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Haag, Rita / If you look back, it's not that far: memories of Mary Stella Sutter Haag recorded at age 103

Part I: Growing up in Perry,   pp. [2]-30 PDF (9.0 MB)

Page 17

Clothing and Laundry
Mary remembers dressing on cold winter mornings. "We wore
long underwear to the knees and then mother knitted stockings.
We wore flannel underwear, flannel petticoats. We never had
sweaters; we had heavy coats."
They didn't have their own sheep, so they bought raw wool.
"Mother had a spinning wheel. First we had to get the sheep
wool, then she washed it. Then she laid it out and dried it.
(She took) a piece of wool and sat there and held it and worked
on it (as she spun it). Then we kids had to roll it in balls.
And then she'd knit it. Usually in the evenings she'd knit,
until she went to bed. 'Course after they knew once, how to, it
went fast. They had four needles to work with. Now they usually
make with two. But they had four."
Mary explained that they used four needles in a stationary
manner, and a fifth one to start the row, hold the place and
start the next one. Then they'd pull that out. "I learned how,
I used to do some knitting. When we knitted the stockings, we
used to try and catch it always where the loop was. We had to do
that, otherwise you could pull the whole thing apart."
Many evening hours were passed with fancy needlework and
Mary learned some of these crafts. "Not tatting. I did some
embroidery and pillowcases and such. Rosina (Albert's sister)
did some tatting. It was lotta work and they had such fine
thread. They just tatted the lace and then sewed it on. The
pillowcases wore out before the tattting. This way they sewed it
on and then they could take it off. A lot of people, they
crocheted on the pillowcases though.
"The only time I wore slippers (dressy shoes) was when we
got married, otherwise we always had shoes. Many years we had
button shoes, then we went to laces. We went to Mt. Horeb or
sent for them. When we had our size once we could send for
them." Mary explained that sometimes children would say they
didn't fit quite right, and the parents would say, 'ya, that's
alright.' "We didn't know any different."

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