Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I'm in Cyprus, visiting my family and eating my body weight in Feta flavour crisps...and so much more! However, I think that it's also the perfect opportunity to share a little more about my stitching heritage, which I only recently discovered fully myself. Last year I shared the story of my great-grandmother and the silk she painstakingly spun and wove for her daughters' dowry - which I am now one of the lucky recipients of.
My Armistice Blouse made from my great-grandmother's silk
Today, I want to share the story of my grandmother's skill - she is so ridiculously modest that she initially didn't think it warranted sharing with us. You see, my grandmother was a bit of a whizz at freehand machine embroidery! She used to decorate plain bedding and make it into something special for the family household. One of my favourites is this set below, which shows so much attention to detail. The colours and design are so fresh and pretty and I don't even know where I would begin to embroider scallops...machine or no machine!
My grandmother also helped her mother to put the intricate finishing touches on the hand-spun silk bedding for their dowry. It was a combination of embroidery and crochet and the result is so stunning, don't you think?
So well-known had my grandmother's skill become on the island, that from 1947, when she was around 16, she started taking in students. Around 6 female students (and their sewing machines) could be accommodated at the family home and over a 3-month period my grandmother would teach them everything she knew about machine embroidery, even helping them work on specific projects along the way. She got paid one Cypriot pound a month, which in those days was a pretty significant contribution to the household!
And just because I couldn't resist sharing, here are some gorgeous pictures of my grandparents. I know I must be biased, but I think they're one of the most handsome couples I've ever seen!
It's been said that my grandfather fell for my grandmother because of her red-ish hair that she used to regularly wear in girlie plaits. I don't know why, but I find that an incredibly cute notion!
This last photo is such fun! I doubt they had many cars in the village so it must have been a blast posing with this one. My grandmother's the one on the left leaning on the car and because she's always been somewhat of a matriarch - always the strong pillar of the family both physically and mentally - it's so nice to think that she once may have been a little frivolous.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I've enjoyed learning about my stitching heritage. Does stitching run in your family?