linens

towel

My mom has been cleaning out closets at her house lately, and yesterday she stopped by my house (we live a mile away from each other) with these embroidered linens, made by my great-grandmother and/or one of my mom’s great aunts (my mom doesn’t remember exactly, but thinks that my aunt might, so I have to remember to ask her when she comes down here in September.)

embroidery

embroidery

embroidery

(click on the photos to make them larger and see the detail.)

I love things like this because they help make me make sense. My grandmother, who died when I was 12, taught me how to sew. She was an amazing seamstress who, among other things, sewed and hand-beaded my mom’s wedding dress. Somewhere I have a box of doll clothes that she and I sewed together, little dresses and aprons and bloomers. All of the women in my mom’s family were great seamstresses, and the pile of quilts and linens at my mom’s house is a testament to their skill.

As far as I know, I’m the only member of my generation in the family who has continued to do any of this, and while I enjoy it, my skill is just not at the same level. But all of these things make the “crafting” that I do into something a little more than it is, not just the desire to make beautiful things, but also a connection with family who for the most part I never met. So bit by bit I slowly get better. And maybe one day my great grand-daughter will be handed something that I made and think “Yes, now I see where this part of me comes from.”

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4 thoughts on “linens

  1. I sewed my first dress in 3rd grade, a lovely orange calico print, ric rac trim and I felt so jazzy in that dress. Sewing is such a great craft – the key is to have the iron on and iron each seam as you go.
    Also, change the needle often.
    Sew away!

  2. i also come from a long line of sewing females and i am also the only one carrying on the tradition. you express the connection to a personal tradition and history beautifully. i know just what you mean.

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