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The Blessing of Creative Handwork

Granddaughter's Quilt

Granddaughter's Quilt

I just wanted to share what I’ve been working on. This is for our expected granddaughter, due in October.

My friend Belinda, who’s also my daughter-in-law’s mother, embroidered many of the squares (I did the Scottie, the bunnies, and part of the black sheep block, and she did the rest), and I designed and pieced the top. Next step is the back (I like a pieced back, as well) and the quilting. I think we’ll finish in time! We can hardly wait to welcome the new little one.

Homeschooling moms have a unique opportunity to pass along creative skills that their daughters can enjoy for many years. I remember sitting and doing embroidery, crochet, macrame, cross stitch, candlewicking, crewel, drawing, calligraphy, and other crafts each evening as we listened to Daddy read scripture. Some evenings, we also enjoyed listening to the CBS radio mystery theatre or music.

To this day, I love to keep my hands busy with a creative project while listening to something interesting. It’s a delight to turn raw fabric, yarn, thread, or paper and ink into something beautiful or useful. Helping your children learn to use their hands creatively can help develop imagination, creativity, and fine motor skills and will provide them with the means of giving unique and beautiful gifts to others, even on a very small budget.

Note: For those of you who enjoy vintage transfers, I recommend Pattern Bee for wonderful selection and service. I particularly wanted this pattern because my grandmother used the same one to embroider a lamb on a receiving blanket for me many years ago. You can see the same lamb at the bottom right corner of the quilt.

Embroidery transfers are a particularly fun and easy way to get started with embroidery. Choose something you like and iron it on to the fabric of your choice. A tightly-woven linen or cotton broadcloth or batiste works well. Choose embroidery floss in colors that please you, and start stitching. For most designs, you’ll use at least three basic stitches: outline or stem stitch, lazy daisy, and French knots. These aren’t hard to master, and you’ll find instructions with your transfers or in any embroidery book.* It’s a lot of fun!

*I just noticed that the owner of Pattern Bee has a new embroidery book coming out. It’s called Embroidery Craft: Stitching Through the Seasons, and it looks beautiful. You can see it at Turkey Feathers, Vicki’s blog. It just went on my wish list!

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4 Responses

  1. AprilS says:

    One of my favorite things about creative handiwork is the fact that they often become treasured items later. I am a quilt fanatic and was given one made by my great,great grandmother for a wedding present. This is my special treasure. I love showing it to people and anyone who stays over gets to enjoy it because I know my great,great grandmother would come down from Heaven and kick my butt if she knew it wasn’t being used!

    I also have a piece of embroidery work that my mother made and it is framed and hung in a very special place.

    For me, these are not only thoughtful gifts, but they have a little piece of someone’s heart in them as they spent so long making it.

  2. kimmie says:

    Oh what a beautiful quilt. I love the fabrics you chose too. I wish I was better at embroidery…it isn’t something I am particularly good at, but I love how it looks.

    Keep those hands busy my friend, you do beautiful creations.

    ((hug))
    Kimmie
    mama to 8
    one homemade and 7 adopted

  3. Nadene says:

    What a beautiful heirloom piece! My girls all love keeping busy hands, creating lovely items. It is a wonderful hobby.

    • I hope that all of you will post photos of some of your projects. I think it inspires others– at least it inspires me!

      One thing I enjoy doing is using a pattern or design that one of my grandmothers has used. My great-grandmother made a beautiful Lone Star quilt in reds on white, and I’ve pieced one in the brights that I enjoy. It’s just another way to remember them with love.

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