Chicago Temple: Story of Dedication and Sacrifice

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Altar Lace: A gift to the Lord

I came across this story in my search for historical accounts of other LDS lace makers. The story of this 78 year old sister was just beautiful:

“The dedication was a day of fulfillment for many of the temple district’s 160,000 members in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. In addition to contributing toward building of the temple, many had labored to help furnish it or make it ready for the dedication.

A couple from the Wilmette Illinois Stake, for example, helped unload and place furniture in the temple, then clean it prior to the open house, which began July 15. “It was such a privilege to be asked to help,” the wife recalled. “We wept as we vacuumed and dusted.”

Women from throughout the temple district who are skilled in crocheting and tatting made altar cloths for the ordinance and sealing rooms. One 78-year-old sister from Indiana wrote that though the infirmities of age might make it difficult for her to go to the temple, she was thrilled to be able to participate in this way. An 82-year-old sister from the Dayton Ohio East Stake sent with her finished altar cloth a note offering to make a second one if it were needed; she wept when she received a telephone call accepting her offer.

A group of girls in the St. Paul Third Ward, St. Paul Minnesota Stake, made a dozen dolls for the nursery in the temple, each named for the girl who made it, with the names embroidered on the back. The dolls were presented as the girls toured the temple during the open house. Afterward, their leaders wrote to temple matron Betty Cahoon: “It was an exceptionally good experience for the girls to do something that would be meaningful for the young people. It will be a wonderful memory for them.”

The temple not only touched Latter-day Saints, but also many non-LDS visitors. Some 100,065 visited the temple before the open house ended August 3. They expressed sentiments such as “an obvious place of devotion,” “I felt the hand of God,” “everyone should feel closer to God in this special place.”

Read the entire article in the October 1985 Ensign.

Repair Project: Beautiful 100 Year Old Antique Irish Lace

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This lace belongs to a friend of mine who has had it for many years.  It’s hand made Irish crochet lace.  A few of the floral motifs have been torn out here and there, and the picot netting is torn in several more places. 

She asked me if I would be able to repair it, and help her preserve it.  I have to admit that repairing a hundred+ year old piece of handmade Irish lace is a nerdy kind of wonderful. I readily agreed.  So much history here.

In examining the lace, it was easy to see how the damage had happened.  These little hook closures across the front of the jacket have caught on the lace and inadvertently been pulled, ripping through the aging thread.

The culprit: sharp little hook and eye closures

The culprit: sharp little hook and eye closures

My first job was to whiten the lace. I had no thread that would match the deep antique yellow it had become over the years, so I consulted with my mother-in-law who has a lot of experience laundering old lace.  She suggested Clorox II.  It has no chlorine bleach in it, so it won’t damage the fibers, but it does an amazing job of whitening.  It has a bit of bluing in it also, which helps the thread appear whiter.

The washing process took an entire evening, soaking, agitating, and rinsing.  The gentle process did a great job of taking a lot of the aged color from the thread.  Once the lace was a lighter color, not quite pristine white, but tolerably close– my thread was a sufficient match and the repair could begin.

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Irish floral crochet motifs embedded in picot ground.

I’m not done with this project yet, but making good progress.  I just love studying all the old motifs.  I can copy most of them from experience and observation.  The stitch tension is tighter than my tension, so I’m using my very smallest hook, Tulip, size 23.

A good variety of flowers

A good variety of flowers

Such a pretty piece.

Such a pretty piece.

I’m looking forward to posting finished pictures.

Grandma Celinda’s Legacy of Lacemakers

Celinda Jane Twitchell Olson

Celinda Jane Twitchell Olson, lacemaker

I just wanted to put a note up about all the beautiful sisters who are contacting me with the desire to make altar lace.  It’s such a beautiful thing.  I love the letters!

I got an email from a sister two weeks ago who has a desire to make altar lace for her temple and came across this blog.  It turns out she and I share the same lace making gggrandma, Celinda Olson.  That makes her a cousin! 

In total, four of my grandma Celinda’s descendants are currently making lace for altars, including me.  It is such joy to find each other.  Lace ties us together.

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Grandma Olson’s lace

64 Crochet Lace Altar Cloths

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Gift of Faith: Hand crocheted altar lace for the Lord

I came across this story from LDS.org.  I love the faith!

“I visited the temple in Buenos Aires. Feelings of gratitude welled up within me to know that within the four dedicated temples of South America the fulness of the gospel is blessing the members of the Church.

An example of the marvelous commitment of the Saints of South America was demonstrated by the dear sisters hand crocheting sixty-four altar cloths for the Buenos Aires Temple when only seven were requested.

–Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign May 1986, “The Kingdom Rolls Forth in South America”

My Favorite Pattern Books for Altar Laces

crochet_treasure_chestI’ve been asked what patterns I use for altar laces, and where more patterns can be found.  I have a collection of old vintage patterns that I love, I use those patterns, sometimes I modify them and sometimes I make up my own.  As long as the motif fits the general altar cloth guidelines, and is beautiful, it should work.

