Monday, January 19, 2009

Family Traditions

I come by my love for handcrafts naturally. Many of my ancestors have stitched, knitted, crocheted, and lovingly turned cloth or yarn into beautiful finished goods.

My great grandmother, (on my mom’s side) was born Marguerite Della Dutault . She worked as a milliner, designing and stitching hats in the late 1800’s. This was a period in time when all women wore hats, and in the upper classes, hats could be changed two or three times daily, dependent upon the occasion and time of day,

My grandmother on my mother’s side was born Marie Le Doux. She was born in the United States, but moved to, and married in Canada. My memories of her include stitching together, knitting, embroidery and many hours of talking. In her later years, she worked often as a seamstress, and I can remember visiting her and watching the various others in her senior development come to her for hems and alterations. She continued this work well into her nineties. I used to sit and smile as I watched another satisfied customer leave, with a new hem in his or her pants, although not always straight. Even though her work at that age was not always perfect, the sight of the people she sewed for was about on the same par, so everyone was happy.

I remember going to Grandma’s once, when she was in her early nineties, and she taught me how to hand-quilt. We sat there for hours, each quilting on our own project, and Grandma relayed her entire life story as we sat and stitched for three days. How I wish I had the presence of mind to have had a tape recorder. Her life was so fascinating. Grandma died at the fine age of 99, and I plan to follow her lead, stitching, quilting, knitting, and keeping busy until my fingers can work no further.

My grandma on my father’s side was born Martha Eggert. She also stitched and sewed most of her life. With seven children to raise, she was kept busy and her sewing machine was constantly humming. On this side of the family, there are 25 grandchildren, and I am fortunate to have been the one who recieved Grandma’s treadle sewing machine. I also was given her box of sewing haberdashery. How fun it has been to look through the treasures, and soon, I will get a shadow box completed, with little parts of both grandmothers in it.


MAURO said...

Hi Susan,
this is a very, very nice story. At the same way I remember the life of my grandmother on my father’s side.
My best to you.

SusanLazear said...

Grazie Mauro