Colorful Knitted Slipper Socks for Children

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Identifier

2023.004

Title

Colorful Knitted Slipper Socks for Children

Creator

Anna Wirth Thompson

Date

mid 1960s

Format

Pair with soles: toe to heel, 9 1/2 inches (24.1 cm); heel to top of cuff, 3 1/8 inches (7.9 cm) Mended pair: toe to heel, 6 1/8 inches (15.5 cm); heel to top of cuff, 4 5/8 inches (11.7 cm)

Description

Baumgärtels clothing store on August-Bebel-Strasse in Schwarzenbach an der Saale, Germany, sold ready-made clothing and offered custom knitted garments. The Baumgärtel family lived above the shop. Anna Wirth Thompson fondly remembered a blue dress with a patterned circular yoke her mother ordered specially-made for her at Baumgärtels. She wore the dress on Christmas Eve, in 1941, as shown in one of the photos here. She was almost six years old. Anna's father was the teacher at the village school in Sorg, at the foot of the Fichtel Mountains in Franconia, Germany. The family lived in a home attached to the school building. In 1942, Anna fell ill with scarlet fever. Hers was a severe case, and she spent six weeks in hospital in the city of Hof. When the time finally came for her to return to Sorg, her mother brought the blue knitted dress for Anna to wear. She put it on, and it was shockingly short! Anna had grown taller during her stay at the hospital. After World War II, Anna, her brothers, and her widowed mother moved to Schwarzenbach an der Saale, to live with Anna's maternal grandmother. The house was across the street behind Baumgärtels. Eventually, Anna's mother had Baumgärtels knit her another dress, this time a wine-red one. By the 1960s, Anna had emigrated to the United States, lived and worked in New York City, and moved to Texas to marry Alan Thompson, and start a family. During the mid-1960s, when the Thompson family lived in Plainview, Texas, Anna's mother sent care packages from Germany, which often contained crewel embroidery yarns, pillow tops and tablecloths stamped for embroidery, and knitting yarn, as well as German chocolate and Advent calendars. One package had soft wool yarn samples from Baumgärtels, which they no longer needed. Anna used the sample yarns to knit slipper socks for her daughter Suzann and son Eric. The stranded color patterns in the socks were Anna's own design. Suzann's slipper socks were reinforced with soles crocheted from cut-up nylon stockings. Anna mended Eric's slipper socks more than once. In 2023, the house where Anna lived in Schwarzenbach is still there (though remodeled by later occupants), and the building that used to be Baumgärtels clothing store is a shoe store. Photos: House Slippers with soles crocheted from nylon stockings Smaller House Slippers, and smaller House Slippers shown with mending Anna W. Thompson with children, Suzann, Van, and Eric, in their Plainview, Texas, living room, c. 1968. Anna Wirth in her knitted dress from Baumgärtels on Christmas Eve, 1941. Pictured from left to right, Anna's brothers Christian and Paul-Albrecht, mother Gertrud Schödel Wirth, and Anna.

Provenance

Anna Wirth Thompson

Citation

suzannthompson, “Colorful Knitted Slipper Socks for Children,” Center for Knit and Crochet Digital Repository, accessed June 19, 2024, https://digital.centerforknitandcrochet.org/items/show/34993.

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