Thursday, June 07, 2007

Today Quilting Bebbs shared a photo of gingham check fabric she had just purchased. Her picture brought back a flood of memories to me.
When I was a little girl, I would spend time during holiday and summer breaks at my grandma's house. During those visits, I would fill my time with all the pursuits of Grandma's day. We would often walk to the neighborhood dime store where Grandma would purchase yards of gingham check fabric in a variety of colors.
The purpose of the purchase was to make aprons with the sewing circle at her church. They donated the items to the church bazaar held each November as their fundraiser. The ladies met every Thursday morning at 10 a.m. to work on a variety of projects and then sit together and enjoy their sack lunch.
Oh those ladies with such exotic sounding names - Beatrice, Juanita, Eunice, Bertha, Stella, Frieda. Nothing like the Patty's, Susie's and Nancy's that I went to school with. Each lady seemed to have a particular specialty that she brought to the group. Grandma's was the gingham aprons and flour sack dish towels embroidery or applique and bound in store-bought bias tape.
I never once saw a pattern for the apron. Armed with one yard of 36" wide gingham, Grandma would count out a specified number of squares and RIP - there's the waist band. Another count, another RIP - pockets. Next the ties - leaving the skirt of the apron. No fuss, no muss, no scissors.
She used 3 strands of DMC floss for the cross stitch. (To this day, when I split floss I put the portion not threaded in my needle around my neck - it never gets lost.) Sometimes a plain 'x' in rows all across the hem, the pockets and waistband was stitched. Other times the fancier 'chicken scratch' pattern was done. Then the apron was sewn together on the sewing machine and finally starched within an inch of it's life.
You can see this apron, even today after many washings, can still practically stand on it's own like a little soldier.A close-up of the 'chicken scratch' stitch.
Much to the deep disappointment of Grandma and Mom, I could never be enticed to wear an apron (it is just more girly than I want to be) I treasure this piece - made by Grandma and worn by Mom and forever loved by me.

32 comments:

Judy said...

I've never seen that type of stitsh that could change the look of the gingham so much. Very very cool!! My mom has abotu 10 aprons that were her's and Nama's..(my grandmother)I never wore one either but my sister and mom always did at thanksgiving and Christmas.

Very nice that you have your Granmother apron, Libby!

Hedgehog said...

These simply embroidered gingham aprons were my Grandma Gen's signature - both wearing them and making them. Thanks so much for sharing!

paula, the quilter said...

My Grandma used to make smocked cushion covers using the larger gingham. She taught both me and my cousin how to do this. I wonder if my cousin still remembers how? I do. Thanks for the memory.

McIrish Annie said...

What a great memory!

Angie said...

What wonderful memories you have, Libby! And your memories bring back memories of MY mom and her "Ladies Aid' meetings...and the names of all of her friends, and we had to call them all either Mz Della or Aunt Lucindie or any one of those other 'old timey' names. :)

Carol said...

Oh my goodness Libby did that ever bring back a ton of memories. My Nana had aprons just like that...she had them in every color gingham that she could find. Isn't that just amazing. My mother always wore aprons...I've never had one on in my life. Used to make my mom nuts...now she's just given up. Thanks for the memories.

Screen Door said...

Great post,I remember my grandmother wore aprons. When she'd let me "help" wash dishes, she'd pull up a chair for me to stand on and I'd wear one tied under my arms, it came down like a dress. I have 2 in my "dishtowel drawer". Who ever is wearing "nice" clothes when we eat spaghetti uses it...Thanks for the memory...

Della said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

Libby, That takes me back...a gingham apron was my very first project in sewing class back in seventh grade. And we made them just the same way, although I think we probably used scissors to cut. Two strips sewed end to end formed the sashing. You had to gather the rectangle and then sew it into the sashing strips. My mom used that apron for years!

Susie said...

Loved reading your apron memories. My grandma actually had one of the names you mentioned :)
I have many of her old aprons, but wear a different style when I'm working in the kitchen.
:)

Patti said...

That certainly brings back memories. One of the first gifts I ever made my mother-in-law to be was a gingham apron with a design cross stitched on it. I remember it was yellow and green - possibly daffodils? It was counted cross stitch - counting the squares. And to this day I do the same thing - but the rest of the embroidery thread around my neck.

Quilt Memories said...

When I used to embroidery I too put the extra strands around my neck.Isn't it fun to remember the things our GM's and MOM's done that we now do, and to find out so many other ladies and their foremothers did the same!!!! This is a wonderful life!!!
Well, maybe most days, but a ride across Hoover Dam can change that, RIGHT!!!!!!!!! I am glad to know I am not the only person that wasn't thrilled with that ride.
Take care and thanks for visiting me, will get back to some quilty pics soon. Jewell

Sweet P said...

