Sunday, March 18, 2007

How did this all start

Dancing sounds innocent enough. My mother decided that we needed to find out about our native heritage. Dancing was the first step in my journey into my heritage. When I was sixteen my mom said Lynn there is a Powwow in Sandy Bay on Saturday lets go. okay I foolishly said. Next thing I know my mom drops yards of fabric beside me on the couch. you and your sisters need dance outfits then and We have to make them before Friday night. ( We ,meaning me) This began a longstanding tradition of being Voluntold to do some sewing for my mom. It also became the start of my STASH. My grandmothers were great enough to keep me out of trouble by showing my how to sew, now it was time to do something with it. Quilting just kind of evolved from doing dance regalia. My youngest sister Leanne was just a preschooler and years of dance outfits required. My mother stuck her in every kind of dance class, Clogging, square dancing, tap and jazz. and of course Powwow. Every time my mother came home with something for me to sew. Crinolines. I hated doing crinolines. Full skirts to swirl, sequins to add to a tap skirt, and then came the Shawls. Ladies Fancy Dance was the style of dance we all learned. The ladies wore shawls.
No this isn't one of my sisters Its just an example of the style of dance regalia that I have sewn. Then my mother asked for lone star shawl for my sister. I didn't know making lone stars was supposed to be hard I just did it. I of course went okay just buy me a rotary cutter and a mat. Buy this time I was collecting Quilters Newsletter and Quiltmaker and the rotary cutter was changing the way we pieced quilts. No more stupid little templates. We went out picked up the biggest mat I could find and a rotary cutter and all the fabric. . That was it. one lonestar shawl 10 hours of sewing and cutting and one shawl. After I woke up I went and purchased a good iron. Next thing I know I am hip deep in making lone star blankets for my family and others for native ceremonies.
Buy this time my baby sister was 16 and I have been sewing her regalia for years. Every year it seemed like my mother collected kids (she was a foster mom for 27 kids) and got them into dancing powwow, and I had sewn for everyone of them. I even spent a few years teaching mothers how to make their children's regalia for a dance troupe. Even I couldn't sew for 20 or so kids. My house was full of color and ribbons of every color yarn and shiny sparkly material. My mother feeding my fabric addiction because she always had things for me to sew and she made me crazy with what she wanted me to sew. I am the one that in a sewing emergancy ,could whip up what you needed last minute. Years of my mother going "We need 5 dance outfits by 11:00 tomorrow morning and I said you would do it", made me crazy, but fast, and really good at improvising.
I had bags of shiny colourful material scraps from all those dance outfits, these all went into crazy quilts . I was determined to embroider. My mother did it wonderful work. She didn't sew but she could embroider. My pitiful attempts .... French not.
My mother passed away from Breast Cancer on Sept 13, 2006. Part of this story is in remembrance of her and how she made me crazy and how all this started.


Quilting Diva said...

Thanks for sharing. She'll always be with you.

Su Bee said...

I'm so glad you shared - my mother has terminal breast cancer and I can feel what you're saying. She left you a greater gift than either of you knew at the time.

Leigh said...

You have wonderful memories of your mum.
Good luck in trying to "inherit" your great grannies treadle machine. It will mean a lot to you.

Beth said...

I love the story about your mom! I must remember that word 'voluntold'. That says it all! Been there done that!