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.

marianolsonboag_celindalace

Grandma Olson’s lace

64 Crochet Lace Altar Cloths

altarlace

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”

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!

 

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.

Grandma Lillie’s Star Lace Edging (Pattern)

Grandma Lillie's Star Lace

Grandma Lillie’s Star Lace

Grandma Lillie’s Star Lace Edging Pattern for Crochet

Ch 70

Row 1:  dc in 4th ch from hook, 3 dc in same ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, sc  in next 5 ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, dc in next 4 ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, sc in next 5 ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, dc in next 4 ch,* ch 2. Skip 2 ch , dc in next ch, *  repeat from* to* 4 times to last ch.

Row 2: Turn, ch 5(ch 5 counts as 1st dc and 2 ch threw out design), dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc , 2 dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc,   ch 3 ,* dc in last dc of dc-4,  3 dc in ch-8 space, ch 7, skip first sc and sc in next 3 sc,  ch 7,  3dc in next ch-8 space, dc in next dc, ch 3 * Repeat one more time from * to*, dc in next dc, 3 dc in ch-3 space.

Row 3: Turn, Ch 4,  4 dc in top of 1st dc, *ch 3, trc in ch-3 space, ch 3, dc in last dc of 4-dc,3 dc in ch-7 space,  ch 5, skip 1st sc, sc in next sc, ch 5, 3 dc in ch-7 space, dc in first of 4-dc, * repeat from * to * ch 3, trc in ch-3 space, ch 3, dc in last dc of 4-dc, 2dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in 3rd ch in ch-5.

Star Lace Edging, detail

Star Lace Edging, detail

Row 4: Turn, Ch 5, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, 2 dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc, *ch 6, sc in ch-3 space, sc in trc, sc in next ch-3 space,  ch 6, dc in last dc of 4-dc,  3dc in next ch-5 space, ch 2, trc in sc, ch 2, 3 dc in next ch-5 space, dc in first dc of 4-dc, repeatfrom  * one time,  ch 6, sc in ch-3 space, sc in trc, scc in next ch-3 space, ch 6, 4 dc in ch-3 space.

Row 5: Turn, Ch 4,  4 dc in top of 1st dc, * ch 8, sc in ch-6 space,  sc in next 3 sc, sc in next ch-6 space, ch 8, ** 2 dc in ch-2 space, 2 dc in next ch-2 space, * Repeat once from * to * repeat again  from * to **, dc in last dc of 4-dc, 2 dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc, ch2,  dc in 3rd ch in ch-5.

Row 6: Turn, Ch 5,  dc in top of 1st dc, ch 2, skip next 2 dc, dc in next dc  * 3 dc in ch-8 space, ch 6, skip  sc, sc in next 3 sc, ch 6 , 3 dc in ch-8 space, dc in top of next dc, ch 3, dc in last of 4-dc*  Repeat 2 more times. Ch 3.

Row 7: Turn * 1 dc in top of 4th dc of 4-dc, 3 dc in ch-6 space, ch 5, skip sc, sc in next sc ,ch 5, 3 dc in ch-6 space, 1 dc in next dc,**ch 3, 1 trc in sc , ch 3,*  Repeat from * to * 1 more time, then repeat from * to ** ch 2, dc in last dc of 4-dc , ch 2, dc in top next dc, ch 2, dc in 3rd ch of ch-5.

Row 8: Turn, ch 5, dc in top of next dc , ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc of 4 dc, ch2,skip next 2 dc, dc  in next dc of 4-dc,* 3 dc in ch-5 space, Ch 2, 1 trc in sc, ch 2, 3 dc in ch-5 space,1 dc in next dc, ** ch 6, sc in ch-3 space, 1 sc in trc, 1 sc in ch-3 space, ch 6, dc in last dc of 4-dc*, Repeat from *to* once .  Repeat from * to **.

