Thursday 25 January 2018

Memories in stitches

Memories warm you up
from the inside

Memories are made by all sorts of means and I personally believe there are memories contained in fabrics and quilts as you all know by now.  Each piece of gorgeous vintage fabric has a story to tell if only they could speak.  I have been thinking and doodling for months as I want to stitch something that has a memory of my mum.

Where as I can normally think of a design this has had me stumped, honestly have a mental block when it comes to any sort of idea.  I have been thinking of getting my mum to write her name but I have left it too late I think.  Where as she used to write down everything - almost like beautiful minds! now when I try to get her to write something, anything she just stares at me blankly. 

I need to catch her on a good day and when she is more awake and then my idea is to embroider over her words that she has written.  I would love her name or With Love Mum XX anything really.

Then there is what to do with it as I really would like something different.  I have racked my brain but to no avail.  Any ideas ladies ?  I really need some help here.  I need to get her handwriting to be able to make anything possible but she gets frustrated if she can not do something or she feels pressured in any way so it is baby steps every time I go visit at the moment this is my first part of my plan 'mission write something'.....

There is the wall hanging, or quilt ... but I am trying to think of another thing to put together and I am coming up blank just blank... So please if you have an ideas for me, anything, leave a comment on here because it is something I need to make soon if I can.

I was going to get her to write on a piece of fabric but then I though maybe write on a piece of tracing
paper and then I could go over it and place it on the fabric so there is room to stitch around it etc.  I keep thinking of the nightmare if she writes but to close to the edge then I can not make anything out of it ... that is as far as my thought patterns have gone as you can clearly see.

I read some words about dementia/altzhiemers and it was so true.  It explained it to me and how it is not only for the person it is happening to but the family members left helpless and watching, and these are the words....

Have you ever walked along a shoreline, only to have your footprints washed away? That's what Alzheimer's is like. The waves erase the marks we leave behind, all the sand castles. Some days are better than others. 

The part where it says erase the marks we leave behind was what got to me and this I think has made me want her handwriting most of all ....   So I am going to concentrate on that later today as I am going for a visit.  Hoping she is a bit more awake and alert and then I am going to coax her with a milky coffee (decaf now) but she loves it and then try and get her talking .... then the mighty pen is going in her hand.

Yesterday was spent going through my little sketch book with little ideas that I have popped into the margin.  Then I read in my holiday  journal about our day at The Canterbury Shaker Village and the memories jumped off the page it was wonderful.  I am thinking of a very simple sampler to frame and pop on the wall ... it seems to go with the ethos of their ways and also words can be so beautiful as well they start up our imagination.

Looking at some of their art work as well like their tree of life or the dainty flowers they water coloured with words so I have been inspired by these images and have started to design something that I think will be beautiful and that they themselves would be pleased with.

I had all the colours out of my hand dyed shaker threads too, all in a row on the dinning room table with the lights on ... I was hoping for a little sunlight to really look at the colours but to really honest
with you I know them inside and out ... I look at them an awful lot, they are a peace of art in their own right. Truffling around in my threads is a pleasure to me and often gets done!

The shakers loved their seasons and nature and so I went with that in mind and had a little play on scrap paper and then I have decided what to sketch out slightly neater.  Then the process is keep looking at it just in case I think a change to it is in order.  I am not ready to start it yet so I can afford some staring at it time anyway.

The fun I had yesterday and it really cheered me. I can report my coughing is getting less ( shhhh as I do not want to jinx it but although it is a chesty cough I noticed yesterday I went some hours with out coughing, the relief on my ribs!!)  All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable and fun day.

So this morning here I am getting everything ready for my visit to my Mum later today and also getting the fire ready to just light when I return.  I will be sorting out my project basket ready to just pick up and get stitching along with checking the candles and replacing any that are burnt out.

When I get in ( hopefully with my trophy of some writing)  I can then just switch into slow stitching mode.  I am going on the search for some tracing paper on my way to mum as the more I think about it the more I believe it will be better so wish me luck!

I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always ... Happy Stitching! XX


  1. Do you have any writing that your mum has written even if it is addresses in an address book, or a recipe or something. Incorporate the paper into something. How about using a box frame, in it put in things that belonged to your parents like photos, pieces of fabrics that you may of kept, a piece of jewellery.
    Once you have her name, photo-copy it in reverse and get one of those transfer pens.

    Julie xxxx

    1. Hi Julie

      That sounds great but she has thrown so much away. Whist she was at home she got rid or threw away stuff.
      Her address book was missing even her engagement ring!!!!

      It’s been so sad sorting her home .. nothing left it seems.

      Sarah xxxxx

  2. I was thinking, like Julie, that maybe you have some birthdays cards, or the like, tucked away?
    If you take a photo of the words you can then transfer them to photo fabric. You could also do the same with a nice photo of her.
    Personally, I would make a small heart shaped keepsake cushion to keep on the bed. If your Mum had some blouses/buttons/lace/brooches that she wouldn't miss you could use them and material from them in, or attached to the cushion. Xxx

    1. Hi Dawn
      The pillow you made is stunning. I refer you to my reply above. I do have some photos but no jewellery or anything.

      I am looking through my keepsakes I am sure I have a couple of letters or cards from her ..

      Tried today but boy she was a terror! Been there ALL day with her .. she was very irritated . It’s been a bad day all round but tomorrow is a fresh day.
      I will let you know what I find in my memory box.

      Sarah Xxx

  3. That's a shame Sarah but maybe you will find some treasures in your searches. My Mum and Auntie used to get very irritated like your Mum and normally they were very lovely and kind. It's so sad and we can never know how they must have been feeling.
    Would your Mum enjoy it if you gave her a pretty brooch?. There are some pretty vintage Mum brooches on the internet usually. Thinking of you xxx Dawn x

    1. Thank you Dawn! It is a dreadful illness isn’t it.
      She now will not have any jewellery on at all its most peculiar...
      I am searching my memory boxes over the weekend!

      Sarah xxx

  4. Maybe if you have a card or something she has given you in the past, you could trace her handwriting from that. I'm thinking of you Sarah and wishing you all the very best.

    1. Hi Tracy
      Yes I think I do going to do a search at the weekend. I guess I have been expecting too much.
      I wanted her to write a few bits also for her Grand children and well it’s not going to happen I think but I am going to give it another go .. will pick a good day.
      I know I have her signature and a love Mum but a few other words would be great.
      Hope you are well, doing some letter writing at weekend and you will be one of the recipients..

      Sarah xxxx

  5. Bit late to the party, but my thoughts were the same as the others - birthday cards or a thank you note. You've likely tried this, but could you get her just to doodle something or you? Give her a pen and paper or some crayons and see what happens. As the long term memory is less affected, seeing the crayons may remind her of drawing as a child. Best of luck though and a reminder to us all to keep some cards! Much love, Mo xx

    1. Never too late to a party 🎉 Mo!
      Yes we do not think about throwing cards away other wise we would have to have a room for them over the years!
      Going to try again this week .. wish me luck!

      Sarah xx