Hereditary Stitches

My mom never sewed. I mean, she taught me how to reattach a button but honestly, my dad could sew better than her. My grandmas did though and I wish I had the opportunity to learn more from them before they died.

I don’t really remember my Grandma Doherty (nee. Smith/Schmidtke) sewing at all but I know she did and that she also did crochet. Unfortunately she died right around the time I started getting interested in that area of crafting.

My Grandma Heutmaker (nee. Szczech) was a wonderful seamstress and often gave the grandkids handmade pajamas for Christmas. She was who you took your jeans to get patched or your work pants to get hemmed. I honestly don’t think there was anything she couldn’t sew or mend. My Aunt Dianne inherited this talent but did I? Even though I didn’t have someone there to teach me?

After Grandma Heutmaker died, I inherited her handkerchiefs. Colorful and delicate, some were hand embroidered, these were very special to me. But I am not the kind of person to starch them and leave them folded in a box somewhere. I wanted the world to see them so I decided to make a quilt to hang in my daughter’s room.

I began by piecing together each tissue-thin handkerchief by hand. Here I am doing that on my bed. Side note: not sure if you believe in spirits showing up on film as orbs but check that out! Could that be my Grandma watching me work?

The process to quilt by hand is a slow one so this project took me years (of breaks and starting and stopping) to complete.

By the time I was finishing, my daughter was old enough to help a bit. I have to say, there were many times where I was sewing with tears in my eyes. Surly this is the perfect example of “full circle” – from grandmother to grand-daughter, and mother to daughter.

During the breaks I would work on other projects. During one such project, I was complaining to my mom about having to iron so much, “It takes twice as long to finish everything but, if I had one tip for a beginning sewer, it would be to never skip the ironing,” I said to her.

“That is just what your grandma used to say,” She told me. So, even without them being here, I grew up sewing just like them.

Eventually, I finished the quilt and it now hangs on our wall as a reminder of family. I’m excited to pass this hereditary stitching onto my daughter and she is so excited to learn.