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.