Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Looking through Mother’s chest of drawers the other day became quite an emotional experience for me, I came across her embroidery linens and threads, all carefully folded and wrapped in tissue paper. There were some pieces she had started to embroider, and a few that she hadn’t. As I sat there alone, looking at her work, I thought of the joy and enthusiasm she must have felt, as she looked forward to working on these items. Now, here I am, holding Mother’s unfinished work, looking at her threaded needle simply woven through the cloth, awaiting the next time she would pick it up. It saddens me so to realise that the ‘next time’ never came for her.

Embroidery was one of the many things Mother taught me as a child and it surprised me to recall that it must be over thirty years since I have done any. Yes, I decided, I would select a piece that she hadn’t started and have a go. It took a little time to work out the stitches, I practised on a spare bit of cloth and soon it began to come back to me. I also had the good fortune to find in a local charity shop a book on embroidery stitches. It was very dusty and looked rather tatty, but nothing that a good wipe over and a few minutes of attention wouldn’t fix. It has proved to be a great help as well as showing lots of new stitches that I’m looking forward to trying out.

The linen I’d chosen was I think, intended to by used as a tray cloth, but now it is finished, I have backed it and made it into a little pillow.
I have really enjoyed doing this needle work and it has spurred me on to do more. However, I will have to select another new piece from Mother’s pack as I just can't bring myself to remove her needles yet.
(You can click on pictures to enlarge)


Alice said...

Your little pillow is so pretty, Marion. You've mastered a lot of embroidery stitches in a very short time. I hope you continue with these projects during the coming winter months.

Don't feel sad about your mother's unfinished work. What a lovely thing it would be if you could bring yourself to finish something that she began with such love and care. Just think, if you leave unfinished pieces of loved embroidery, wouldn't you like to know that your daughter might finish them, continuing the pastime, one generation to another?

I can understand that you miss your mother so much, but I'm sure she would be thrilled to know that you have rekindled the desire to create beauty in the way that she taught you so long ago. Enjoy the closeness and the pleasure of working 'together' on these treasured pieces.

Anonymous said...

Marion, how lovely to have made this connection with your Mother, when you looked through her chest of drawers, and found her needlework.. Her skills live on through you, and when you do pick up her needle, it will be her hand that guides yours.Your finished piece is testamony to that, it is so pretty.

Carol said...

Dear Marion this is truly beautiful and I'm sure your Mum would be very touched and happy if she could see that you have finished it for her! xox

Sue said...

This was such a touching post. How wonderful that you finished the beautiful pillow cover!
Your Mom is truly smiling down at you!

Britt-Arnhild said...

Wonderful old English cottage. And what a treasure to have inherited, both her works and the skills to embroider. Good luck with more projects.

Tammy said...

that is just beautiful work and I'm sure she was over your shoulder smiling that you took it up!

HORIZON said...

I cannot imagine not having my mum around. My mum lost her mother when she was just 26years old- she has always felt very sad about that and sometimes cries. l am called after my grandmother and mum says we are very similar in nature.
My grandmother was a howdy (midwife) and a seamstress- mum says she never had any clothing bought for her- my gran made it all, coats, rugs, everything!
This was a lovely post to read tonight and l can feel how much it meant for you to do the embroidery.
Goodnight and take care Lady Marion,

It's a FLIP-FLOP World said...

Marion, I always love it when you post!! I can understand your feelings!! Like Kyboo gal said..I bet she was looking over your shoulder and happy about what you did. What a feeling holding her things and seeing that needle already threaded just for you!! Happy embrodiering!! Sandy

It's a FLIP-FLOP World said...

Marion, I always love it when you post!! I can understand your feelings!! Like Kyboo gal said..I bet she was looking over your shoulder and happy about what you did. What a feeling holding her things and seeing that needle already threaded just for you!! Happy embrodiering!! Sandy

Annabelle said...

Oh my God Marion....What beautiful and lovely work. I would love to have such a pillow has this! You have certainly learnt from your mother well and you behold her love within you when you can just pick up an embroidery project and create such a masterpiece. I really do think it’s just lovely.
My thirteen year old daughter Emma has done a few embroidery pieces without ever reading a book. My grandmother from Naples did beautiful work for the church alters and she was shown by her mom. I guess it runs in the family but it skipped a I would love to do some in the future.... amongst a number of other projects.
I believe like Alice said that it would be grand to continue her unfinished work and hopefully continue on the loved tradition of embroidering….a connector to our past and present generations. Again, I can't say how much your piece has touched me....Beautiful work Marion.


Lisa (oceandreamer) said...

oh Marion, what a treasure to behold. I don't think I'd remove the needle or finish her project either. Maybe you could just frame it in glass as is....the hands of the mother as it were. Your embroidered pillow is beautiful and for someone not having done it for so long, it's great work. I used to embroider a LOT but now I use my needle and threads for other projects, once in awhile incorporating the stitches in. Keep going. It's so self satisfying and relaxing at the same time.....the moments tick away as each pass of the thread creates a new picture!!

Diana said...

What a lovely pillow it turned out to be. Your mum would have been proud of you and it. Well done. I love cross stitching myself.

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

What a lovely post and such a pretty little pillow you did up. Your Mum was smiling down from Heaven I think as you looked through her things. I love embroidery but have never learned the fancier stitches. Maybe I can make that a winter project this year.


Jeanette said...

hi I have just come over just browsing a few blogs
The pillow case is just gorgious im sure your mum is looking over your shoulder and would be delighted to think your finishing her work. take care love what ive read i will return
i also have done a few pieces of embroidery one day i will post them

homemakersheart said...

Wow!How beautiful the pillow case is. What a warm feeling that must be to know your Mother passed on such an art to you, and you are having a go at it. I look forward to seeing the finished product, and the progress as you go..if you don't mind.


Catherine said...

What a beautiful post and tribute to your mother! I am rather new to your blog and I have really enjoyed your past posts. I love Lisa's idea in framing the piece with the needles still in place.

I know how hard it is to go through your mother's things. My mother, although has not passed away, was diagnosed with Alzheimers several years ago. She had several strokes and she lived with me for some time before I was unable to care for her. The hardest part was going through her things...still hoping she would make a come back...feeling guilty as I went through everything and deciding what to keep and what to donate because I kept thinking what if she did recover...what would she think?!

The pillow and the other pieces of your mother's are truly priceless treasures...thank you so much for sharing this part of your life.

Love and God's Blessings,

Hannele said...

Nice pillow, your mother would like it.

Kerri said...

How lovely to rekindle your desire to do cross stitch through your dear mother's unfinished works! This pillow is so sweet Marion. Amazing how it comes back to you, isn't it? I haven't done any in several years either. Perhaps I will this winter....
You'll think of your mom every time you see that lovely pillow now :) You've done a beautiful job!
I hope and pray you're doing well healthwise xox

Anonymous said...


We too live in an old police house, ours was owned by North Yorkshire Police and was built in 1956, the same year as me!
We have lived here for 15 years and I love village life.

I loved your embroidery!
My mum tried to teach me how to knit, but I never caught on. Instead I painted and enjoyed handwriting, which now I use regularly in the wedding stationery I design, oh and I was a primary school teacher for 25 years too.

A lovely blog, I will come over again.

Are you anywhere near
SA19 9TG
My friend is moving there this week, to take over a horse sanctuary.

Do let me know, if you have a minute.


Rosie said...

What a lovely embroidery,I do dabble a bit, and also have several items that my Mother-in Law did,and buy from ebay,they have some wonderful embroidered items for sale.