Thank you so much to all of you who commented or emailed me with stories of learning from mothers and grandmothers and sewing/crafting with children and grandchildren. From rearranging pins in pincushions and salvaging scraps to sewing Barbie clothes and making first quilts, our memories are dear to our hearts. And I guess it's only fair that I share just a little bit more about my own beautiful and talented mother.
My mother had three children within three years and one day. I was the middle child and oldest girl, which I think explains a lot about me, but that's not part of today's story. My mother was a talented seamstress and sewed almost all of the school dresses my sister and I were proud to wear. Even before my sister and I would scavenge for scraps to make primitive dresses for our Barbies, we enjoyed going along when our mother went fabric shopping.
My sister and I would sit in the back of the station wagon (before anyone thought that children might be safer in seatbelts) and pretend to be mothers with babies of our own. We often overheard our mother talking with her mother on the phone or in person, and we tried to emulate their conversations. My grandparents were friends with couples with the unlikely names of Otto and Alvie and Cobby and Frannie, and my sister and I would have pretend conversations where we would ask each other about and catch each other up on the latest activities of these couples (as if they were our friends) while we fussed over our baby dolls in the back seat. At the fabric store we would walk around chatting with a grown-up air and rub the fabric between our fingers as my mother did. My favorite part of the fabric store was the area with little embroidery kits. I was always very interested in needlework (because it was so grown-up, but seemed more accessible to a child) and sometimes my mother would buy me a little project to work on. Perhaps a small bouquet of flowers stamped on some gauzy linen and some brightly colored embroidery floss. To this day it makes me happy just thinking about those small treasures.
The little red machine pictured above and seen on my very first blog post is my first sewing machine. I loved using it and so did my Molly. Maybe one day a grandchild will sew on it, too. In the meantime, I am reminded by my first post that I dedicated this blog to the memory of my mother, so I think it's about time to add that to the sidebar. I'll work on that.
What is a good age to start a child on sewing or quilting? If you think preschool is too young, then read Kate Conklin's post, Not too bad for a three-year-old, for a great way to let even a very young child get in on the design process. This is Sarah trying out the quilt she helped make for her new baby cousin:
In between reminiscing and spreading the love, I have managed to get a little sewing in:
I completed a belated bee block in the style of Gwen Marston from Liberated Quiltmaking II;
I worked on several more cross blocks;
and I completed several more blocks for the City Park quilt. Ahh, the beauty of simplicity.
I have a few too many projects going on at the same time right now (business as usual), so it sometimes feels like I'm working hard yet standing still. But I'm catching up....
With wishes, true and kind -- Joan