I came across these photos of my Great Grandmother, Amber May Fowler Rideout. She was the original Renaissance Girl. My childhood beds were covered in her bonneted-girl quilts and I now have my parents' wedding ring quilt in our bedroom. I've talked to several relatives and each has a quilt from her somewhere. How many quilts must she have hand-sewn? I can't begin to imagine...
My Father reminded me that she also knit amazing thick zip-up sweaters, very stylish in the 50's, for many of her grandchildren, even with matching hats. I remember seeing photos of my Father and his three brothers wearing slightly different but matching sweaters in the snow. I have one of the sweaters now and it is so substantial, I can wear it in place of a coat!
Every birthday for the last 10 years of her life, I'd receive a different doll in the mail. She embroidered a different outfit for each one: One a pink and white 18th Century Lady, one a red and black Senorita, the next year a Princess in blue and white. Each even had undergarments and perhaps a hat or matching tiny purse. They must have taken forever to embroider with a tiny needle and the finest yarn she could find. Her dolls were too small and delicate to live the fast-paced life that my Barbies lived, so they remained admired on upper shelves and I can only really appreciate them now.
My grandmother raised many children on the rural plains of Alberta, Canada and I can imagine that ingenuity and creativity meant actual survival for her. I'm guessing bargain shopping wasn't really an option and my efforts to survive in show business and a big city probably pale in comparison. I remember meeting her once when I was about four, but I wish I could have really talked to her.
Thanks for your hand-made works of art, Great Grandma!