A Blast from the Past with Textiles

Recently, my mother and grandmother were hunting for something in an old wooden chest in my grandmother’s garage.  The chest was full of all kinds of textile crafts (some finished and some not) from generations of women in my family- embroidered table cloths, pillow cases, dish towels, quilts, etc.  It is a reminder of how different life was for women- and for people generally- even just a couple of generations ago. We are used to instant results now, and patience is not emphasized in our society.  However, until recently, the pace of life was slower for most people.  They had time to learn and practice crafts that we can’t imagine having enough time or patience to learn now.

I express my own creativity with photography, which I enjoy partly because results are instantaneous.  You can see your photo instantly and make alterations within minutes using photo editing apps.  Compare that to the 18th century, when young women would spend their entire childhood and teenage years working on just two needlework samplers.  The first one, made during early childhood, would be of the alphabet and numbers.  The second one, made during the teenage years, would depict some sort of pastoral scene.  They would often be framed and displayed as proof that the young woman had learned all the skills necessary to run a household.


Two of the most impressive things found in my grandmother’s garage were a baby blanket and dish towel with very intricate crocheting. They were done by my great-grandmother, who also taught my grandmother the craft and inspired her love for sewing. But in my family, as with most, each generation has less time than the previous one to hone these skills, and I have no idea how to make anything like this.  The wonderful thing about libraries, however, is that they are a gateway to learning more about pretty much anything.  We have a very large collection devoted to different kinds of  textile crafts.  Check out some of them here:

Also, check our library program calendars for all three branches regularly to see what kinds of craft programs we will have!

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