Sunday, April 27, 2008

Learning to Embroider

I'm in the throws of spring cleaning, so I was happy to find this piece of embroidery. It give me an excuse to stop work and come type this entry.

I was so anxious to share it with you, I didn't even press it. Actually I'll give any excuse not to iron!

It is one of my first embroidery pieces that I did with my Grandmother, Doris Marvel. She taught my sister and me to sew back in the 1960s and early 70s. As you can see by the stitches, I had a lot to learn.

The piece is unfinished and badly stained in one corner. I'm not sure what happened to the rest of my early handwork. I was particularly fond of her hot iron transfers of dancing vegetables. I remember stitching a lot of them.

Even if the finished embroidery isn't so good, the memories of learning to stitch with Grandma are. In fact, my very last meeting with my grandmother was three days before she died. By then I had moved on to hand appliqué and wasn't doing a lot of embroidery. I went to visit her, but knew that she wouldn't be able to hold a conversation. I brought my stitching along to pass the time while I sat with her.

She didn't know who I was, but she noticed that I wasn't using a thimble. She let me have it! "A thimble is important to protect you and your work"... and so on. It was our last conversation, but I am glad we had that connection.

I also found this early picture of her. It isn't the Grandmother I remember, but she does look good. She hated to be photographed, so finding pictures of her is not easy.

Here is a picture of her from the 70s. This is how she looked when she was teaching me to sew.

If you want to embroider with your children or grandchildren, there are some great beginner kits now available. They start out with a simple running stitch, much easier than the stem stitch that I was butchering in the piece above. Click here to see some of the kits.

But most importantly, keep stitchin!

1 comment:

susan said...

i love blogging, my fav list is growing. i asked several times who all had blogs but i think you are the first to share. sometimes i laugh so hard when i read some, and at times there is a tear or two. and there are some good tutorials too. that is great about your grandma teaching you to embroier. i am a self taught stitcher but i had lots of good times with both my grannies.