Monday, February 27, 2017

The Original Sweater Girl

If you've been with me since August, you might remember the huge collection of knitwear, all made by My Mother The Dowager Duchess. In addition to the sweaters pictured in a post from August 25 (click here), I set aside photos of some special ones to share with you when I had the time. Well, I have the time.

Of the items pictured below, I only remember the first, which my mother made some time in the early 1960s. The others were all new to my eyes, so, while sorting through her photos, I was really pleased to find a shot from 1984 of the Duchess wearing the last one.

(Click the images to inspect the workwomanship.)

WITH INDIVIDUAL CRYSTAL BEADS. THIS WAS PAIRED WITH A FLOOR-LENGTH
TAPERED BLACK SKIRT (ALSO MADE BY THE DUCHESS). CLASSY.





1984. THE DIFFICULT YEARS SHOW IN HER EYES.
(BUT NO DOUBT THAT WAS CLUB SODA IN THE CUP.)

26 comments:

  1. What a talented lady your mother was, Mitch! And this collection is a knitter/designers' treasure.
    Did you ever learn to knit? With your talents as an artist, I can only imagine your knitted creations.

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    1. Jim:
      I never even considered learning to knit, which is a shame since my mother taught and helped a lot of new knitters. But, it wasn't something boys did and she probably would have discouraged me even if I had overcome that attitude myself.

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  2. Your mother's knitting projects are quite beautiful, Mitch. I love to knit myself so know the effort, intricacy and time she must have put into each creation.

    The glass of "club soda" is telling and I applaud her strength and yours I might add!

    Best
    Ron

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    Replies
    1. Ron:
      My mother was NOT a drinker. One sip of anything and she would say, "Is it hot in here or is it just me?," as she fanned herself with her cocktail napkin. I on the other hand DRANK!

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  3. The woolies look great Mitch! I think the names for the various styles probably change from country to country - the first one is what I know as a Slipover, the 2nd is a short sleeve Jumper, 3rd and 4th are cardigans, the 5th a Pullover or a Gansey.
    A happy photo and your Mother looks great.

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    1. Heron:
      We had different names for most I think, except cardigans. Jumpers are something entirely different in the states (a sleeveless dress worn with a shirt or such underneath).

      Delete
  4. She was very talented and definitely not your average knitter. Love that photo of her

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    1. Cheapchick:
      I'm so glad to still have a few of the sweaters she made for my father and for me.

      Delete
  5. That is some beautiful work!!!! You don't see quality like that for some designers these days.

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    1. mistress maddie:
      She actually made sample sweaters for a high-end
      designer in New York for a brief time. But she didn't like the designer much, as a person, and decided it wasn't worth her time.

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  6. What lovely sweaters! Such a talented lady. I am partial to purple so I love the third and fourth ones.
    Beautiful photos of your Mom too.

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    1. Cat Lover:
      I loved those two purples as well. I hope someone is enjoying them now!

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  7. Incredible needlework by the DD, Mitch. Are the designs original with her, too or do you think she followed a published pattern for them? To my (untrained) eye, they look like originals. I see she has a lovely manicure in the photo - all the better for holding a club soda! She was something to behold. Thanks for sharing. Cheers.

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    1. Wilma:
      She tended to start with instructions, which she would then customize to her tastes. Her nails always looked like that to the day she died. The colors got more dramatic as she got older. Amazing that she painted and sculpted with those nails.

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  8. @ron - I am a knitter also and am AWESTRUCK by the details and the beads and cables!

    the duchess was a stylish beautiful woman, mitch.

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    1. anne marie:
      She was truly gifted and a perfectionist.

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  9. She looks so lively and happy in that last photograph. What a treasure.

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    1. Stephen:
      That was at a family event (I wasn't there). My sister had died three years earlier after 3-1/2 years of illness. My father was ill for the second time. She put on a good show for family.

      Delete
  10. Such wonderful things :) I really love that beaded top -- I wish we could see her in that, with the black skirt.
    I'm sorry to see you alluding to difficult years :(

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    1. Judy:
      I'm sure there must be a photo from a wedding with my mother wearing that outfit. I just haven't come across it yet. You'll see it when I do! That photo was taken a few years after my sister had died and my father had been ill twice I think by then. The '80s weren't kind.

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  11. Oh my! Oh my, oh my, oh my! That is such wonderful work!

    And I am a little (lot!) bit proud to say that my mum won some prizes in her day for her knitting too. But we have no photographic evidence left. And i dont think her jumpers and cardigans quite reached the standard of the dowager. Still, my mum did pass on her skill to 3 of her 4 daughters. How did you guess i am the one who has yet complete a plain scarf in her 67 years? ��

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    1. Rozzie:
      Something to look forward to before you're 70! A fancy scarf!

      Delete
  12. She was amazing with needles! Really she deserves her own museum, with collections like this. So cool, and I love that you have a photo of her wearing one of them.

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    1. Knatolee:
      I used to see knitting and handmades at county fairs and realized her work was always better than anything on display. I donated everything, along with some of her paintings, to the organization that provided her with so many home services in her last year. They enabled her to maintain her independence to the end. They were having a health fair in October and planned to display all her work there along with her wedding picture. I'm hoping to find photos of her wearing some of the others.

      Delete

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