Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Uncle Abe's Underwear

 Today's Featured Mittens
Strawberries and Cream
      This time last year, I was coordinating a family history event under the direction  of  my 91-year-old Aunt Jean.  The purpose of the event was for living family members to get to know our ancestors who were born in the 1800s.  Our family has diaries, letters and photos from our foremothers and forefathers of that era so we had material to use for research.  Each participant chose one ancestor to research and present at our history exchange which we named "Jean"-eology" after Aunt Jean and her idea. 
Uncle Abe
       One of the stories that came out of the Jeaneology initiative involved Uncle Abe and knitting.  Uncle Abe,born in 1853, was my great-great uncle.  In this picture below, we estimate him to be about 10 or 12 so the photo was taken in about 1865.
Uncle Abe Holder
     The following excerpt from the memoir of my cousin Donna Tone, gives a glimpse into the life of the sea-going bachelor, Abraham Holder.
     "Uncle Abe knit his own grey long underwear. He knit his mittens as well but did not know how to put in the thumbs so wore them thumbless. My grandmother offered him mittens she had knit but he refused them. His own were fine, he said.
 (Perhaps Uncle Abe's knitted underwear looked like these!)

     One cold winter day there was a big commotion. I saw my grandfather rushing Uncle Abe in from outside, practically yelling, “Holder, your thumbs are frozen!” Uncle Abe denied it, doing a little jig in the kitchen to show he was fine. My grandfather immersed his hands in the wash basin, Uncle Abe protesting all the while. The next day he showed my grandfather he now had thumbs in his mittens. He had wrapped yarn thickly around his thumbs and that is what he did daily for the rest of the winter."   (Written by Donna Tone)
       I think of my Great-Uncle Abe when I make my thumbless/fingerless mittens for today's discriminating texter/smoker.  I began this new line of mittens this winter at the request of Cousin Carrie.  They became quite popular!  Perhaps I should name the collection after Uncle Abe somehow.  The Uncle Abe Collection.  Any suggestions??
SnowFlurries at Night

Evening in Paris
 Pebbles in the Stream
 Starry, Starry Night

 Bling Bling
Until Next Time......


  1. wow I am impressed that a man knitted his own underwear and mittens! HIs last name was Holder and you leave out the fingers so people can hold onto things so what about the Holder-Eh! line?

  2. You make a clever connection, Mary!