Wednesday 29 February 2012

Guest Post - What memories are made of

Today I am hosting a guest post from Debbie who blogs at An Organised Mess. Her post was inspired by my own blog post about my Mum's patchwork quilt

As a child, I was embarrassed to go to school wearing hand made dresses and hand knitted cardigans. The checks on my gingham dress were always different, my cardigans a different shade of red. I never liked being different.

But, I always remember how excited my mum was when my dad gave her a knitting machine for Christmas. I remember how much my mum endeavoured to teach me to use the childrens sewing machine Father Christmas had gifted me. I remember all the night classes my mum did: lace making; decoupage, cross stitch, embroidery, card making- the list is endless.

I was an ungrateful child, as I would imagine many are.

I went for coffee with my mum this week, and as we looked over a Cardiff, she recalled how the view used to be a street, with a factory at the end, and how as a teenager she had been encouraged to work in it, because if you liked sewing that was where you worked. But her mum had discouraged this; she didn’t want her daughter working in a factory.

I guess times haven’t really changed.

But now, as a parent, I am sorry I didn’t pay more attention to the lessons my mum attempted to teach me, from knitting, to cross stitch, darning and sewing. These are not skills I can claim to have.

My mum has gifted me and my children with the most gorgeous gifts, homemade cards, knitted shawls, patchwork quilts; our house is dotted with things she has made for us. Each of my children has a shawl that my mum slaved over. A shawl that every person we met when they were born admired. They are each different, playing to individuality, yet there to be cherished.

My children have many knitted tops, and they are guaranteed to receive comments, about how people don’t knit anymore, but how much nicer hand knit looks on babies.

At home, rooms are scattered with mementoes: A Humphrey’s Corner sampler displaying Seren’s birth date and weight, a ‘Pears’ decoupage in the bathroom, cross stitched book marks, bunting with the boys names on above their cots.

The patchwork quilt, gifted for the millennium. Seren’s quilt, with farm animals and touchy-feely buttons, the first request at signs of illness is for it to used as a blanket.

These gifts make our home.

And I think about how these are real skills, that are learned, and honed, and over time perfected. That the commitment to learning these arts will provide trinkets for the future. I would love to be able to do the same for my children. To hand craft gifts that are covered in love.

My mum has talents and patience to which I aspire. And we have gifts that will no doubt be cherished by generations to come.

Thanks so much Debbie for the lovely post!


  1. I love this post. First of all I could have written the piece about school uniform, mine was all home made by my Mum and I hated looking different too.
    But like you I appreciate all the skills that my Mum, and grandmother, passed on and I am glad that my daughters are taking them up too. In a way it is the legacy you leave behind you.

  2. What a beautiful post! I too hates the home made 'horrors' made bu my very clever mum because like you say at that age you don't! My mum is also very talented and I wish like you I had more mementos of her talents, you will always cherish them and that's lovely!

  3. Thanks for joining in the carnival. This is the first time I have seen this post and it is lovely. I am very jealous of everyone who's got a handy mum. Mine spikes her hair and goes to pop concerts. She does NOT knit. Great post.

    1. Thanks for organising the carnival, I'm lucky to have received such a beautiful post!

  4. Such a lovely post and I remember also being a 'handmade clothes' person. Funny how we view things differently as we get older - to have those skills in difficult economic times is brilliant. At the time it was not so much fun for us in our 'different' dresses.

    1. It is much easier to learn these skills from a real person than to try and pick them up yourselves (although however much my mum tries to help me learn to knit I still seem to have a mental block!)

  5. I have zero sewing skills but took up knitting a few years ago. I still haven't progressed past the basics but make my husband a different colour scarf each year. I love the precious things in your photos - the patchwork quilts are beautiful. No wonder your cherish them so much.


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