Raised By a Maker: Reflections and Memories

Throughout the month of May we’re celebrating the legacy of craft and recognizing the people in our lives who have contributed to our love of crafting. Today we’re recounting the #Raisedbyamaker stories of a few our editorial team members. From mothers, grandmothers, and sisters to co-workers and then those that we’re bestowing our creative influence upon. It’s a beautiful circle of art, creativity, and hobby that we love reflecting on. What is your Raised by a maker story?

Kristine Lundblad, Managing Editor

I am a quilter now but as a child, I was more of a multi-discipline creative, crafting whatever was needed to advance my play. In fact, I can’t tell you how I learned to sew/craft/embroider/whatever because it happened organically—with a touch of genetic influence, perhaps, too.

I come from a long line of creative people. In my family there are knitters, woodworkers, musicians, paper crafters, and more. My mother was the most present influence on me, though, and I owe my love of working with my hands to her. She especially loved needlepoint and made many beautiful pieces in classic Nordic style. She bought wool and base fabric from Norway, her homeland, and decorated our house with her finished work. She was in heaven during the 1970s boon of bargello books, kits, and supplies. I made several pillows and eyeglass cases myself in my teens.

But my handwork started before that. I had a collection of trolls and small dolls that I played with a lot and who, eventually, all needed new outfits, purses, hats—and I sewed them all. I don’t remember my mother or anyone teaching me to sew, however. I must have absorbed it by watching or she might have gently helped me. She was never one to initiate a ‘lesson,’ however, but she was always ready to help when asked. She matter-of-factly watched me sew clothes for my trolls out of felt and made sure there were plenty of materials and supplies available. Perhaps one day I mentioned that my trolls needed more outfits and that’s when the felt, thread, snaps, and scissors magically appeared. I don’t remember.

I think this gentle, observant style was exactly what I needed as a child. She was quick to encourage me once I turned to her but never did she press a craft or technique upon me. I was a strong-willed child who didn’t like being told what to do. Instead, I kept myself happily busy with creating and playing and she didn’t have to hover over me. I later learned to use a sewing machine and worked on home dec projects and clothing.

When I began quilting as an adult, she was so quick to support me and admire my work. She was my biggest fan! I was the first quilter in the family and she thought that was a marvelous extension of our family’s collective handwork and craft legacy. She’s been gone for over 25 years now but her gentle influence still guides me. I am so thankful to have her wise, loving, and creative influence—well, on everything.

Kristine Lundblad, about age 2, with her mom, Molly Skoland Lundblad

Valerie Uland, Editor of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting

I have pleasant memories of my mother, Claireen, sewing fashionable Barbie garments during my early childhood. She sewed cute summertime play-outfits for my sister and me. One winter, she fashioned faux-fur cuffs on a favorite coat to extend the sleeve length for one more winter! Fur must have been trending that winter because she also sewed me a fur blanket for a Christmas gift. She exemplified creativity with an ingenious “surprise” patch shaped like a Christmas stocking—she hadally somehow snipped the center of the blanket during construction!

As a very accomplished wardrobe, my Grandmother, Lois, made my mother’s wedding dress and sewed very up-to-date stylish wardrobe garments throughout her life. She gifted me my first sewing machine on one of my teen birthdays, and I’ve been sewing ever since.

One of my great grandmothers, Ella, inspired me with her quilts and a tiny thread-crocheted cross bookmark. One of her quilts I inherited was in tatters, but I used it to make small, simple stuffy toys from it for every child in the family. As a young mother, I finished one of her quilt tops, in which she had hand-embroidered a farm scene for each block, and it graced my daughter’s bed when she was a child.

Another great grandmother, Ruth, crocheted a vibrantly colored granny-square vest for me, which I treasured as a little girl. I talked her out of a crocheted poodle I found in her cedar-lined hope chest one visit after promising what good care I would take of it—indeed, I still have it. She patiently taught me to crochet—the initial project, after yards of chain practice, was round hot pads, but mine were all cones instead of circles!

Growing up, I was encouraged in every new direction my crafting and making wills took me, and being a maker is in my heart. Writing this, I have been more blessed than I realized to have so many different loved ones speaking creativity into my life.

Valerie’s mother, Claireen, and grandmother, Lois

Gigi Levsen, Editor of McCalls Quilting

In 2012, I was lucky to start working with Lori Baker, the former editor of Quilters Newsletter, McCall’s Quilting, and the former acquisitions editor for the quilting group here, and I began to gain so much insight into quilting from listening to her and how she liked to make quilts. One of the things she always did was to make pieced back for her quilts; it sounded like so much fun that I started to do it too. It IS fun! Even if I have enough fabric for the whole quilt back, I always add a little bit of piecing anyway, made with leftovers from the front. Or if it’s a scrappy quilt in the front, I sew together some of the extra fabric strips and scraps to make a scrappy backing, not planning or worrying about the layout too much. It may take just a bit more time but for me it’s so worth it! I think it adds so much interest and makes the quilt pretty much double-sided without a lot of extra effort.

A scrappy pieced back for a scrappy quilt.

Vivika DeNegre, Director of Content

I come from a long line of serial crafters. My maternal grandmother was a weaver, knitter, and embroidery artist. My mother stitched, sewed, and knit. Their love of the fiber arts was always part of who they were and how they interacted with the world . Because of their example, I also hold a needle and a pair of scissors in my hands each and every day.

This quilt, “All This By Hand” is an homage to all of the women in my family. I traced each of their hands and embellished their bracelets with trinkets that symbolized their personalities: My mother’s is in the center and sparkles with music charms and an angel. My grandmother’s bracelet in the lower right corner is a snippet of bobbin lace she made and holds a cross. Mine is the upper right corner and has dangling coins that represent my love of history. The other hands belong to my daughter, sister, niece, and sister-in-law. All of us are connected by thread… I am proud to have been raised by a maker, and to have also raised four wonderful makers.

All This By Hand by Vivika

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