How many of you stitch things for others? Have you stitched ornaments or birth samplers? How about Christmas stockings or framed pieces to hang on a wall? Until I started my designing career and had plenty of models to hang around the house, I did not have much cross stitch with which to decorate our home…most everything I stitched, I gave away.
Judy left a comment on another post here that inspired me, when she shared that she makes ten ornaments a year for family members. We all know the time it takes to cross stitch and not to mention finish an ornament…how incredibly generous with her time she is! And I suspect most of you reading are just as generous as well. I thought a lot about her comment and hope her family members appreciate the beautiful gifts she has given them.
This led to thoughts of my mother because she is so very close to my heart and one of the most generous women I know. If you want to know more about her, I wrote several posts about her here and here.
My childhood memories of my mother recall a woman that was always very creative and craftsy. Even though she had four children, she managed to make some time for herself every week by going to a ceramics class. Looking back now, I’m so glad she allowed herself time to be creative. Mom never gave herself enough credit for her artistic talent. When I complimented her about it, she would just shrug her shoulders. I remember one time visiting with her about ten years ago…she showed me a picture she had drawn of a bird she saw up by their pond and wanted to know if I could identify it. I was shocked. It was a gorgeous pencil drawing of an American Woodcock…it was a perfect rendering of that bird. Once I started thinking about it, I did recall my mother doing little pencil sketches here and there – we might call them ‘doodles’ – but I remember they were always very well done.
When I learned how to do counted cross stitch in college, I shared it with Mom and she got excited about it too. I showed her what I knew (which wasn’t much) and she bought some supplies and started stitching. After I was married and still didn’t live far from home, maybe a little over an hour away, we would visit the local cross stitch store together when she came to visit me and buy more charts for our stashes. We even borrowed each other’s charts. She loved cross stitching and once she got started, made many gifts, mostly for her children but for others as well.
(One of the first things she stitched for me)
She always had big projects going for herself but the joke was that between us, we couldn’t seem to finish anything! No sooner than we started a project, something else caught our eye and we wanted to move on to that. She always finished things for others but rarely for herself. If I opened her cross stitch trunk now, I wonder how many unfinished pieces I would find?
(A little sachet, stitched with my birth month)
She loves Christmas and spent much of her stitching time on Christmas subjects. Because I love anything related to gingerbread men at Christmas time, she stitched this little gingerbread ornament for me. I love how she finished it with a canning lid…this was her creativity at work.
I also have quite the collection of anything Rudolph related. She sneakily took my Rudolph chart book and stitched this piece for me one Christmas. It is now at the center of my Rudolph display every year.
She has stitched towels and bread cloths for me…
…and sweet sentiments to hang on the wall…
This next picture she did for me was adapted by her to look like my first cat, Chessie.
I didn’t think much about it at the time but later, I realized some of the pieces she stitched at home had been adapted also. In one of the little samplers, she added our dog Dusty (he had passed away and she wanted to memorialize him) and her cat Scooter. When visiting her in my parents’ new home over Christmas, I noticed my sisters had hung up a small little piece she had done that featured Scooter. It finally sunk in to me that she had designed it. It was a small little piece but Scooter was in the center with a sweet little border all around it that she had designed. I guess she did it the old-fashioned way, too…probably just took needle and thread to fabric and made it up as she went along. I don’t think she paper-charted it and she doesn’t own a computer so it wasn’t done that way.
I wish things were different…I was thinking the other day that maybe we could even have been designing partners together. I think she would have loved it and I believe she would have had the talent to do it, even though she would never admit it. A mother and daughter designing team – it would have been a wonderful thing.
Unfortunately, my mother will never stitch again. She had a very serious stroke which has left her extremely disabled and brain-damaged. This is why I cherish every single one of the pieces she stitched because there won’t be any more. So for those of you who stitch for your children, never wonder if they appreciate it. Even if they don’t seem to right now, trust me…one day, they will.
Dearest Mom, you are never far apart from my heart…