. I cherish all of mine and whenever I can, I buy the best. A good tool is a joy in the hand!

MosaicMagpie said...

Donna,
What a precious photo, I am sure it was a favorite of your Mother-In-Law as well. The look of love being shared there. It is a photo any mother would cherish. Brought tears to my eyes. Great Post, Debbie

Diane said...

I love these old tools - they say so much, don't they. Mostly with the word "love" in them.
Blessings, Diane

Tina Eudora said...

Oh Donna what a wonderful memory! My mom also made Argyle socks, but I have never had the patience.
I have my grandmother's sock darner but although I know how to darn I have never done it.
Maybe it's time to make some wool socks for winter!
Tina xo

dixiesamplardesigns said...

Love the darning eggs...I have quite a few antique ones that I have purchased through the years...just wish I had the history behind them as you do...SWEET MEMORIES!!

Createology said...

Such a beautiful post to honor your MIL and her cherished pieces of history. Happy darning...

Meri Wiley said...

Hi Donna,

This brought back some memories for me, too! My mom only had one darning egg, but I was always facinated by it and I used to just handle it while I was growing up. In my first marriage, I actually darned my husbands crew socks, as that is how I was raised. It didn't hit me until years later how inexpensive in cost and cheap in construction these socks were. How silly to mend polyester socks that were 12 pair for $6!!!!!

Hugs,
Meri

Rettabug said...

Donna, this is such a touching tribute to a wonderful woman! She did a great job raising her sons to be kind & caring. You can just see the adoration in their faces as they look up at her. Your handsome man was a handsome little boy!!

I've posted some sewing projects & have another in the works. I am slowly getting some UFOs completed, too. Come see!

Tins and Treasures said...

Good Morning,
This is a beautiful tribute to a very special woman. I have my mom's sock darners too...in fact, just last week when we were sorting through her things, she had socks that were waiting to be mended in her basket. Well, her eyesight is just not good enough anymore. Thanks for sharing your treasures with us.

Have a thoughtful Thursday, ~Natalie

sjmcdowell said...

Hi Donna,

What a lovely tribute to your Mother-in-Law. I also cherish the items that my grandmother passed down to me. I picture her sitting there working loving care into each stitch. Wonderful!!

Loving Blessings,

Susan

Brenda@Cozy Little House said...

Oh, what a wonderful tribute to his mother! She would be so proud to know you cared so.
Brenda

Twyla and Lindsey said...

I love to collect old darners, especially the well worn ones. How even more special yours are because you loved the wonderful lady who used them. They are lovely. Twyla

SheilaC said...

What a wonderful keepsake to remember a beautiful woman.....

SheilaC

Beedeebabee said...

Hi Donna! What a lovely post and tribute to your sweet MIL! ... I love your new bloggy look, especially since it's still you, with just a bit more. It's perfect! xo Paulette ;)

Honey Lamb and I said...

You know Donna I have noticed a lot of books at borders about making socks. I think that is cool to think of you mother in law putting her love into each pair.
I also think it is cool that your hubby plays in the orchestra. My brother in law went to Julliard and now plays the French horn for the L.A. Phil. If I had a choice I would be percussion too!

Jane said...

I loved this post. Your MIL sounded like a wonderful woman. I think it's very special that you have her darning tools. I'm sure she would be very happy to know that they are in the hands of an accomplished seamstress like yourself.
Jane

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

What a beautiful post and tribute!

And I could tell right away which little boy was your husband, he looks so very much the same!

Hugs,
Anne

Carolyne said...

I love the fact that you sense your dear MIL's presence when you hold her old darners. I also love using my Nana's old darners and sewing implements as well as her cast iron pans in the kitchen. There is something so precious in being able to continue the traditions of times past and carrying the spirit of their love into your present.
I'm glad I found your blog.
~Carolyne

Michelle May said...

How cool are those!
Such a treasure to have and what wonderful memories too.

Sue said...

Donna, How wonderful to have the sewing tools that your MIL once used. They are beautiful both as a display and as a reminder of her, as well.
:-) Sue

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