My favorite books are:

“Crocheter’s Treasure Chest”: This one has the “Pond Lily” Pattern in it that M.J. Stegeby made for the Los Angeles Temple.  It’s beautiful. Patterns that also might be used for altar cloths from this book are “Poinsettia”, “Daisy Ring”  and “Sundial”.  Some of the others have holes that are too large for altar lace.
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101 Motifs for Thread Crochet”: by the American School of Needlework: This book has the pattern I used for my first altar cloth, motif #101.  This book has many good motifs in it that would work for altar cloths, but it does not give directions on how to connect the motifs together.  If you you are new to altar cloth making, and want to use a pattern from this book and get stuck with how to connect motifs, I can help.

How you connect them varies, and can change the look of your finished lace by quite a bit.  Never fear.  There aren’t many wrong ways, and there are lots and lots of right ways that are creative and beautiful.

crochet_lace_doily_japanesemotifbook“Crochet Lace Doilies”

This book is in Japanese, but it has beautiful patterns and they’re diagrammed so you don’t have to know the language.  I love visual patterns.

Ondori is another Japanese pattern seller that has beautiful patterns.

In lace books, it’s not unusual to find one good pattern that will work for an altar lace out of a whole book of beautiful lacy patterns, but these books have some of my favorites.  I will add to the list as I discover more.

There are patterns also on pinterest that people have posted or created for free.  I am collecting some of interest on my pages there. I have a crochet lace pattern and ideas collection, and a tatted lace pattern and ideas collection.

 

 

 

Ensign Article: Tatting Altar Lace for the San Diego Temple

San Diego Temple, photo by Rickety

San Diego Temple, photo by Rickety

I came across this article from the 2002 Ensign called “Tatting for the Temple”.  I love to hear other lacemaker’s stories.  This is Candace Munoa’s altar cloth story:

“Two years before the San Diego California Temple was to be dedicated, a letter came to my stake Relief Society president asking that she find women in the stake to make altar cloths for the new temple. The altar cloths were to be tatted or crocheted and had to be completed within 10 months. My ward Relief Society president suggested my name. I accepted the invitation to help with much trepidation because up to that point I had tatted only small strips of lace.

I immediately called a cousin who also tats and asked her to send me several patterns she thought would work for the temple. When they arrived, I quickly chose one and began to figure out exactly how much work I would have to do each day in order to have the cloth completed in time. Each repetition in a pattern, or what I call a medallion, takes 30 minutes to make, and I would have to make three each day. I would have to tat for an hour and a half every day, six days a week, for approximately nine months.

I felt I had gotten in over my head. I was already a busy wife and mother of four children, ages 7 through 12. I was also a brand-new schoolteacher and Young Women adviser.

I was about to say I couldn’t fulfill the assignment, but then I thought of the women who had crushed their china to beautify the walls of the Kirtland Temple and the women who sewed shirts for those who worked on the Nauvoo Temple. I wanted to participate as those women did. I didn’t know where I was going to get an extra hour and a half each day, but I trusted that the Lord would accept my sacrifice and provide a way.

The Lord truly blessed me during those next nine months. I took my tatting with me wherever I went. I washed my hands before I touched it and wrapped it in a towel to make sure it stayed perfectly white. I wanted this altar cloth to be perfect. Many times I would find a mistake and have to pick out as many as five or six medallions, thus increasing the time per day I would need to spend tatting. However, somehow I still found time each day to work on the cloth, and what started out to be a sacrifice became a great privilege and joy.”

Read the rest of her story here: “Tatting for the Temple”, Ensign 2002

Tatting Altar Lace: Ann’s Story

Ann's Tatted Altar Lace: a new work in progress

Ann’s “Snowflake” Tatted Altar Lace: a new work in progress

This beautiful tatted lace is from Ann, a lacemaker I featured about a month ago.  She has started another altar cloth lace.  This will be her third altar lace for the Boise Temple!  She’s made one tatted altar lace, one crocheted altar lace and is beginning her third altar lace.

Ann sent me this picture of it, and this story:

“Years ago I thought it might be fun to tat an altar cloth for the temple. At the time I thought I’d just get started and the Lord would know where it was when He needed it. Finally, after I’d mentioned it a few times, my husband directed me past the temple matron’s office, and we asked about measurements. I remember her comment very well, “We’ll see you in a couple years!” Wow! I didn’t know if I could do it that fast.”

This pattern is Ann’s second tatted altar cloth for the Boise Temple. See her finished tatted altar lace here. Tatting takes a long time.  Ann’s first tatted altar lace had over 500 motifs, and took over 600 hours over five years to make.

Ann says:

“I was about half way done with my first tatted altar lace when the temple sent word to our stake Relief Society that they needed altar cloths as soon as possible. I stopped working on the tatted one and made one out of crochet (which is much faster).

Over the years I had plenty of distractions with that first tatted altar cloth… a cruise, two returning missionaries, a wedding, a fiftieth wedding anniversary party, a huge calling in the church, and our temple closed for 1 ½ years. Finally, after five years, I made it back to the temple with the first tatted altar cloth.

