Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Memory Stitch

Do you know how to sew? Ever used the technique, memory stitch? Here's a short tutorial.

First you must have several women. The memory stitch is a multi-generational event. Extra moms, grandma's, sisters, aunts, and great-grandmothers are needed for wisdom, expertise, cooking, and baby holding. After all this won't be just a 2 hour event! You are going to need some help. If women are not abounding in your house, go out and get some. Or at least draw on the memories of a wiser generation with a phone call while you sew.

Next, decide what project you want to make for and with your loved ones. Below are pictures of my first quilt, a gift for Archer.

Once you begin your project soak up every moment. My grandmother, great aunt, and mom came out to help me with Archer's quilt. About a month later my sister, her 3 kids, my mom, my great aunt, and my grandmother all came out again (I'll have to get pictures from my mom to post). This time my sister and I made labor intense but beautiful aprons. With all the knowledge and experience floating around the room you must be like a sponge and soak it up to create the memory stitch. This tip is not relegated to just the topic of sewing.

The beauty of the memory stitch does not lie within the skill or precision. In every stitch of my quilt and apron I see stories shared over thread, needles, and a few cups of hot tea. And the more crooked the stitch the more giggles I remember. New sewing skills learned that now show on my work display memories like a storyboard. My memories and even my grandmother and great aunt's memories from tales of their young learning years with my great-grandmother are woven through.

Blood (I'm just learning to sew after all), sweat, tears, laughter, stories, memories old and new, the touch of many hands from several generations, and a little frustration are all present on that tiny thread.

I call my apron my "good memories" apron. And every stitch in Archer's quilt holds love and affection from myself and those who taught me. The fruit of my labor from both projects are things I will cherish forever no matter how tattered they become. Or perhaps more so the more tattered they become. And with the realization of what the memory stitch holds, I think I will go curl up on the couch now with a cup of hot tea and the quilt my grandmother made just for me.

October Review

The cat and dog.

Soaking up a mild fall day before the cooler weather hit.