Tuesday, June 3

Embroidering the Next Generation

Watching my oldest experiment with her first embroidery project conjured up many memories from my childhood. I remember being aw stuck by the colorful floss, my grandma's gold stork scissors, and the quiet contentment that I witnessed as a project was being worked. Here is part 1 of the route that embroidery has made it's way to my daughter:

My maternal Grandma always had an embroidery project going. More often than not it was pillowcases. Millions and millions of pillowcases. It was her that I watched embroider. I can picture her sewing box, thimbles, and of course her stork scissors. My grandma's embroidery spanned her lifetime ~ childhood into her 80s. She embroidered on 100% white cotton pillowcases that were stamped with a design, usually a floral. She picked unfinished ones up at garage sales, thrift stores or was given them by friends. My Grandma made a pair of pillow cases for all of her children and grandchildren. I received a pair with satin stitched orange flowers and a multitude of French knots.


As a child the majority of pillowcases we used were hand embroidered. Most of them were done by my Grandma or by her mother (my Great Grandma). I remember learning how to properly iron and fold a pillowcase - in half, then half again, lastly folded in thirds with the design in the center. Ironing the embroidery was a no-no as it accelerated the wear of the floss. Even today I fold all pillowcases, embroidered or not, like this.

As a child my mom earned a much coveted toy horse by embroidering a set of pillowcases. After hearing that story my sister and I wanted to do something similar. We made the deal with my mom and got to stitching. This time the prize was a doll each. I did butterflies with purple variegated thread, using mostly an outline stitch. Emily's were pink daisies done with a lazy daisy stitch. Maybe someday my girls will follow suit.

There is more to my embroidering past - my Grandmother. She will get her own post soon.

6 comments:

Woven Chains said...

Katy, your story of your Grandma and how she influenced you brought tears to my eyes. It made me think of my own Grammy and her crocheting and my husbands mom and her love of sewing and knitting and how she is sharing that with my daughter. Crafting is something that ties families together in very powerful ways.

A really great book to read about this is "The Keeping Quilt" by Patricia Polacco -- its the story of a quilt that moves through a family and all the memories it makes.

Lisa said...

What wonderful memories you have and will pass down to your girls. That is very special and you did a great job putting it into words.

Emily & Jeff said...

My finished pillowcase awarded me with the antique doll named Yvonne! :) What was your doll's name?

Jessica said...

I have a very similiar crafting/baking relationship with my grandmother, too. It is nice to hear about other people who have similiar relationships. I really want to get into embroidery this summer. In fact, the other day I picked up embroidery floss from my grandma in hopes of getting started.

The McG Family said...

I love hearing about the crafty past of your family. I actually just got done taking an embroidered cushion cover done by my great-grandmother in to get framed. I'm so happy when I hear that craftiness is passed down through generations in other families too!

Anandi said...

Wow, those pillowcases are just gorgeous!! And I love the idea of *using* a family heirloom everyday.

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