Collecting Crocheted Heirlooms

By Emilee Gettle – 14 Comments

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, collecting vintage crochet patterns, I also love to find the finished heirlooms. It simply amazes me at how cheap you can purchase a hand-crocheted doily, let alone an ornate tablecloth at flea markets and antique stores! People who do not crochet have no idea the value of these tirelessly crafted pieces of our history! However, I suppose that saves my budget as I snatch up these beauties during my flea market hops.

I’ve often wanted to make patterns from my finds! One of my favorites is a set of potholders crocheted to look like doll dresses. Remember those darling things from the 40s-50s? I have them hanging in my craft room for inspiration.

Do you collect crocheted antiques? Have you ever created your own pattern from them?

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  1. LuAnne says:

    I don’t collect, but I have some old, tiny, delicate doilies that were my mom’s. I’ve even “copied” some of them, but they turned out much bigger than the originals.

  2. Cami says:

    I have seen crocheted items in vintage and antique stores. It makes me sad to think that these handmade items are selling so cheaply, but if they can get into the hands of crochet-lovers and people who can appreciate them, that´s a good thing. I´ve seen some good tutorials on how to use them on the Naughty Secretary Club Blog. She dyed some and attached them to skirts.

  3. Cate says:

    I found out how little value non crocheters put on the art when my in-laws sold some things I’d made for them at a garage sale for a dollar a piece. Needless to say they didn’t get any more 🙂

  4. Kathy says:

    My husband’s grandmother could not speak English, only Italian. She surely could make sense of crotchet patterns though. When the family sold her house in 1980 we were one of the last to go up in the attic and try to find a momento. The room was all but empty but we saw a piece of crotchet all wadded up on the floor. It was a treasure. It is an eagle holding an American flag in its talons, the year she made it, 1917, clearly shown toward the bottom half. All of the flag’s stars and stripes are shown and there is a beautifully done pattern all around. It measures about 18×20 and was done in a cotton thread. I had it cleaned and professionally framed. It has hung in our home ever since and is one the things we most treasure.

  5. margaret says:

    Iam looking for a lace crochet or knit shawl for my 5 year old great granddaughter she is going to a father and daughter dance in Oct.we live in Fl.Ca you help me with this please.

  6. Bookworm says:

    There’s ebay as well. I’ve seen a few crocheted afghans that were going for less than the cost of the shipping.

  7. gatyamgal says:

    Over the years I would find Workbasket Magazines at sales. They were so small and easy to read, I would buy them just to look through. THEN I started to feel that maybe I was missing out on something so I started collecting as many as I could.
    Being a monthly magazine, I figured 12 a year… there can’t be that to manage. Well, I didn’t realize they had been around since the 1940’s and ended in the 90’s. so there are over 600 magazines. I found the yahoo group for them. There is actually an index which lists all the projects. These magazines had everything! There is knitting, crocheting, tatting and sewing. There is even cooking and gardening. I like the pages that show how to make little things for sales like a church bazaar. Like the vintage patterns, everything old can be new again. I am looking for that “it” item that can be a moneymaker today. There are lots of small crocheting projects. I can’t wait for summer to slow down so I can start looking through my magazines again.

  8. Liza says:

    I would love to see a picture of those doll dress pot holders!

  9. LuAnne says:

    If you have a local Farmer’s Market, try selling at it. They seem to draw people who are more interested in crafty items.

  10. marymack says:

    To Cate- sorry about your inlaws – I received my great grandmas unfinished projects with request to finish them. I have her size 11 steel hook-too small to see!3 bedspreads – countless boxes of motifs to put together -No pattern.

    Years later, I finished 2 projects -join, repair, hand wash, block, iron, weave in a million ends, crochet borders with stitches to small to see. Proudly I showed to grandma who said- “Great, I’ll give this to ___.”
    They were elegant and beautiful and it is a shame her efforts and mine weren’t appreciated. Maybe I should have just bought one on e bay or antique store.

  11. Mama Junke says:

    My maternal grandmother taught me to crochet as a child and gave me her extra hooks. Every few years or so once I became an adult I would pick up and do a pattern or two. My grandmother passed a few years ago and I snitched all of her old crochet books and split all of her yarn with my two aunts (neither of whom have crocheted in years). I had tons of finished granny squares that she had also made. I gave birth to a son two years after she passed and was able to use her blue squares along with some I made to make a blanket for him…a lot of hormonal tears were shed in the making of that quilt. It’s one of my most cherished posessions.

  12. mmcrochet says:

    To Mama Junke
    What a wonderful story . You have a “true” heirloom and show honor to your grandmother and her memory. Maybe heirloom items can be bought but a “true” heirloom cannot be bought; only felt with the heart.

    I will one day finish my 3rd project from my great grandmother -see previous post -She died before I was born but having her work in my hands connects me to her. I respect her and her craft with each stitch I complete.

  13. Will says:

    It is probably rare that a man would have a question about crochet. That said, I know very little about the art and history. My internet search brought me here in an attempt to get some information about collecting antique crochet. Simply, what advice can you give to get me started? How do I tell old from new? Machine from handmade? Quality from cheesey? What types should I search out? i am restoring a circa 1839 farmhouse and am collecting to furnish it with items through the 1930’s. I just love the old stuff. Thanks

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