Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Stitch in Time

I’m getting the urge to pick up my stitching again….it’s been such a long time!  When my vision changed—once again—it just got frustrating.  But, with time, as always happens, I’ve adapted.  I’m ready.

I’m excited! / Photo # 52 - Kidston C. - Stitch! Exclusive Cath Kidston designs - 2010 - tymannost

Cross-stitch, needlepoint…I’m just yearning to pull out old patterns & piles, needles & hoops.  And crazy quilting—one of my biggest stitchy dreams!  And my last-remaining-daughter-at-home is under fair warning:  she will soon be learning the needleworker’s art…

As I’m thinking & anticipating, my thoughts turned to one of my great-great-grandmothers, as my thoughts often do…

Born in Denmark in 1854, Augusta Maria lived a pretty comfortable life.  The daughter of a fairly well-to-do cabinetmaker, she had a few—not too many—but a few gentle privileges.  She was sent to a private school for young ladies, and learned the art of making fine ladies’ gloves, and became a good seamstress, which were skills she used throughout her life.

Jesse Nathaniel Smith

When she was just 16 years old, she married my great-great-grandfather, an American who was in Denmark for a time teaching.  She happily left the home she loved with the man she loved…never to return again.


When she arrived with him to his home in the “Wild West”, and saw the impoverished way (in comparison to what she had known) many of the women in his extended family were living, she sat her chest down on the ground, opened it up, and gave away most of her fine dresses and things away to those who were there to welcome her to her new home…

Augusta Maria Outzen Smith

In the small town in northern Arizona, where Augusta lived most of her adult life and is buried, there’s a small family museum.  In it are a few of her personal possessions…physical reminders of a lovely, gracious and quiet woman, who probably never—in her girlish imaginings—could have dreamed of the adventures her life would bring…


A small, beautiful chest made for Augusta when she was young by her grandfather, a noted Copenhagen cabinetmaker in the mid-1800’s…


…beautiful purple velvet lining the inside of the lovely box…


Another “treasure chest” made by the same grandfather, who was also a violinist in the King’s Orchestra in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen…filled with her simple woman’s treasures…


Her scrapbook from late Victorian through Edwardian times…I could only take a few pictures—since I technically wasn’t allowed to touch anything…just a couple of gentle touches (shhhh!)…



And best of all, her crazy quilt…


DSC04314_edited-1 {one of my dreams…to recreate Augusta’s quilt, as much as I can}

I found out that it had been passed on to my grandfather, and was in their family for quite a while…oh, how I’d love to have it gracing my sitting room at home!  But, it’s in a place where many can love it where it is…


…delicate stitches…worn velvets and satins…beautifully embroidered monograms…flowers, animals, patterns…all stitched by the loving hands of a woman I never met…Augusta

…who has touched my life in more ways than I can imagine, through those invisible ties that bind us together.


Stitches in time.  As my daughter and I sit and stitch together, I’ll be thinking of Augusta.  I’ll probably share a story or two with my daughter as we work…ties that bind in beautiful, beautiful ways.


{The two needlework images at the top of my post were found on Pinterest.}

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