My Mom was cleaning out some stuff the other day and came across a few little needlework-related items that she handed over to me, which led me to thinking about different needlework projects Mom has done over the years.
Many folks are lucky enough to learn their needlework skills from their moms, grandmothers, aunts, etc. In my case, I’d say I learned the proclivity towards any kind of crafty-artsy stuff from Mom, but not necessarily specific needlework skills. My Mom, who turns 75 this weekend, was rather the artistic type when she was younger. She took up painting at some point in her eary married years, and even enjoyed showing her work at an art gallery at one point and selling it. She also taught art in a private school in the San Francisco Bay Area for a bit. She was dabbler in lots of things – sewing, painting, needlework, crochet, etc., and most of her kids have ended up being dabblers in one (or many) creative way or another. We dabble. We flit about. What can I say?
These are the pieces that instigated this post. They’re needlepoint versions of Pinkie and Blue Boy, famous paintings by Thomas Lawrence and Thomas Gainsborough, respectively. They’re not finished. In fact, I think Mom picked out the background stitching and never finished them.
I like them – they may be salvagable, though I don’t know what I would salvage them into, except framed pieces.
They’re worked in two sizes of stitches on Penelope canvas – the detailed faces are smaller stitches, and most of the rest of the figures are worked in larger stitches.
I always thought Blue Boy looked a bit jaunty.
I like his little shifty eyes. He’s definitely checking out Pinkie…
My Mom has always had a penchant for Things Pinkie-and-Blue-Boy. These statues were with us in every house we lived in – and we lived in Many Houses, all over the country!
Studying the Pinkie and Blue Boy canvases led me to another work of my Mom’s from her early married days:
I never knew a time when this wasn’t on a wall of our homes growing up. It was made from a stamped cross stitch kit Mom bought two years after she was married (so that would have been in 1959, making the piece exactly 50 years old).
Let’s see if I can get it right: the stamped fabric cost her 59 cents, and the thread for it cost 30 cents. An 89-cent project – 50 years old – not bad!
She paid $20 to have it framed four years later.
The year Mom got married, she made this baby quilt:
This was another kit – stamped embroidery, featuring Peter Rabbit and Company.
The piece features several stitches – mostly cross stitch, but also a good smattering of satin stitch, stem stitch and daisy stitch.
It’s funny to look at this now, when these types of vintage embroidery patterns have become pretty popular once again.
There are a couple stains on the Peter Rabbit section. One of these days, I’ll try to remove them!
Nice little watering can… The quilt top was pre-printed with the pattern when Mom bought the kit. She did the embroidery, then put the blanket together…. almost 52 years ago! She was expecting my oldest sister at that point.
I like the little bird…
…but the pink eyes are a bit freaky!
The cottontails are little cotton pom-poms that have held up really well for this many years and several babies’ usage!
Later on in life, Mom took up counted cross stitch, and vestiges of her efforts can still be seen around her house.
Mom has always liked birds.
This was one of my grandmother’s favorite prayers (my Mom’s mom), and subsequently one of Mom’s. Mom said she almost kicked herself when she finished the piece and realized she had not cut her fabric large enough for the type of framing she wanted. Still, this has been a nice piece in her house for the past 25 years or so.
Like Pinkie and Blue Boy, the St. Francis Prayer is a recurring theme in her house:
My grandmother gave my Mom and Dad this plaque (which is only about 4″ x 6″) as a gift many, many years ago – another thing I remember always being on a wall in our homes across the country.
Mom’s present needlework pursuits involve crochet only, and she makes some pretty nice doilies, tablecloths, and filet crocheted lace for church use.
Mom didn’t make this, but it was in among her needlework things – a souvenir from a one of her trips to Hong Kong many ye
She says it’s a baby carrier. Her escapades on this trip to Hong Kong were pretty funny. It was her first time abroad, and she had no idea how money exchanging actually worked. When she exchanged money for the first time, she couldn’t believe how much they gave her back! So she had fun shopping with it!
The embroidery is machine embroidery; I think it’s kind of neat! This has seen several appearances on kids in school plays, costumes, and so forth. I don’t think she ever actually used it as a baby carrier!
Mom’s needlework adventures also included afghan-making, quilting, sewing children’s clothes, making things for the house, and so forth. She’s always been a project woman! And it’s always heaps of fun, going through her old pattern books and needlework items!
Happy 75th, Mom!
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