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Stitching back

There's something to be said about the act of sticking a needle with thread to a fabric and pulling it out again.

You could be mending a shirt.
You could be attaching a button
You could be expressing your creativity...

You could be mending a favourite shirt or jeans and being creative about it:
(My niece's torn jeans)

(My little girl' torn shirt. Each bug and flower used to be a tear. My washing machine chomped on her clothes and my girl loves pink so this is one of her favourite shirts)

But now and then, the act of pulling a needle with thread is so much more. It doesn't just join two pieces of cloth, or just "makes pretty". It kind of reaches through time and joins YOU with the ones who came before you and are long gone. 

Did you know I'm Catholic? Well I am, and so were the women in my family before me. 

But there's more. One of my great great grandmothers on my my Mom's side used to get up way before the crack of dawn  to clean her home, cook, and tend to her chickens and cow all before 6 am so her husband could take his breakfast before he left for work and then she was free to do whatever she wanted till lunch came and she had to cook again. What did she do till noon?

She sewed. And embroidered. And (this is so amazing to me) she made bobbin lace. 

She also made her own mantillas, embroidering a very delicate net. This wonderful woman didn't have any daughters, she had several sons and when one of them (my great grandfather) had one son and three daughters (one of them my grandma) you'd think she could have taught them. No such luck. The girls were not really interested. It wasn't until my mother came along that she found an eager and willing student. Mom, being the eldest of twelve brothers and sisters learned at a young age to sew clothes for her siblings and to embroider. And to make mantillas to wear to church. Unfortunately by then my great great grandma was a bit too old and did not make lace anymore so my mom didn't get to learn that. Plus sewing for eleven kids ranging in age from 6 months to 20 years old (herself) didn't leave that much free time, specially if you work full time as well. 

Well, she did find the time to embroider these: 


This one is one of the big ones! Just look! 

And look at this one! 


And this one is one of my favorites: 

And it's as big as the others. 

So I asked her to teach me, and she's guiding me through the process. I'm making a child sized one, just as big as a hankie, and I've made many mistakes but it's not easy to pick out stitches in net! It's very fragile! 



The stitches are wonky and I can only work about half an hour a day but you know what? 

It's so much more than just a needle pulling thread. It's having the women of my family before me sitting with me in spirit, it's a needle and thread joining me with them in every stitch, and each stitch is a prayer of thanks for them, and a prayer for my daughters who will wear them 


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