I felt like I had nothing to do after finishing the first tatted altar cloth last April, so I got this pattern out, made some adjustments and started fresh. Tatted altar cloth number 2 is underway. Hopefully, it won’t take 5 years to finish it!

The lace I am making now is called “Snowflake.” I love this pattern because it really does look like snowflakes. The large motifs are 4 inches in diameter so I’ll only need to make about 77 of them. I like making both sizes of motifs and connecting them as I go rather than do all the small ones at the end because my hands are rather small. This pattern also has a couple nice sections where only a shuttle is used, and rings are formed on the inside and outside of the row. Since I started this lace five years ago I have learned how to jump from row to row without breaking the thread so I still only have to hide ends once per motif! This pattern had many picots that were what I call “empty,” meaning they weren’t connected to anything. I find that picots don’t hold their shape with repeated washings and I wouldn’t expect every single picot to be pinned out when it is blocked. So I altered the pattern so that all the picots inside the design are joining with other parts of the design. The only picots that are “empty” are around the edge. All the others are “occupied.”

This pattern is called “Snowflake Tablecloth” from Traditional Tatting Patterns, Edited by Rita Weiss, pg. 13″

–Ann

Another beautiful lace in progress!  Ann describes how she makes each motif:

The large motifs have five rows…meaning five places to tie off threads and five places to hand stitch the ends to hide them. I’ve been practicing my skills for jumping from one row to the next. All I have to do is wind enough thread on two shuttles and start in the middle. Then I do a split ring to move to the next row,
Beginning a new tatted motif

Beginning a new tatted motif

Ending the row with a split ring

Ending the row with a split ring

Ending the next row with a split chain

Ending the next row with a split chain

Starting the next row with a split ring

Starting the next row with a split ring

Coming to the end of the frilly row

Coming to the end of the frilly row

Last row

Last row– motif made!

 

The Los Angeles Temple

Painting by Kendall Davenport

Los Angeles Temple: painting by Kendall Davenport

Today  my children went to the Los Angeles Temple with their youth group. What a blessing this place is to my family.  It is truly an oasis from the world; a place where heaven touches the earth– a holy place.

I got a letter from the wife of the artist who painted this painting.  She told me a little of its history:

“One of the main reasons Kendall choose this temple to paint was because it was the temple that two of our daughters, who lived in California, attended.  We had come to California to help one of our daughters with her new baby.

On a beautiful summer evening in August, while we were there,  Kendall and I went to the Los Angeles temple to get references for this painting. We had never been as close to the Los Angeles temple as we were that evening.  It was a delightful surprise to see the pool with flowers all around it and the special doors.  The temple felt so apart from the world even though it was in the midst of it.

 Kendall spent over a year painting this painting, putting in the feelings, and spirit he felt that night.  He painted it so you could feel like you are right there in front of it, that you can walk right into it, and able to feel the warm welcome invitation from the Lord saying “Come Unto Me”.  He painted the words on the front of the temple so they can be read and the doors so they feel like they can be entered in.

He named it “A More Excellent Hope”

“And I also remember that thou has said that thou has prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father, in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared. Ether12:32 But reverence as holy, the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh of the hope that is in you with meekness and reverence.”  1 Peter 3:15

–Yolanda Davenport

The detail on this painting is amazing.  It can be made panoramic mural size, and still retains the detail.  I love the close-up of the doors:

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Los Angeles Temple Painting by Kendall Davenport: detail of front doors

I’ve walked through these doors hundreds of times.  Such a beautiful design in that ironwork, with so much meaning and imagery.  It’s captured just right.  I love to paint also, but this kind of detail is beyond my skill.  A talent and a mission…  the best kind of combination.

Lillie and Lily: Another Generation

A trip through history: Lily Adeline with great-grandma Lillie's original lace bonnet and gloves.

A trip through history: Lily Adeline with great-grandma Lillie’s original lace bonnet and gloves.

When a child joins our family by adoption, we have a tradition of holding “Name Changing Day”, and each child receives a name– a gift tied to our family history.  It is a milestone day that we look forward to with each child.  Our philosophy is even if we don’t share biology, we can share history, and that history helps tie our precious children to us.

Each child that has come to our family has a name that is meaningful to our family in some way or another.  My daughter Lily is named Lily Adeline, after my husband’s Great-grandma Lillie and my Great-grandma Ada, both wonderful role models, and women we look up to.

A few years ago we visited Grandma Rockwood’s house in Colorado, and learned more about our grandma Lillie.  While we were there, we saw the original lace bonnet made by Grandma Lillie.  We have a replica of it in our house, but Lily had never seen the original.

Mary taught me grandma Lillie’s roll stitch.  Lily and I sat together as Mary made each beautiful roll.  I was able to learn it, while Lily watched.  When she is ready, I will teach it to her.

Learning Grandma Lillie's Roll Stitch

Learning Grandma Lillie’s Roll Stitch

Lily wrote up her thoughts on her namesake and history here.