Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Handkerchiefs with Crocheted Edges

As my regular readers know by now, Bomi, my maternal grandmother was a seamstress. When she learned the trade there was more to being a seamstress than making clothes.

Nearly all household items made of material could be made or enhanced by a frugal seamstress. When linen sheets became worn out they would be patched them with pieces of old sheets. Bomi learned to embroider, crochet and make lacy edges for handkerchiefs, collars, dishtowels, pillowcases, and sheets.

hankiesCotton sheets would be cut up to the size of a lady’s handkerchief and the edges crocheted. They lasted for years and years.

When we cleaned out her house Bomi’s Nuesnappecher or Sakdicher (handkerchiefs) were the first things to go home with me. Although they may look delicate they aren’t hand-wash but they are line dried and ironed. When “the pile” gets too high the first things I iron are Bomi’s handkerchiefs. And even though I’m not fond of ironing, I love the smell of freshly ironed.

Hopefully all paperless genealogists will agree with me. In today’s world we waste so much. My using Bomi’s hankies saves paper and my nerves – because don’t you just hate having to pick all those little tissue pieces off clothes coming out of the washer when someone forgets to empty their pockets!

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

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Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

As a military brat I've lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Married 36 years with two grown children. When I’m not doing genealogy, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful countryside in Luxembourg and surrounding countries.

10 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Handkerchiefs with Crocheted Edges”

  1. My Mom would attempt to darn my Dad’s socks but apparently he wore them out equally and it wasn’t worth the effort. Ruby Pernicia Lillie would reverse the collars on our shirts when we were kids, used a razor to remove the worn and frazzled collar, flip it over and sew it back on. Makes me wonder where she learned her shorthand and sewing skills. She shared as much as she could, I can sew on a button and attempt to sew up tears, but I’m more inclined to just buy another garment.

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  2. I don’t remember any hand made hankies in my family, but I do remember my grandmother’s knitting project, including a mohair sweater given to me as a Christmas gift, probably when I was about 7. I can still see the pretty round pearlized buttons on it, but I also remember how very itchy mohair is!

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  3. I really enjoyed this piece and the craftsmanship! Very beautiful! It made me think of Moms Hankies I had put a twist on hers and gave away to our Womenfolk. She had so many in different drawers. I keep my personal one in my Bible. Thanks for sharing this with me and it Inspired me to do another Heirloom Piece for the end of the Year. xoox’s, True-

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  4. These look too pretty to wipe my nose with! I never was a handkerchief person—been wasting tissues all my life. But when I met my husband, he always carried one. I used to tease him about being an old man since the only people I knew who carried them were old men! So he stopped using them. Now I feel a bit wistful about it!

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  5. I agree with you, the smell of freshly ironed cotton or linen is nice. My grandma’s favorite pass time was making lacy edges for handkerchiefs and so we received, as long as she lived, for every birthday and every Christmas wonderful “Nuesnappecher” with delicate lace edges.

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