What a beautiful apron. I remember my grandma having some aprons stitched like that. When we cleaned out my parent's house last summer I found a book full of those designs. Maybe I should find some gingham fabric and stitch some of them.

meggie said...

OH how lovely that you still have that lovley apron. I used to do cross stitch as a child, on gingham, for talecloths, but never made aprons.
I rarely wear an apron either, but my grandmother did.

Dawn said...

Oh my grandma made and wore aprons like that also! Now I wish I had a picture though of my ginham story..... I don't think I have any pics... Hmmm, I may have to go hunting tonight for the old, old photo album....

tami said...

My gramma had one of the cool names, Viola, and used to do that stitch on gingham too. :-) I still have a gingham table cloth with a big star chicken scratch stitched in the middle and around for a border. She used to go to "Extension" to meet with her friends to sew and quilt. Great memories.

Jenny said...

Love the memories! I remember finished items my grandma made but I don't remember her sewing. I wish I did.

Knot Garden said...

What lovely memories, like a glimpse into another world. It's nice you were able to spend so much time with your grandmother. I like aprons and would like to make some - like you I'm not in the habit of wearing one, but I might if I had a really nice one:)

Darlene said...

What a wonderful memory, Libby! My grandma always wore an apron when in the kitchen - always! She gave me several that she'd made when I got married but they are in a safe place in my hope chest. They were way too girly for me - LOL

Laura said...

Libby what a great story. I remember spending time with my Grandma while she worked on her various forms of needlework. Thanks for sharing.

Ronnie said...

I enjoyed the story of the ladies get together, and the apron is very sweet. I too spent alot of time at my great grandmothers knee making yo yo's.
Please would you share the quilts quilts behind the apron, I really like the red and white one.
I love to read your blog, its my kind of quilting.
Ronnie

Nicole said...

What a treasure! That is one of the sweetest aprons I have ever seen! My grandma used to always wear an apron, and had dozens to choose from.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

What memories you have bought back to me today!
My Mum had these on the table as cloths, with the basic white cross stitch in them. I've not seen your variation.
I inherited another cloth one that was done the same from one of DH's aunties, I''ll have to dig it out now!
I am not an apron wearer either, much to my mother and MIL's disgust. It just seems to have such tied to the sink connotations for me!
I enjoyed catching up on your husband's retirement. What a lot of shifts you had, love the photos stuck up with band-aids.
Is it nice to know no-one can shift you!?
regards, Tracey

Deb Geyer said...

Thanks for sharing! What a lovely memory.

Finn said...

Hi Libby, what a lovely journey down that particular memory lane...I like those little walks with you..*VBS*
Aprons figure into my childhood also, but always worn by my Mom and my beloved Gram Lottie. They never wore the waist tied aprons, always the cover-all bib type. Always seemed the housedresses and the aprons were of a commom sort of fabric. Maybe a plaid or checked dress and a floral apron or visa-versa.
I have no aprons that belonged to either. All those kind of things were gone long before the owners were. I have collected vintage aprons over the years tho. The one you have that belonged to both your Mom and Grandma is very beautiful...just exquisite chicken scratch work. It would have to be elaborate to make it self-stiffening.
I found a Christmas pillow front to buy at GoodWill that is chicken scratch. It's not as easy as it looks...LOL
Hugs for memories of happy days, Finn

KCQuilter said...

What a wonderful post, Libby! I have a lot of those same memories. My mom ALWAYS had an apron on. And I am loving this current fad of aprons. They are showing up everywhere. One of the best quilt shops around KC is currently having a trunk show of Indygo Junction's aprons!!!!

anne bebbington said...

That chicken scratch stitch looks lovely but your photo is a bit blurry on enlarged to be able to work it out - do you know the method for the stitch?

gwen said...

Thank you very much for sharing so nice memories. My mum doesn´t wear aprons but my MIL used to and I have already taken a few apart to get scraps. A lot of checkered fabric, some stripes. Those aprons were really big and long and I could get a lot out of them. I thought better in a quilt as in a closed wardrobe! Take care.

Jeanne said...

I have an apron like yours that my grandmother made for me. Thanks for reminding me.

Wendy said...

My how gingham brings back memories for me. It was one of my favourite fabric when I first started to sew. What a nice story to share with us.

Cheryl said...

Libby,
I have finally been able to catch up on your blog. I so enjoy reading it! How I pray that this new time of "retirement" for you and your dh is blessed beyond measure. The men and women who have served and are serving our country are very special to me. I'm off to do final prep. on the house and self as today is the first of our three wedding week! Yippee!! :-)

kjquilts said...

I love your apron! It brings back memories for me of my own grandmother. Thanks for a trip down memory lane!