My introduction to the love of needlearts all started with my grandmother, who we all called "Mow." Needlepoint, crochet and quilting were her favorite ways to keep her hands busy. She was the product of another century, born in 1899, but always kept up with the times. In the 70's she crocheted granny square blankets for each of her grandchildren. She also hooked and stitched a wardrobe for my vast collection of Troll dolls. As I grew older and she grew old, we spent hours on the sofa watching The A-Team, stitching canvases and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with an iced-cold Coke. Her last Christmas, she gave me an embroidered baby quilt, that wrapped her future great-grandchildren in love long after she passed.
Needlepoint became the way that we shared our time. Every summer I would fly down to Louisville, KY to visit for a week or two--just me, one-on-one with my grandparents without my sisters or brother. It was tradition for us to go to the needlepoint store and they would let me pick out a new canvas. We would sit for hours on the big green sofa in the living room and talk and stitch. At first, she would fix me lunch and, over the years, I would be the one to take care of her instead. It was a magical time, because I didn't have to be anyone for Mow, only myself.
Since then, I have stitched each of my three children and my husband Christmas stockings designed by Peter Ashe, one of my favorite needlepoint designers. It took me years to make them all, stitching between pregnancies, diaper changes and carpools. Throughout the years, however, needlepoint also has kept me connected to my grandmother's legacy. Whenever I settle down with needle in hand, I am thrown back in time to the green sofa on Hycliffe Avenue sitting next to Mow. Each stitch of my children's stockings was a gift of myself that they can hold onto, hopefully long after I am gone, much like my grandmother's quilt. At the same time, each stitch becomes a gift to myself that connects me to Mow's unconditional love.