Crocheted quilt proves sentimental value of family heirlooms

Hellen van Rees designs dresses from leftover yarn (thinkstock)

A crocheted quilt has hit the headlines in Cambridgeshire, 58 years after it was originally completed.

The beautiful white blanket is featured in the Fenland Citizen alongside its current owner, Yvonne Smith. It has a fascinating story, having been started by her grandmother Phoebe Rolfe shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War.

Then 73 years old, Mrs Rolfe decided to embark on a large-scale crochet project to keep her mind off the conflict and ensure she didn't worry too much about the possible fate of her family and friends.

She made up 70 individual panels, each one ten inches by 12 inches and crocheted in number 60 white crochet cotton. The panels were then joined together to make the seven feet by eight feet quilt.

When it is held up, the intricate pattern of a peacock with an outstretched tail is revealed.

It took a remarkable 17 years for Mrs Rolfe to complete her project, which is when it appeared in the local people for the first time in 1956.

The keen crafter eventually died and passed the quilt down to Yvonne's sister, who also sadly passed away. It was when Yvonne was going through some of her old belongings that she rediscovered the quilt and decided to show it off in all its glory.

After more than five decades, the piece still looks as good as new, although Yvonne said she wants to have it professionally cleaned soon to ensure it stays that way. She also plans to hand it down through her family when she is gone.

We love the idea of families having beautiful heirlooms like this, as it provides a real link to generations gone by. Of course, you might not want to attempt a quilt of such gargantuan size, but why not try a crocheted blanket this year for your loved ones to cherish?

Our wonderful picnic blanket pattern from the Rowan archive is free to download, will be useful for the months ahead - if we get another barbecue summer - and is sure to be treasured for many years after its completion.

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