Thursday, 7 January 2016

Memories of Grandma Mary's stitching!

Hello Everyone!
I come from a family of crafters. My maternal grandmother made fur coats and in her spare time she used to knit and cross stitch. As she is now near to her 90s, she can 'only' manage long stitch these days. My late grandpa painted pictures and enjoyed making things. My dad has always been very handy with wood and amongst other things basically built a whole large family boat! As you may already know, my mum also enjoys lots of crafts. She's very good at lace-making, and have throughout the years crocheted numerous granny square blankets and knitted lots of different things. Both my great grandma and grandpa on my mother's side used to cross stitch and made big tapestries:) So, when I think about it, lots of creative talants and inspiration!
However, being a cross stitcher myself (as well as a knitter, sewer and crocheter of course) I must say that my paternal grandma Mary's accomplishements are extra-special to me.
Grandma Mary and Grandpa Axel
Sadly she is no longer with us, but the memories of her are still vivid in my mind, as is all her crafty accomplishments! Amongst other things, she made the most beautifully knitted jumpers with amazing motives in multiple colours; things I could only dream of knitting. And she cooked yummy sunday dinners with meat from elk/moose:)) But what I mostly remember about her is all her cross stitch projects, and how she used to sit on her old sofa with huge charts on the table in front of her, and a large piece of fabric in her lap:) Looking back it really grieves me that I really never took opportunity to sit with her and learn from her. At the time I was only a teenager who found cross stitch quite boring - it took sooo much time to stitch something! - and I preferred to sew clothes and knit jumpers and crochet doilies.
I do remember some things she did when she stitched though. I remember that she used to stitch gridlines so it is thanks to her that I save lots of time using gridlines when I stitch. She also used to mark off her charts as she stitched, but to me it looked messy and I don't do that. Having gridlines always helps me to keep my place on the charts anyway, so I have never felt the need to mark my charts.
I actually has one small black and white chart that she used once, and I can see how she has marked off all the squares as she stitched...
It feels amazing that she has used this chart herself maybe 40 years ago..! I quite like motive too so maybe I'll stitch it myself one day, although grandma has made it a bit difficult for me to see the symbols lol. On the front of the chart are lots and lots of small holes which I assume is from her doing her marking with a very sharp
This is a very small chart for being my grandma though! She really liked to stitch huge designs, and the most impressive picture she cross stitched MUST be this HUGE picture of old-time Stockholm...
Yes I know the picture is huge, and it deserves to be!

...that now hangs on the wall at my dad's place. Can you imagine the amount of hours she must have spent on it?! Even though she was a fast stitcher, it still must have taken her at least 1000 hours!
Now that I really have gotten into cross stitch myself, and know how much time it takes and how much work goes into it, this project just baffles and amazes me no end! And HOW I wish I now could have had the chance to sit down with her and learn the 'tricks of the trade' from a Master! Just watching her stitch would have been amazing...!

Anyhow, the REAL reason I'm writing this post is because I want to show you a VERY special Christmas gift I received this past Xmas from my sister:)
My sister is another amazing crafter in our family! She does just about anything - except for cross stitch - and in the last couple of years she has learnt how to quilt, and she has made amazing quilts for everyone:) So when I remembered that I had a bag in the cellar filled with 24 cross stitched pictures of national flowers/greenery that grandma Mary stitched over 30 years ago, I asked my sister if she thought she could combine her quilting skills with grandma's cross stitching and create new stunning things like cushions that we could use in our everyday life, instead of the precious cross stitched pictures just being in my cellar year after year.

Luckily my sister though that was an excellent idea and she spent the autumn creating gorgeous cushions out of grandma Mary's cross stitches, and on Christmas Eve I received my very own beautiful cushion! I had the advantage at one stage to choose my favorite flowers out of the many grandma stitched and they looked amazing all together:

Some close-ups...


My dad also got a beautiful cushion from my sister (and his mum), and my mum got a small cushion too... 
 ...from her daughter (and former mother-in-law). My sister also sent cushions to my aunt and my cousin and I am sure we will all treasure our beautiful cushions, and the best of all is that grandma Mary's work is displayed beautifully and enjoyed by us all in our everyday lives!

Lastly I just have to share with you a funny - and a bit sad - story from grandma Mary's last years. She developed Alzheimer as she got older but that didn't stop her from enjoying her crafts to the best of her ability. And that became even more obvious when my mum received all of grandma Mary's craft things after she passed away. You see, amongst Mary's things my mum found about six cross stitched starts of the same picture!!! She must have started on the project, then forgotten that she has started on it, so then she would make a new start on the same project again ... over and over again...! I just don't know whether to laugh or cry about it! Talk about the project that never ends:)) I guess what really matters was that she could enjoy doing what she had always done!
Unfortunately it is quite a big project, and not at all my style...otherwise I'd be tempted to finish it just to enjoy the feeling of working on the same project that my grandma started. Maybe in some years' time I'll feel like finishing one of them; we certainly have enough versions to go around LOL.
Happy Stitching!


  1. What a very interesting and loving post.

  2. What an awesome story Annie. That picture of Stockholm is amazing and beautiful.


  3. Actually Grandma Mary would have turned 100 years this Saturday, so this post is a great present for her up in heaven. I do hope they have access to the Internet... And if I'm not mistaken the small holes in the chart is after needles (knappnålar) that she used to mark where she was sewing so it would be easier for her to find the right spot in her often massive charts. I was a nosy little girl asking all these questions about what she was doing...
    Love from the little sister:)

    1. So maybe YOU have leart all her secrets and can tell me! I'm glad you could clarify what all those holes were about - seemed strange that she would press her pencil that hard every time...:)

  4. Sounds like an amazing family! I'm definitely one of the craftiest in my family lol my aunt dabbles in it but that's pretty much it. That Stockholm piece is amazing!

  5. It is so wonderful to have your grandmother's stitching. The only family member who was a crafter was my Wisconsin aunt. Although I received many crafts and craft supplies from her, I really learned all my crafting on my own. I live and grew up in New York and only saw my aunt a few times. Those cushions are a wonderful way to have all the family enjoy your grandmother's handwork.

  6. Wow lots of beautiful stitching. That huge one is stunning indeed. So many treasured memories you share with your family:)


Reading your lovely comments truly makes my day, so thank you!