Grandma’s Quilts

My Grandma Currie was a prolific maker of things. Sewing, knitting, quilting, jewelry, stained glass, pottery, watercolor, drawing…there wasn’t much she didn’t do. My dad and his sisters recently finished sorting out my grandparents’ estate and I was lucky enough to get three quilts. The first is my favorite. I absolutely adore this quilt. My Aunt Sue says “I remember the farm quilt vaguely. It was a model for creating a series of appliques when I was a young teen.” Therefore the quilt was my grandmother’s design (not a surprise) and probably from the early 70’s. My grandma used all sorts of different fabrics and embroidery stitches to give the blocks tons of personality. Some of the details were even terrycloth – probably cut from an old towel! The quilt has clearly been worn. My mom helped me to get out all of the discoloration and staining that was possible …


Grandma’s Sweater Elephants

Although I am very lucky to have several handmade keepsakes from my recently departed grandmother, I felt inspired to make one more. A few years ago, when I was visiting Grandma, she was sorting through one of her closets. In it was a sweater that she had knit that was quite moth-eaten. She decided it wasn’t worth repairing and was going to trash it. I thought that I’d like to give a shot at repairing it so I took it with me. Well, it turns out that those moth holes were so extensive I gave up on repairs, too. I wanted to use the textile for something special, so it sat in my scrap bin. Fast forward a few years and I knew just what to make from it. I decided to sew a stuffed animal for Evelyn out of the sweater and to make two matching animals to send to …


Baby’s Hope Chest Part 2

Though I knew that my mom had saved family heirlooms for me to give to my baby, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Adam’s mom had as well! She brought us a small bundle of clothes just after Evelyn’s birth and shared their histories. I think my favorite is this adorable green velvet outfit that Adam’s Grandmother Sheila sewed for him (entirely by hand) for his first Christmas outfit. I really hope it fits Evelyn come Christmas because she’s already too big for my first Christmas outfit! (I was a preemie and born in November so mine is tiny). Okay, so maybe my favorite is this jumpsuit that Adam’s mom sewed for him. I love how very 70’s it is and can’t wait for Evie to wear it! I might have to make myself a super 70’s jumpsuit to wear at the same time… Adam’s godmother Caro hand sewed a …


Baby Girl’s Hope Chest

I am so lucky to come from a line of strong, creative, skilled women who not took the time to hand make things for their families but also recognized the importance of saving them for future generations. My mom has kept a hope chest for me full of things from my childhood and she and I recently went through it to clean and sort things for my soon-to-be-here baby girl. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of what she saved here. I wanted to start by sharing the pieces that my Grandma Currie (my dad’s mom) knit for me because my G’ma passed away two weeks ago. She was a formidable knitter, crocheter and seamstress (which I talked about in my post about my grandmothers). Thinking of her legacy and being excited to share it with my baby has helped me to be at peace with her …


I Am A Granddaughter

I would not be who I am today without the love and influence of many inspiring, strong, supportive grandmothers. They may not be in my life any more, but they are always in my heart and often in my thoughts. When, as a young teenager, I decided I wanted to learn to sew myself, I went to visit my dad’s mother. G’ma was a formidable seamstress, having sewn all of her own clothes most of her life. In fact, “formidable” was quite an apt description of my grandmother. She was a 6-foot tall woman with a personality to match. She excelled at all she did (including growing her fruit garden, knitting stunning sweaters, canning preserves, making stained glass windows) and she didn’t take gruff from anyone. Growing up in the 1940’s, purchasing clothing off the rack simply wasn’t an option given her height, so she learned to sew. Together, we …


Nanny Sheila’s Sewing Tin

Nanny Sheila was Adam’s grandmother and, from the moment I met her almost 4 years ago, like a grandmother to me too. She died this week and I was given her sewing tin. Judi and Brian (Adam’s mom and uncle) can remember this tin from when they lived in England after their father’s death, making this tin about 50 years old. Nanny didn’t do much sewing later in life (although she showed me pictures of some very smart suits she sewed for herself as a young woman!), but she was sure to have the basics on hand as, having lived through WWII in England, she was firmly of the Make Do and Mend mindset. A large portion of the tin is spools of thread and a few assorted notions – the odd recycled zipper, rolled up bits of elastic, some stained bias tape – that I will put to use, …


Chambray Bruyere

Chambray bruyere has a nice lilt to it. And I think it makes for a pretty nice blouse. I adored this pattern the moment Deer & Doe released it and, given that I need to make myself some winter clothes, it seemed logical for it to jump to the top of the queue when I finally got my hands on a copy. I struggled to decide on the fabric for this blouse and had considered trying it in a nice plaid flannel (since I’m obsessed with plaid flannel right now), but I was worried that with a bulky flannel the bottom of the blouse wouldn’t have had the right kind of drape for the volume. I happened to have some chambray in my stash that was almost enough for this blouse, so rather than continue to search for the absolute perfect fabric, I went stashbusting. I didn’t have quite enough, …


Nanny’s 1940’s Silver Thimble

The night before I got married in Santa Barbara, Nanny Sheila, Adam’s grandmother, gave me a silver thimble to carry as my “something old”. The thimble was given to her in the 1940’s by Nanny Clara, the mother of her sister-in-law, Marjorie. Nanny Sheila and Marjorie were friends from the age of 7 years old. Nanny Clara gave Sheila the thimble because she loved to sew, so she thought it was quite fitting to pass it on to me! I used the thimble to hand sew all of the ties that I made for the groomsmen and fathers at our big wedding in Seattle. Amazingly, the thimble fit perfectly and was such a delight to use for a wedding project as every stitch held a bit of family history. Nanny Sheila taught me that every object that is pure silver (at least every object that is also old and from …


Pink Hand Knit Sweater in the Circle of Life

Sometimes the circle of life can be sad and scary. My dad’s parents have had declining faculties and abilities for a while now, and were recently moved into a care facility. My dad and his sisters have had to clean out my grandparents’ home. However, there are silver linings to all things. I have been to visit my grandparents in their facility and was happy to find them safe and cared for with a friendly, attentive staff. Another silver lining is that some junk from my grandparents’ home has turned into treasures by being passed to family members. I treasure this pink sweater. This sweater was hand knit and has a tag that reads “Fashioned by Belva Runyan.” Belva Runyan was my grandmother’s mother. I don’t know when she knit the sweater, but it was pre-1980 as she was no longer able to knit in the last years of her …


Grandma’s Handmade Lace

I recently was given a bag of sewing notions that belonged to my Grandma (my dad’s mom) who has gotten too old to sew. Among a pile of bias tape, old thread, a pleating board, some awfully 80’s patterns, elastic, and other functional sewing items were several gems – pieces of lace that I believe my Grandmother handmade.


Vintage Knitting Patterns

While in Santa Barbara over the holiday, Adam and I had some lovely quality time with his 92 year old Grandmother, Nanny She. One afternoon, Nanny She took us over to her younger friend Dorothy’s house (and by younger I mean in her late 80’s). Nanny She wanted Dorothy to see the knitting projects that I’m working on currently. Since we were talking about knitting, Dorothy got down a rack of knitting patterns and let me have any vintage patterns I could find since she knew she wouldn’t use them. Golly gee how lucky I am!