Monday, April 20, 2015

Mrs. Josephine

A while back my babysitter delivered a big tub of yarn to me.  Her friend's mother had passed away and she was giving it away.  Terri thought I might like it and might be able to use some of it.  The  bin and a few extra bags of yarn sat in my garage for a few weeks until I had the time to go through it all.   I felt strange going through this woman's yarn, sort of like I was invading her yarn privacy.  But as I started looking at the yarn my curiosity got the best of me.  


My first question was she a knitter or did she crochet? 


On the side of the bin were some patterns, ah.......she liked to crochet.  And based on these patterns she liked to make things for little ones, maybe her grandchildren?


I found this note with some directions on it, was it her handwriting or that of a friend?


Some of the yarn was so old.  I wonder when and if she had to give up her crochet hook?  Did she keep the yarn years after she was unable to make a stitch?  I think I would, because it would calm me down just being able to look at it even if I could not use it.  


There were all sorts of little bags filled with bits and bobs of leftover yarn.  I am assuming these were from blankets or baby items she made for those she loved.  Maybe she donated some of them or made them with a group of friends?


At the very bottom of the bin I found an envelope addressed to Mrs Josephine, I thought this might be my mystery crocheter.  Inside were bands from yarn skeins and a thank you note from a grandson.  I think my Mrs Josephine was well loved.


There was also a bag filled with crochet thread and these beautiful bits of crochet.  I wonder if they were made by Mrs Josephine or even her mother.  They are old and delicate, very fragile.  


I packed these beautiful pieces up to give to my babysitter so she could give them back to her friend.  They are treasures made by someone she loved.  I kept the thread and this old crochet book with very intricate patterns.  I could not just send that off to someone who would not appreciate it.   I threw out the tiny bits of yarn and scraps of patterns, and I donated the rest of the yarn to a group that makes lap blankets for nursing home residents.  My Mother had quite a few of those when she was in the nursing home for three years and they were very much appreciated.  I loved getting to know Mrs. Josephine, even if it was only through her yarn stash.  I am glad she had crochet to help her through the times in her life, both good and bad.   And I am glad she got enjoyment from making things for those she loved.

38 comments:

Bridget said...

I'm just glad that Mrs. Josephine had someone who cared as much as you to go through her things.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I love how you honored this woman with her sweet yarn and patterns. I sometimes wonder what bits and bobs of my life will be left when I'm gone.
hugs,
Linda

Jill at emeraldcottage said...

How lovely you are to treat this lady's possessions with such care :) I have my friend's Mum's cross stitch things, there are quite a few patterns with notes jotted down, I love that there is a record of what she made :)
Jillxo

kathy b said...

You both honored her! Great post Meredith

Grammy Braxton said...

I love that you treasured these items. Mrs. Josephine must have loved all of them. In going through Mom's things, we have found several items partially finished, especially cross stitch items. My sister doesn't crochet or knit so she took those to finish. I inherited all the yarn, well most of it and patterns galore. It's nice to know someone like you can appreciate the value of those delicate pieces and to know who can best use the yarn.
Hugs,
Sharon

Judy S. said...

It's almost as if that box talked to you, isn't it? So nice of you to sort through it and return the finished pieces. Sounds like you did a great job with it, too!

Una said...

I sometimes wonder about the stories behind the yarn I find in charity shops and boot fairs etc. I hope the first owners like what I make with it.

HollyM said...

How beautiful a story you conjured from the yarn stash! I have had a few passed to me as well and done a very similar thing. A lot, I have passed to my mother in law who keeps busy crocheting and knitting for family and charity.

Gracie Saylor said...

Your thoughtful post has left me thought full, Meredith:)

Wondering what Mrs. Josephine might have been like by considering what she kept in her yarn stash was interesting! I immediately started remembering what we found in my mom's yarn stash after she died. Many of us in our family treasure garments and Christmas ornaments she made, and some of us have some of her hand written patterns and recipes.

Your post encourages me to consider/organize what I have in my stash! :) xx

ellen said...

This is good and I am so happy that these things came to you...a woman who handled each item with respect and caring.
xoxo, E.

Jo said...

I get lots of this sort of thing given to me and at first it felt strange and then I used to get into the mindset that the person who it had belonged to would wish for it to be created into something and I hold that in my heart. It is one of the things that started me blogging - showing what can be done with not very much other than enthusiasm. Enjoy, they would have wanted it to go to a clever lady like you. Jo x

Pammy Sue said...

Oh how fun! I love going through old things like that. A friend sent me a BIG box of crochet pattern books from an old lady's house who had died and her children did not want. I saw her handwriting on a lot of the books, and she had written her name and the date on the front of nearly all of them. She also had a brown envelope full of patterns she had clipped from magazines. I always think of her when I use anything that was hers. I think she would be so pleased that I have her things and understand the value they had to her and now to me. Very sweet, Meredith! I'm glad you wrote about your Josephine today. I know she sees it and is pleased at the number of people who will see her things.

CJ said...

