Stitches

Found in the bottom drawer – my mother’s pillow cases.  She loved those cotton slip cases that came lightly pre-stenciled with designs, which she would embroider over in bright colors.   Unlike her own mother, my Nona, embroidery was not mom’s specialty.  She always made a point of telling me that, how her own mother’s old-world stitches were so perfect.  And OK, it was true (although, so what?), on the reverse side of her work I discovered the very same knots, criss-crosses and imperfections that will be found on the back side of my own needlework.  This has endeared me to her even more.

moms pillowcasesButterflies, hearts, flowers, and some with a grandchild’s name embroidered across them. The beauty in these things lies not in their skillful execution, but in their love.  I know that every stitch she made was intended for those that she cared so much for.  The bright colors she chose reflect that happiness and the caring thoughts that accompanied these knots and stitches.

moms pillowcases3My mother also ironed her sheets and pillow cases. This is something that you will never see me do, not in a lifetime!   But I will say that coming home to her,  sleeping in a bed made up of her clean, ironed, fresh-smelling sheets – resting your head on one of her sweetly embroidered pillow cases – was always a little bit of heaven.

I miss her so much.

So….. to the present…… these pillow cases have been sitting in the bottom drawer of a small dresser, and once again I have been cleaning and organizing in my circuitous way.   I took them out,  stared at them, held them to my face to see if I could detect even the faintest trace of her….felt the lump forming in my throat.

I have been afraid to use the pillow cases again, lest they wear out or become worn and stained, as they are a piece of her I cannot let go.  I know this is silly.

mom's pillow cases2There is one set that are still ironed (from her) I had not used.  The crisp creases from  the iron are still in them.  The rest are not ironed, nor will they be (she would disapprove).  I took them all out, washed them, stared at them, laid them out on the bed.  I will put them on the “less-used” pillows so that they can be appreciated.

I think she would like that.

~*~

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7 Responses to Stitches

  1. Karen says:

    This is so sweet, and serendipitous. I recently found a bin of linens from the move, and in going through it found many of my mom’s home stitched dresser scarves, small guest towels and one pillowcase that may have been embroidered by my Grandmother. It was discolored and i washed it again and now have a small pile of lovelies to iron ( yes, I enjoy ironing sometimes) and put to use in my small home space. I love them too

  2. Lynne says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us – a bit of your sweet m’am. So inspiring. I wish I had time do do this kind of work as I love the smell of steam from the iron, and the smooth feel of freshly ironed cotton. I find myself in quite a reverie just now thinking of this quiet, enjoyable experience. I easily imagine the pleasure your mom must have experienced as well – how wonderful for you to have this lovely piece of history. I always wished that my mother did these homey types of things – so badly in fact, that I took it upon myself to teach myself at rather a young age.
    I especially love the embroidered hearts and the fact that the pillow cases were last ironed by her. It is a sacred thing – the last things a person touched.

  3. annieb523 says:

    Her work is beautiful. You should use them in some way – they shouldn’t sit alone in a drawer.

  4. rachelle says:

    They need to be used, admired and enjoyed. She would be much happier knowing that they are not sitting in a drawer. I have my mom’s dresser scarves in my “guest room.”. (Words from experience)

    • daeja's view says:

      Two of them are now in the “guest room”. One is going to my daughter as it has her name on it. The other set I am thinking about…maybe will rotate them. Some of them are old and a bit yellowed, unfortunately….

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