9    Dec 20084 comments

Family threads: Creating heirlooms to pass down

With today's technology, it is easy to create and print a family history chart. But here are some ideas for more unusual methods of recording your ancestors.

Although many researchers today use the Internet to create family websites to share information and collaborate with international branches, here are other ways to create a family heirloom to hand down through the generations.

In the old days, young girls created needlework samplers to show their skill - cross-stitched fabric works including the name of the young woman who sewed it, the date, alphabets and designs worked in various colors. Very popular in the British Isles and other European countries, they are today considered major collectibles, and often featured on such television programs as "The Antiques Roadshow" and similar productions.

Before I discovered genealogy, I embroidered many framed pieces for our daughter and made others celebrating the weddings of friends and family. After genealogy entered my life, I was too busy researching to return to needlework.

Imagine having a framed sampler - recording the birth of a new baby, its parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or one for a bride and groom - to hand down through the generations!

Other possibilities include a family tree quilt, or a wall-hanging of a family's major branches,

My grandmother enjoyed cross-stitching tablecloths and I own one of her beautiful ones. It isn't very big, but just perfect for our balcony table when we have luncheons outdoors.

What about a large tablecloth for a specific holiday that your family can use each year? You don't even have to create the designs yourself. Many manufacturers sell kits of the fabric with a stamped design, the embroidery thread, even the necessary needles. You may have siblings or cousins who may want to work on such a project together, just like old-time quilting parties seen in old movies.

What about needlepoint or embroidered Christmas tree ornaments that can be used for years and passed down to future generations? These kits are rather inexpensive and there are even holiday card kits available. That's one card that no one will throw away after the season!

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There are many choices of fabric; silk, cotton, wool or metallic threads and ribbons. Be as creative as you want.

There are many websites such as TraditionalStitches.com or the ScarletLetter.com, or 123Stich.com which offer kits, supplies, ribbons, threads, books and everything one would need to create a multitude of projects for different occasions.

Some sites offer kits for wedding quilts or designers offer to create quilts from meaningful fabric pieces provided by family and friends. Lori Mason Design is one of those sites; she also creates memorial quilts from recycled fabrics and clothing of loved ones. For an anniversary quilt, one could incorporate fabric pieces from children's clothing, bridal gown and other important "pieces." Even a men's tie collection can produce a magnificent quilt.

Here's a wonderful wedding sampler from AnitasArts.com

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For a style that goes equally well with old-fashioned or very modern tastes, here's an example of a sampler from Vierlande near Hamburg, Germany. These special samplers are nearly always worked in black thread on white or light linen with rows of geometric designs.

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Check out some of the sites above and do let me know which items you liked. Do your, your friends or relatives enjoy making these very personal creations? Would you like to receive one? I look forward to your comments.

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Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. I like the idea of branching out from documents and photographs for heirlooms. A simple item of clothing can also serve - a uniform maybe or even a knitted sweater or perhaps a grandmother's dress that hangs in your closet that you look at every morning.
  3. This is quite good site, I will visit it here more often.

    Keep posting
    Regards Arun

  4. Hola,
    ЎIncreнble! No estб claro para mн, їcуmo offen que la actualizaciуn de su nombre de www.myheritage.com.

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