Love From the Past, in a Lost Treasure– Found

Celinda's grandchildren

Celinda with her children, twins Margaret and Mabel, with younger brother, Kent 

I was recently talking to a second cousin of mine who told me the story of how she found a piece of Grandma Olson‘s lost lace. Marian Olson Boag is a descendant of my grandma, Celinda Olson, a lacemaker.  Marian is the granddaughter of Kent Olson, one of Celinda’s sons.  

She says:

“I was climbing through the rafters of Kent’s old barn where we milked the cows.  I was cleaning out the loft, and found a metal box that had lost its lid.  I decided to rifle through the box to make sure there wasn’t anything important in there before I threw it away.

The box was full of garbage, magazines, newspapers, burlap sacks, twine, straw and it had, nestled in everything else, a mouse nest. There were mouse droppings all over everything in there.

In the old rusty box, I discovered a delicate hand-knitted bag. Rolled up inside the little bag, was this perfect piece of hand-knitted lace.”

Celinda Olson Knitted Lace

Gift From the Past–Celinda Olson’s Lost Knitted Lace, Found

I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. An incredible feeling came over me. It was pretty special. I imagine that Grandma was very happy the lace had been found.

The sack had a few holes in it from the mice chewing through it, so it really was a miracle that the lace wasn’t ruined. I figure it was at least 50 years old at the time, and I’ve now had it twenty years more. 

I cleaned it, and stowed it away for safe keeping. I told my mother about it years later.  She told me to keep it, which is good… because I would have had a hard time giving it back! 

No one had any clue that it even existed, and no idea why it was ever put in the barn.  Finding that lace was such a blessing, and to know the love that went into making each tiny stitch just makes me feel close to her. I don’t know how it was lost, but I’m so glad it was preserved so I could find it.  It’s such a gift to have something so beautiful of hers.  I love it.”

What a treasure.  Uncle Kent’s barn is not far from the log house my grandmother lived in as she knit her lace by lamplight.  A beautiful piece of her love, for her granddaughter, made it home.

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4 thoughts on “Love From the Past, in a Lost Treasure– Found

  1. I can tell by the picture that this piece of lace is extra special. Grandma Olson’s basic pattern has only 4 rows of holes and one row of base. But when she wanted to make something extra special, she took the time to knit in the extra rows. This piece has 4 rows of base and 7 rows of holes in each pattern. She must have intended it for something extra elegant. My mom (Dixie Almond Smith) and I sorted through samples of Grandma Olson’s lace that were given to her daughter Mary (Olson) Almond. A lot of the pieces were the basic, quick, 4-row pattern, but every once in a while we came across a piece that looks similar to yours that was obviously made for something really special.

  2. I’m up at 2am reading your whole website. I am picturing you talking to me in person. I’ve enjoyed sharing your journeyings through all your projects. I have some of grandma Olson’s lace I’ve been meaning to put on pillow cases. I’m making new white cases and I think they will do nicely for the project. Thanks for the inspiration. Aunt Mary Margaret

    • Hello Mary Margaret! What a treasure. I’ve also used grandma’s edging for blessing dress edges. It’s good to have it in use, it’s not too special to appreciate. That’s the worst thing that could happen to it. Take a picture, and send it to me when you’re done. I would love to see it.

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