Mother’s Needlework in my attic

A piece of patchwork from my childhood heart lies dormant in my attic to this very day. The design and hue of colors of my heart are wrapped well in my Mother’s tattered and torn quilt she hand-made for warmth, out of necessity for her family of a dozen.

The Holidays awaken the inactive emotions showing like a candelabra with dark and light. I have come to see, through each new holiday pictures of children’s faces in each little design of my Mother’s hand-sewn quilts.

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Quilt made by Ada Patrick Craddock (Oct 26, 1904-May 16, 1971)

Rituals and heirlooms invite me to embrace and celebrate the good of family while burying the pain of rips and tears. The value of an old hand-sewn quilt, like my patchwork heart, has turned into a golden antique hue making a mark of an old aristocrat. When I feast my eyes upon the delightful patches and touch with care these heirloom with my very own hands, I remember my better self, and it gives me noble thoughts that hopefully will endure a nobleness for her ‘now’ generations.


I believe that rituals and heirlooms don’t just happen. It takes a memory-maker to make them happen. A memory-maker takes a day, time, place or thing and makes it special. And then one day, someone from the memory makers’ clan will say, “I have a rich heritage because of a special day, way, place or quilt someone sent my way.”

I think on Mother’s ‘Homemade Biscuits’ with her churned butter for breakfast each morn. Her ‘Oyster Dressing’ for special holidays that always adorned our family table and gave a smile and a frown from different but very similar faces. Her home baked ‘Fruitcakes’ dripping in Grandaddy’s fine wine. Starched linens always topped our table with china, crystals, cut glass and silverware that was handed down from the English side and the Irish side and surely don’t forget the Scots. All our accessories were from another generation and time unless they came right out of the oatmeal box.

A Memory-maker, my Mother, has enriched my life by the thoughtful hands of a caring, generous and selfless life.

When I look at Mother’s quilt and see the tears and heavy wear, I think of all her children that she has warmed with the skill of her needles and threads that have become well worn. I then think of each child from her dozen and how she smiled upon each one with special care, love and prayer. A rich heritage has been given to each child because of Mother’s love of God and love for her clan.

She loved to, and often did, write poetry and songs. She made our clothes, quilted, crocheted, canned foods from her garden, and cooked daily meals for her family of a dozen. Yet she continued to own and operate a successful business with much of her inventory coming from the work and skill of her very own hands. They were small in physical size but large in the marketplace. A craftswoman she was. I have hid ‘Mother’s Needlework in My Attic’ for some time now, hoping to retain its luster while trying to keep it from ripping even more.

It’s times like now, Thanksgiving Day, that I take her worn patchwork quilt slowly out and feel her warmth emulating through the fibers of each thread she so graciously sewed in place. I make a prayer, not quite her way, but the best I can, for each one of her clan.

I have chosen to develop my noble birth by honoring Mother and God with words of kindness, love and hope to my little family and all of Ada’s clan. There are many similarities and differences in each of her children’s families, yet the patchwork of beauty is shining as a candelabra well lit.

I believe that rituals and heirlooms don’t just happen. It takes a memory-maker to make them happen. A memory-maker takes a day, time, place, or thing and makes it special. And then one day, someone from the memory maker’s clan will say, “I have a rich heritage because of a special day, way, place or quilt someone sent my way.”

Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings Abundantly to All,

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7 thoughts on “Mother’s Needlework in my attic

  1. What a beautiful story of the impact a Godly, virtuous mother, using her skills and giftings has on the generations of her family.
    Being a gardener myself, I fondly remember the accounts you’ve told me of your mother’s great gardening abilites and her love of plants…how she poured over her seed catalogues in the winter, preparing for spring. And how she collected ‘slips’ and bulbs from other’s gardens and freely shared those from her own to ensure that a perennial neighborhood supply always endured. She must have passed along to you some of those lilies that you described as always flourishing in her area. For how you love, tend and cultivate these ‘Daily Lilies’ in your writing garden here at The Daily Lily, always ‘trumpeting faith, giving hope and serving others with love’. And so the circle of your Mother’s rich heritage goes on.
    I would like to honor and give thanks to you and your Mother this Thanksgiving.

  2. Sara, What a beautiful story about your mother. Beautiful talent and wonderful memories. These wonderful quilt can teach us so much about the past and about how God wants us to live our lives. These quilts remind me of how God wants us to live our lives. Imagine we our sewing the quilt. We need to be patient, we need to sacrific our time and energy, we need to be precise, we need to be aware of even the smallest details(because it can make a huge difference)and we need to be dedicated to the project at hand. Each thread is very important to that quilt. Each thread helps hold the quilt together. The combination of the threads and the material makes beauty. Thank you for sharing this awesome story and these beautiful quilts.

  3. Ah, Sara!
    In the pictures conjured up by your descriptions of starched Irish linen cloths, gleaming dinnerware, duties and directions meted out to her beautiful offspring thronging the dinner table, in the kitchen, in the pantry, in the garden, fetching items for the table, stirring the pots, watching the oven as the delectable fruits of her labor are brought forth, one by one…. What a Currier & Ives scene of Americana this brings to mind.
    Skillful hands that cooked and threaded and knitted and tatted and sewed wonderful pieces of life together… quilts…. mosaics which are eternally a tribute to godly, Christian values, truth, beauty, exactness, integrity…reality, LIFE! Your mother, ADA, a true Proverbs 31 woman. Her children rise up and call her blessed to this day….even more blessed than the virgin Mary, for the Lord has provided a way for each of us to attain that blessedness by His sacrifice on the Cross. And your mother, a woman of great faith with healing in her hands…a gift of the Holy Spirit…is a wonderful role model for us all, even as the saints of old that the Bible speaks of. Modern day Dorcas! We speak ever respectfully of her name and her legacy to her children and her children’s children and all of us who receive wisdom from her life’s example.
    Thank you, Sara, for sharing your wonderful mother with us. We are ever grateful.

  4. Sara,
    What a beautiful memory-maker, selfless person your mother must have been. I didn’t get the privilege to meet her, but God has blessed me, with the chance to get to know and love her generous, selfless, caring daughter. Thanks for sharing your mother’s beautiful handiwork of art!

  5. Needles, what a kind gift to give to my Mother. Like a good Mother when you praise their child, they are well pleased. I think God let my Mother peek at the Daily Lily just to read your kind words on Thanksgiving Day.

    I just imagine He told her whose granddaughter you are and then my Mother would have said the same about you knowing your grandmother. Kindness gives one a smile and I am smiling. Thanks.

  6. I really love your Mothers Gift….she thought of all children like you said….I too could see children of all nations sewn within her quilt of love….brown, yellow, red, white, tan,black,….all races, all nations,…all brought together as one, telling the story of what Jesus came to do…a gift that lives on eternally…..dj

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