Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3KCBWDAY3: Your Knitting or Crochet Hero

This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week:

Introduction to the topic:

Your Knitting or Crochet Hero: Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger.(...)

Another perfect topic. In fact, this topic is so important to me that in the past I have already blogged about my personal Crochet Hero twice to introduce you to my Grandma and her crochet (Part 1 - Part 2)


If you go back to those posts, you'll find lots of pictures of her work and just a little bit about my Grandma as a person. Today let's do it like this: I tell you more about my Grandma's (non-crochet) life and show you her work once again in mosaic-form.


My grandma was born as Maria Winkler in Neu Ullersdorf in 1912. The region where she was born is part of the Czech Republic, but at that time (long before the two World Wars) it had been inhabited mainly by Germans. In the early 1930s she married my grandfather, Franz Langer. Together they lived in Spornhau (Ostruzná) on a farm that had belonged to my grandfather's family, they even had their own stone quarry on their property. In Spornhau my grandparents had five children: one daughter and four sons, one of them was my father (*1944), he was the youngest one until then.

My grandparents with their seven children. My father is the one standing in the 2nd row right in the middle behind his parents

My grandfather Franz didn't fight in World War II, because he was one of the farmers who stayed behind to take care of the farms of the men who went to war. After the end of the war (1945), the German families in that area were expropriated and driven away from their homes, and my grandparents had to leave everything they couldn't carry behind. The legend goes that my grandfather buried their dishes and crystal glasses in the garden and the barn, hoping they might come back home one day. They never did.

The family came to Northern Bavaria and lived in an old school building in Thailenhofen for a few years. There they had two more children, another son and another daughter. My grandfather worked for a demolition squad that defused bombs and ammunition of the war. The job was well paid, so in 1955, my grandparents were able to build a new house in Ellingen, a small town not far from Thailenhofen. In their new home, my grandma had another girl, but the baby died the same day. Her name was Barbara and I was named after her. Maybe I've also inherited the crochet genes that would have been hers, who knows?

my Grandma at home in Ellingen

Home Decor

When I asked my father what hobbies (other than crochet) my grandma had, he said gardening and picking hops. I've learned that my grandma loved to work at the neighbours' farm - not for free, though: she got manure for her garden and a sack of potatoes in return ;)

my grandma and my father

Over the years, "the children" moved out and started their own families. My father met my mother and moved to k-town, where she was born and where we still live today. My aunt Traudi (I've blogged about her crochet before as well) stayed with her parents and still lives in the house in Ellingen.


In 1983, my grandfather died. I can't remember much about him, because I was only four years old back then. My grandma Maria died in her sleep in 1994, one day before Christmas Eve.
my grandparents, the way I remember them

Now that was a lot of family talk, wasn't it? I've enjoyed this little detour today, even though I think I've missed the topic a little bit. For more crochet talk about "my crochet hero", please visit my earlier posts here and here.

If you'd like to meet more knitting and crochet heroes, start a google search with today's unique code: 3KCBWDAY3

Thanks for visiting k-town today,


  1. This is a lovely story, I'm moved by it. I don't have family that has a passion for knitting or crochet, although they know how to do it. I love the projects she made, the toys are so cute!

  2. What a really lovely post. I'm planning to blog about my family too so this was lovely to read. Laura x (

  3. I know that both of my grandmothers (one British, one German) knit and crocheted, because I have inherited all of their needles and crochet hooks, but I've never seen any of their finished items - I wish I could!

    Really enjoyed your post with its old family photos. :-)

  4. Thank you for this lovely story! I have my 'crochet' bug from my grandmother. She was really good at crochet and made the finest table cloths and afghans and crocheted so many softies for charity. It's just so sad that I didn't have any interest in crochet while she was still alive, but that I only got hooked last year. I would've loved just to sit with her and crocheting together, really!

  5. What a lovely story... ! great idea Barbara !

  6. Fascinating, and such a great set of family pics too. It's so nice that your crochet link is a family one!

    B x

  7. Thank you for sharing your grandmother with us. Her crochet is gorgeous. It's wonderful that you have this connection to her.

  8. I love hearing stories about your grandmother. It is amazing how much impact our elders can have on us, even when we didn't get to spend much time with them.

  9. Beautiful story! My knitting and crochet "heroes" is my mom and my grandmother as well :)

  10. Thanks for sharing such rich family history. I loved all of the photos as well (and aren't you glad you actually have them?!!!), especially the one of your grandmother and your father, as well as the one of your entire grandmother's family. How super!

  11. Very touching story of your family. That is what makes crochet so much more special, not just a hobby but an heirloom. Wonderful pictures that are a flashback to the past.
    Lovely post!
    Ana BC

  12. I loved reading this - it's so nice to see previous generations' handwork and to know a little bit about the people who made them - history coming alive in such an intimate way. Thank you so much for sharing this glimpse into your grandparents' lives.

  13. I've really enjoyed your spin on today's post, and what a wonderful family story!!

  14. I really enjoyed reading your post today, isn't it an amazing legacy your grandparents have left behind! What a story those photos have to tell.

  15. An amazing story, Barbara.
    Thanks for sharing your photos too.

  16. It was lovely to learn about your ohana history. Love the classic photos. Your grandmother's crochet was terrific. It's really awesome to see how you're inspired by her.

  17. This was one of the sweetest hero posts I've read today. The pictures were wonderful. I love how you carry a sense of family in your crochet. :)

  18. que bueno que disfruta cada cosa de tus familias ahora que el mundo esta todo revuelto es maravilloso leer esas historias y saber que esta muy inspirada en los ganchillo

  19. Love the old photo's, they're so nostalgic. My Irish grandparents also had 7 children.
    For mothers day I have adhered a photograph of my mom's mother & father to a coffee mug and inside I put in it a replacement cell phone Tracfone LG500G qwerty keyboard phone, as her's drowned in the washing machine a few weeks ago. Luckily it only cost her $20 and $7/month for service. Your Grannies crochet items are very precious, sentimental heirlooms, you are so fortunate to have such rich treasures worth more than gold.

  20. I really enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing a part of your family history. And she's definitely a crochet hero! :-) I love how knitting/crochet/fiber arts "strings" us together with our ancestors.

  21. l have only this moment found your blog.. Love it.. l do enjoy stories of family history.Yours is so interesting..l will definately have you in my favorite folder & come in & talk to you Barbara from now on..
    ( & yr Dad is ONE year younger than me..)
    Best Wishes, Hahnsmum..Australia..

  22. Liebe Barbara, ich finde es großartig, dass Du über deine Familie schreibst. Die Bilder sind toll und Du findest so schöne Worte, man spürt deine Liebe. Die Idee ist einfach toll, ich lasse mich gern inspirieren, weil ich es wichtig finde. Und das nicht, weil ich selbst eine dreifache Oma bin, sondern weil ich auch eine tolle Oma hatte, über die zu schreiben es sich lohnen müsste. Dein Blog ist in meinen Favoriten, da gehört er auch hin, und das ist gut so! GLG Anne


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