Row 9: Turn, ch 3, *2 dc in ch-2 space, 2dc in next ch-2 space, ch 8, 1 sc in ch-6 space, 3sc in next sc, sc in next ch-6 space,  ch 8*  Repeat  from * to * one more time, 2 dc in ch-2 space, 2dc in next ch-2 space, ch 2,skip 2 dc, dc in next dc of 4-dc, ch2, dc in next dc 3times, ch 2, dc in 3rd ch in ch-5.

Repeat starting with Row2:  through Row 9: until it is long enough.    Shrinkage is usually 1 inch for every 20 inches.  So make it  an inch longer for every 20 inches of finished product. If making a pillow case, connect on row 8 to the other end. I used a 60 wt thread and # 12 crochet needle.

Lillie's pillowcase lace pattern on a sheet set --by Mary Rockwood

Lillie’s Star Lace Pattern on a sheet set –made by her granddaughter, Mary Rockwood

Grandma Lillie’s Heirloom Lace Bonnet

Reproduction of the bonnet Lillie Lang Robison made for her daughter, Birdie Isabella Robison Swasy, by her granddaughter, Mary Swasey Rockwood

Grandma Lillie’s Heirloom Roll Stitch Blessing Bonnet

This bonnet is a beautiful reproduction of the bonnet Grandma Lillie Lang Robison created for her daughter, Birdie Isabella Robison Swasey.  It was made by Birdie’s daughter, Mary Swasey Rockwood, who has the original lace bonnet.  The original bonnet is nearly 100 years old.  Mary has made many copies of this bonnet, one for each of her grandchildren to wear for their blessing day, and to keep to remember their heritage.

Lillie Lang Robison, who designed the original bonnet, was a talented lace maker.  She designed this bonnet without a pattern.  There are a few variations of it in the extended family, but this one is a favorite.

One of the most distinctive features of this pattern is the use of the roll stitch, also known as the bullion stitch.  Usually roll stitches and bullion stitches are short, but these are long.  The longer the roll, the harder it is to make. Pulling one loop through a long tube of loops takes patience and skill.

Mary studied grandma Lillie’s lace until she figured out how to reproduce the distinctive stitches.  The bent roll stitches, (they look like pill bugs), are made the same way as the straight ones.  Yarn over 18-20 times, hold it steady, and pull one loop through the roll of yarn overs.  It takes a special brand of hook to do it well. Mary uses only steel Boye hooks for her roll stitch patterns because they are straight enough to make the rolls without having one end graduate larger than the other.  She has been able to reproduce this stitch and pattern in even size 100 thread, the very smallest thread available.

Because of the heritage associated with these stitches, I often try to incorporate them into laces I design.  I love this pattern. It is beautiful.

Grandma Lillie's Lace Bonnet, detail side

Grandma Lillie’s Lace Bonnet, detail side

Grandma Lillie's Bonnet, roll stitch lace edge

Grandma Lillie’s Bonnet, roll stitch lace edge

Grandma Lillie's Lace Bonnet

Grandma Lillie’s Lace Bonnet

Twin Falls Idaho Temple: Crochet Lace Altar Cloth by Kiren

Altar Cloth, made for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, with love by Kiren

Crochet Lace Altar Cloth: made for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, with love from Kiren

Twin Falls Idaho Temple-- by Robert A. Boyd

Twin Falls Idaho Temple– by Robert A. Boyd

This beautiful crochet lace altar cloth was made by a lacemaker for the Idaho Twin Falls Temple:

“I’ve wanted to make a temple altar cloth for a long time and was so excited for this opportunity. There are a total of 273 motifs–each one took 20-30 minutes to make (to give you an idea of the time that went into this project).

It turned out beautifully and I’m excited to know that it’s going to a temple near where I grew up.”  –Kiren

Kiren crochets all kinds of things, and also enjoys tatting.  Such a beautiful lace.

Lace altar cloth for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, detail

Lace altar cloth for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, detail