I remember sewing my first pillow when I was about seven years old. A nice woman from our church was babysitting me and instead of leaving me to my own devices, she taught me how to sew. She patiently guided the needle in my hand in and out of that fuzzy yellow fabric. It was one of the proudest moments of my childhood, I had sewn my first pillow. It was truly ugly, but, oh, how I loved it.
My sweet mama taught me how to cross stitch. She patiently untied my tangled threads every. single. time. She filled my childhood with her handmade love, the giant Raggedy Ann doll being my favorite. She taught me how to first use a sewing machine, how to read a pattern, and she was the first to make me feel capable. My mom is always there to cheer me on even now that I’m all grown up. She is my biggest fan…and the most frequent “pinner” of my handmade wares!
I think back on those women who taught my home ec classes in high school. They received so little credit and often their classes were looked down upon as “less than.” But, I had no trouble shifting gears between an honors math course to a sewing class. The two worked in harmony in my mind. I learned to hold my head up high even when others around me felt that learning the domestic arts were beneath them.
One Christmas a few years into my marriage, my mother-in-law gave me my first sewing machine. It was such a thoughtful and sweet gift. What she meant as a practical gift for a new wife and mom, rekindled the spark of creativity that I hadn’t felt in years.
While my great-aunt Mae was not a seamstress, she was an artist. I will never no why she stopped drawing when she was a young woman. I will never get to tell her how beautiful her artwork is. Her drawings were hidden in an attic until 20 years after her death my mother found them in an envelope destined for the trash. Inside were pages of beautiful drawings done while she was in art school. No one ever knew she had even attended an art school. No one ever knew she was so talented. I’m blessed to be able to take her work and breathe new life into them, allowing people to enjoy them finally.
My grandmother, my dear Big Mama as we called her, was a true crafting force of nature. She was always creating despite her arthritic hands. I went to visit her in Asheville for what no one wanted to admit would be the last time. She was quickly dying of lung cancer. Before I left she passed on her love of quilting to me. I love all the quilting books and supplies she gave to me, but I cherish most her handwritten patterns. She sent me on my way with my arms full of fabric, and hole in my heart where she was no longer going to be. It thrills my soul to take a piece of her fabric incorporate it a dish towel that will be loved by someone on the other side of the country, or even the world.
I often tout myself as a one woman shop. But, truly, I’m not that at all. I humbly offer the outpourings of my creative soul only because I have a wealth of women who shaped me, inspired me, and believe in me.
Lindsey is a stay at home who enjoys the cacophony of children’s voices, the whir of the sewing machine, and a good bluegrass band. Her handmade lovelies can be found at her etsy shop, Piecefully Home and sometimes she gets to blog about her life.