A Generational Thread


This week I watched my daughter play with a handmade doll that I played with as a kid. imageimageLater that night I tucked her in under an appliquéd quilt, dried the dishes with an embroidered hand towel, and admired the purple stained glass irises that hang in my kitchen window as I turned off the light.  Everywhere I look I see hours of creativity, expressed in love, and gifted down through the generations.  My sewing machine sits on the table this week.  I have been commissioned to make a memory quilt for my grandmother-the grandmother who sews fun. I’ve looked through the pictures that are auditioning for a sacred spot on the quilt, because you know, it will last forever.  I think about how I can’t not make things and I see how this desire to create has come to me honestly, through quilts on beds and rays of sun diverted through colored glass.

imageIf I had a dollar for every time I have been in a store with my mother and she has said, “oh, we can make that…”  imageWell, I would have a lot of money to spend at the craft store.  Now that I’m older, I see how much I have taken for granted.  The perfected skill has been earned by hand through the love of family and the charm of beauty.  But mostly through a desire to give.  More things are given than kept.  My son stretches and pulls his blue Spinning Stars quilt to fit over the back of a chair.  It is the same one that covered his daddy’s bed as a child, but more notably, it makes a suitable fort.  I can see back in time 35 years and there is still a small boy hiding beneath it.  Things are being taken for granted around here and it makes me happy.

My family has divided and branched out in different directions, as many families do.  Some things will never be again. image The grandmother who sewed timeless will not sew another.  She taught me some stitches and I won’t forget.  There is a quilt that is not, and has never been, taken for granted.  It doesn’t live in the basket with the others.  There are few things that have real value to me, but if something ever happened to the irises in my kitchen window, there would be tears.  The true worth of these things is not actually in the things, but in the thing-makers.  Families have living threads flowing through their members, connecting generations.  This week I sew in the same vein as my grandmother for whom pictures will be fused to fabric.  This week I take my cue from her and try what she does best, for someday it may be my mantel to take up.  This week I sew fun.



  1. Lovely thoughts. God gifts us with different talents that are carried on within families for generations. The memories of those tangible quilts and other handmade items that we love will be remembered for a generation or two and then the stories will be gone. But, the gifts that God gives a family are carried on to the end of time. I love how well you share your feelings about the talents that were passed on to you.


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