What a lovely story. My gran used to knit blankets for care home residents, she was always knitting. I'm glad her box was gone through so carefully and respectfully. No doubt the relative will be happy to have the lovely crochet pieces. CJ xx

mynestofyarnandbuttons said...

What a lovely story Meredith and who better to appreciate than you! You are a real treasure too. xoRobin

kathyinozarks said...

Her yarn treasures found their way to a caring person-so back again to family and to persons in need-hugs Kathy

Jennifer said...

I think Mrs. Josephine's yarn went to the right person. I loved seeing all of her things from the bin, this was really interesting to me. I have some old knitting stuff that was given to me by an elderly neighbor years ago and I like to look through it sometimes, even though I don't knit. Maybe I'll share it on my blog sometime too. I hope you're having a good week so far.

Lisa N. said...

Hi Meredith,

It was so interesting to read your post about Mrs. Josephine's box of yarn and treasures. It reminded me of how Sherlocke Holmes tries to figure out cases through clues as you worked your way through her things to learn more about her. It was great reading your post, thank you for sharing!

Lisa :)

My Garden Diaries said...

What a beautiful and moving post! You were able to intimately get to know someone through her creative gifts....how lucky that this box came to you as you not only got some treasure but you were able to find things for the family that would have otherwise been lost. So wonderful!! And my daughters name is Josephine! Happy week with your little man! Nicole xo

mamasmercantile said...

I am always fascinated by the patterns and notes people leave behind, you seem to be able to get a picture of the person. You did a wonderful job with such kindness, a great place for the yarn to be used.

Becky L. said...

interesting to go through indeed. Glad you were able to decide what to do with the items and kept a few things for yourself. i remember going thru my mom's things and finding old books, flyers etc, that I did keep and others were tossed. One was a holder of needles from Safeway, a grocery store! nice!

Géraldine B. said...

I've already got some old things for sewing, knitting or crocheting, old yarns, old needles, old threads ... a friend of mine gave me some such things last week ... that's a strange feeling indeed when you got some pieces not finished ...

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

Kind of a treasure trove and time capsule all in one.

Housewith Hearts said...

What a lovely post. I imagine Mrs J would be so pleased if she could only know how much care you have taken. Our crafty pursuits are actually pretty personal aren't they. X

Valentina Olden Patterns said...

I'm sure Mrs Josephine is smiling, wherever she is, knowing that some of her precious stash is in your loving hands. : )

gigi knits said...

Beautiful post . How offend when I see hand knit or crocheted blankets in thrift shops I have to wonder who made it & for who was it made. An the love that was put into just to end up in a thrift store . It has always made me feel so sad . Happy feeling to know you spend the time & love to go through her treasured yarn with love.

linda said...

How interesting Meredith and how lovely Mrs Josephines stash found you someone who could appreciate it and treat it with the respect it deserved. I love those crochet thread pieces, I have some very similar tucked away in my stash that I made but never finished about 35 years ago, I haven't got the heart to throw them away but they are quite useless as they are. Hope you're having a great week. :) xx

20 North Ora said...

I, needless to say, am always buying vintage lace and doilies. I always wonder who crocheted it and how it ended up being for sale. I don't think I could ever get rid of something that I made like those old gorgeous pieces.

Thanks for dropping by.

Judy

Joyful said...

You did well my friend in going through these items and in honouring Mrs. Josephine. Blessings to you. xx

Chris said...

What a lovely post! All her treasures and I love she saved a thank you note from her grandchild. I can almost see her after reading your post. Very sweet.

Caffeine Girl said...

You turned this tub into quite an adventure! I love the way you tried the find the woman who squirreled away these bits and pieces. And those old labels and books are so precious. I hope some of the things she made are still treasured by family and friends.

Dee said...

From the look of those crocheted pieces, she was quite talented.

:0)

Mrs. Micawber said...

Mrs. Josephine ... I can almost see her. May she rest in peace.

Thank you for a lovely, poignant post, Mere. :)

Gillian said...

I still have all my mother's old patterns, needles and hooks. Now with my own added there's quite a lot for someone to go through whenever I'm gone! It's very interesting to see other people's yarn stash, their patterns and little notes.

Melissa said...

How wonderful!! I too got an "after mom passed away" box from a lady at work when her mother passed on. She was a knitter and crochet'er. There were all sizes of needles and hooks, and two ball winders, and bits of yarn and half-completed projects. It was heaven. And I imagined all kinds of nice things about her as I loved each item in the box. Happy Happy!

elns said...

What a beautiful post, Mere! Thank you for taking us along your journey to meet Mrs. Josephine :)

Neighborhood Watch said...

This post reminded me of two elderly women who used to spend their afternoons crocheting on the balcony adjoining mine. They worked with fine, white thread and made beautiful intricate things. I always hoped to be like them at their age.

Astri Bowlin said...

Hmmmm..what stories our stashes could tell. :-) I love this post, very thought provoking.

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

How wonderful. That is like receiving a treasure chest. Fun to go through. And now it's contents are benefiting so many instead of just sitting wasting away. :) Best wishes, Tammy