If you have read any of the previous posts, you know that I love family history. I'll admit to being a genealogy junkie. I can lose an entire day by just sitting down at the computer with my morning coffee and saying to myself, "I wonder if there's anything new on Ancestry." Pooof .... it's dinnertime! The dog is whining, the dust bunnies have multiplied, I've forgotten to eat (not a bad thing) and I'm still in my jammies. Holy crap, batman!
But what you don't know is that I have another passion and that is stitching. Stitching of any kind ... knitting, quilting, cross stitch, crocheting. You name it. If it involves a stitch, I'm game. My mother taught me to sew when I was in junior high school. At that time, my older sister was taking home ec in high school and Mom had traded in her old treadle machine for a new electric model.
Mom was an excellent seamstress when she had time; but since her time was limited, she taught her daughters to sew. Of course, I didn't realize at the time what a wonderful gift it truly was until I was blessed with a daughter who grew to be 6' tall. Believe me I used every skill she ever taught in lengthening skirts, dresses, pants. I even made her wedding dress as she was not only long-legged, but also had a long torso. I became a bit suicidal at that point and haven't done much sewing since.
Another gift my mother chose to pass on was how to crochet and embroider. Something to do on a cold winter night or a rainy afternoon. I must have been fairly young because I don't remember doing either while in high school. After I left home, I taught myself to quilt and knit. Do you remember those little green Coats & Clark books you bought at the dime store? That's where I learned to knit. Wonder what ever happened to mine?
To get back to the main theme of today's blog, I decided to combine my love of genealogy with my love of old samplers and stitching. I found a wonderful pattern called "Mother's Tree" by Lavender & Lace. This was exactly what I needed to sew an heirloom gift for my only granddaughter. The pattern records all women in a direct line.
Several years of genealogy research were completed before I even began the stitching. In the end, I was unable to find the birth date for Anna Maria Conter Mueller. German church records were not available for her village in that time frame, which I estimated to be around 1750. I had hoped to perhaps find a death date that might give me a clue; but with the name Anna Mueller, I might as well have been looking for John Smith. I began to stitch from the bottom up, hoping to find the missing data before I reached the space for her information, but no such luck. I decided it was best to finish it while I was able to do so. Sometimes life gets in the way and I would have hated to see it end up unfinished and stuffed in a drawer.
This week I brought it home from the frame shop. It felt like I had given birth! It represents many years of my life. It will hang in my home until my granddaughter is old enough to have her own home. Since she's edging towards 15, it will be several years but hope to still be around to see it hung on her wall. If not, she will have all my love and a bit of her family history wrapped up in thousands of stitches. Perhaps it will be passed on. I asked the framer to leave a bit of extra material tucked away at the bottom in hopes that maybe a future generation will be able to add a name if so desired.
Oh, did I mention that I never want to see DMC color 934 every again?
The stitching gene passed over my only daughter, but I taught my granddaughter, Reghan, to knit and cross stitch when she came to my house after school. Of course, she's now a busy teenager with many school and sports activities, and stitching is far down her list. But, I have faith that she will pick it up again someday just as I did.
Next up will be a sampler for my only grandson based totally on his surname. Now if I could just pass on the genealogy gene .....
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
My mother remembers it sitting in the corner of her grandmother's dining room. It was always open and had a sewing project in progress laying on top.
We believe the table originated in Wisconsin and made the move to Iowa along with the rest of the family in 1892. Possibly it was a wedding present or perhaps a gift from her husband.
The table only measures 26 inches tall. Katherine was a tiny woman barely 5' tall, so it was probably just the right size for her use. Was the table made especially for her? We don't know at this time.
I'm also a seamstress like Katherine, but my new modern sewing/craft table measures 36 inches tall which is perfect for my 5'6" frame. When I stand at Katherine's table, I feel her presence and realize how small she was and to think she gave birth and raised 11 children! Her last child was born just 6 months before her first grandchild.
This picture of Kate was taken about 1906. She would have been about 44 years old. Her youngest child was about 4 years old and her oldest son was 28.
Shortly after Katherine's death, Tillie, her husband and younger children moved to California. The old sewing table was packed up and made the long trip over the mountains far away from it's Midwest origins. When Tillie died in 1984, the table was given to her daughter, Julia, who is my mother. Mom packed up the old table in California and drove it back over the mountains to Iowa.