Monday, October 15, 2007

Today we are announcing the running of a series of blogs about Helen Bond Carruthers, the name for vintage sellers and aficionados that brings to mind breathtakingly beautiful sweaters in all manners of colors, needlework and appliqué work.

We have had the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Carruthers’ grand niece, Jenifer Klier, whom is embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavor of her own. Jenifer has been a registered nurse for 24 years working mostly in Labor and Delivery. She has recently become a certified legal nurse consultant (assisting attorneys to win their cases) and is working hard to get her business off the ground. Certainly the apple did not fall far from the tree as Jenifer states of her grand aunt, Mrs. Carruthers, “She was an incredibly talented and dynamic woman, who made a name for herself in the days before it was “acceptable” for women to do that, and I still miss her, even though I am almost fifty years old. She was an extraordinary influence on my life in many ways.“

To start us out Jenifer has kindly provided us a little background information about her family. Some questions can’t be answered as the people who could answer them are no longer living, however, I do believe there will be valuable information provided that has not been discussed before.

Jenifer told us, “Helen was actually my grand-aunt (my father’s father’s sister) and the oldest of four children. The only one of these four siblings to have children of their own was my grandfather (James Edward Bond or “Jim Ed”), and he only had one child (James Edward Bond, Jr.—my father, and no, I am not kidding about the name). My dad is, literally an entire generation all by himself! So Helen, whom I always called “Auntie,” never had any children of her own, but had three great-nieces (me and my sisters!), upon whom she doted, spoiled and helped raise.”

Another point that Jenifer made was, “You need to understand that Auntie passed away when I was about twelve years old (and I am the oldest of the three of us). So, although we spent a large part of our time with her and have lots of memories, they are mostly from a child’s point of view. That said, I can tell you that I remember every step of the process by which her sweaters were made, but failed to appreciate it at the time it was going on. I had no idea of their popularity—then or now, until very recently. Of course a lot of local people had them, but I thought it was just because they were close, were her friends or more likely, didn’t really think much about it at all. I certainly didn’t know that celebrities were wearing them! I grew up in the sixties and seventies, when material possessions were scorned and so were shoes, and I most certainly wouldn’t have been caught dead in one of those sweaters! My mother had a few, but hardly ever wore them, and I never owned one until Auntie’s last remaining sibling (my Aunt Jessie) died and my sisters and I divided what was left. I don’t think I even imagined ever wearing one; we just couldn’t part with them for sentimental reasons. However, styles and tastes change (thank goodness!) and I have actually started to wear them now and then and always get many complements and am surprised at how many people know exactly what they are! There was even a local showing of many of her sweaters about a year ago, which was highly advertised and that I managed to miss, if you can believe it! (I was working twelve-hour night shifts at a hospital at the time; I’m an RN)."

Of course we are closing this installment with a beautiful sweater created by Helen Bond Carruthers just to whet your appetite for more information on this inspirational designer of wearable art. All the sweaters that will be featured in my blog are owned by the Carruthers family members. Check back often as we provide more never before known information about Ms. Carruthers’ work.


Lizzie said...

What a great article. Helen Bond Carruthers' sweaters are a favorite of mine, and it's a real treat "meeting" a member of her family!

Mary said...

ooo!love the article, your blog, Marge, and this incredible teal sweater!! off to read more...

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Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, United States
We are the owners of Mod Mary's Vintage on Etsy.