Monday, November 28, 2011

Carrying on a Family Tradition, One Stitch at a Time

Growing up, I loved to hear the story of my mom's birth...

My Grandma, who was 40 years old at the time, was stationed in Germany since my Grandpa was a pilot in the Air Force during World War II.  She arrived at the hospital, 12 pounds heavier than she was when she got pregnant and delivered a healthy 4 pound baby girl (my mom).  I can only imagine how relieved she was at this point (as I now know what it feels like to be in labor and give birth!), and I cannot imagine what went through her mind when the doctor looked at her and said, "Mrs., you have one more baby you need to deliver."  TWINS!  TWINS?  Sure enough, she gave birth to another 4 pound baby girl!  I wonder what my Grandpa's reaction was when he was allowed into the room to see his wife and his new baby girlS.  What a moment of shock, excitement, fear, and an over abundance of joy they most likely felt!  Apparently my uncle, 11 years old at the time, had wanted a brother, but he decided that two girls made up for one boy!

My other favorite story highlights my Grandma's love and devotion for my Grandpa as well as her determination and courage...qualities I hope depict my life as well.  After falling in love in Ohio, my Grandpa was stationed in California.  They couldn't stand the distance so she flew to Reno while my Grandpa took a very quick leave of absence so they could get married.  My Grandpa was deployed 2 weeks later.  Grandma was left alone in a base housing apartment with 1 can of tomato soup, 1 lb of hamburger, no job, and a car that she couldn't drive.  At this point I have to stop and think about what I would have done.  After a few good tears, I hope I would have followed in my Grandma's footsteps...she made the most of her situation and got a job as a secretary for the base commanding officer.  When she earned enough money she hired a driving instructor to teach her how to drive the car parked in her driveway.  By the time my Grandpa returned, 18 months later, she had opened a savings account with several thousand dollars saved.  I can imagine that he was proud of his new bride!

Sadly, my Grandma passed away in the early 90s, but she started a tradition that has been continued for several generations and her legacy will never be forgotten.


While reading the October 1973 edition of Family Circle, Grandma came across a needlepoint stocking pattern.  She was an excellent seamstress and she decided to buy the pattern and make a stocking for each of her three children. 

the original Family Circle article

My mom, my aunt, and my uncle's wife made a stocking for their spouse as well as each of their children...13 new stockings at this point!

When I got married, my mom made a stocking for My Hero.  My mom also made a stocking for my sister's husband and she plans to make one for my brother's future wife.  In our immediate family, Addison is the first child in the next generation and with my mom's guidance (as I am not a seamstress, needlepointer, etc) I decided to carry on the tradition.

My mom teaching me the intricacies of needlepoint

As I have been working on Addison's stocking I've learned many things.

First, needlepoint takes a LONG time!  I cannot believe the amount of time each pattern and row takes.  I have a whole new respect for my Grandma who made the very first one from a simple, simple pattern.  I am positive I could not have completed one section if I didn't have my already-made stocking to look at and count each stitch! 

Secondly, since it has taken me so long, I have had many hours to think.  My Grandma has come to mind often.  If she was still alive, I can imagine she would be very proud to see another stocking being made for her great granddaughter in her honor.  I wish I would have been older before she passed away so I could have gotten to know her better.  She was a remarkable woman.  Also, thoughts of my mom always come without any effort.  Not everyone can say this, but my mom is my best friend.  I pray that Addison and I will have a relationship like my mom and I do.  My mom's devotion to the Lord, care and service to others, and ability to see God in the good areas as well as the challenging aspects of life have molded me into the woman I am today.  Her kind heart and soft spirit are qualities that people would use to describe both of us.  I never fully understood the sacrifices a mother makes until I had a daughter of my own.  I owe my life to my mom and I hope she never questions my love for her.  Maybe one day Addison will ask me to help her start a stocking for her child.  What an exciting day that would be for me as I think back and tell her about all the great mothers who made stocking prior to her.

Finally, with each stitch, I prayed for my daughter.  How I long for her to grow up and live an abundant life in Christ.  My prayer is that this stocking will represent her heritage, the love I have for her, and ultimately, God's desire for her heart and life. 

My goal is to be finished with the stocking in the next two weeks.  I have about four more sections to go.  I probably won't be around much until it is finished as it takes most of my spare time

Counting gifts...

628.  Remembering my Grandma and the legacy that she left
629.  Praising God for my mom and the wonderful woman that she is
630.  The gift of recently becoming a mother myself
631.  The comfort that comes with knowing that God is pursuing Addison's heart as I pray that she will one day choose to run to His open arms


  1. What a beautiful story/legacy your grandmother left. Thank you for sharing it. My mom is working on handkerchiefs for each of her grandchildren to carry on their wedding day. Each will have a message from her on them. Blessings.

  2. Heartwarming! The love that goes in to needlework ... we understand better as we get older, I think!
    Have a wonderful time of prepairing for christmas :-)

  3. I love this! Beautiful stockings, but an even more beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    (Popping over from Ann's "Multitudes on Monday.")

  4. I found these stockings in Family Circle over 40 years ago and have since made over 25 stockings for family and friends. for this Christmas I am making two stockings. Unfortunately, I have lost the paper instructions that I sent for many years ago. I have letters for which I need the instructions. Is there any way I can get the paper with the outline that I have lost?

    'Jane Gillis

    1. Jane,
      That is so wonderful that you have also been making these stockings over the years! I wish I could help you, but my parents are in the process of moving and I'm not sure where the instructions are at this point. I'm very sorry.