When I was in 4th grade, my teacher kept a box of fabric scraps, laces, thread and needles for kids to use during recess. It was during one of those recesses that I sewed my first real project. Maybe I had a little help from the teacher aid. I don't really remember. My mother sewed almost every evening after we went to bed, and so I probably thought I knew what I was doing despite not ever having any instruction.
The project was a Valentine's Day heart pincushion for my mother. I cut the hearts out, whip-stitched the sides together and then turned it right-side out. I realized that sewing something wrong sides together was the right way to do it, but whip stitching the seams was a mistake. My stitches were huge, so when I turned the heart right side out, the fabric gapped. I appear not to have been deterred by this development, however, and proceed to stuff the heart with fabric scraps before whip stitching the gap together. Then I embroidered "LOVE" on the stuffed heart. Yes, I think I embroidered it after sewing it together. Finally, I added some bows and a hand-writtenValentine's Day greeting for my Mom. Don't you love my cursive writing?
Mom pinned the heart to the bulletin board behind her sewing machine and it was there until they moved, when over 20 years later. After that, it went missing for many years, but last week, Mom sent me a care package and nestled in with the needlework articles and a FULL SET of EXTRA knitting needles was the pincushion. She sent it expressly so that I could share it with you.
Although my first piece of self-inspired embroidery was made when I was about 5, this heart was really the beginning of my love of needlework. It was that year that Mom started teaching us to sew--even getting my sister and me a heavy duty sewing machine to share. Not much remains from those early years, but in the months to come I will see what I can recreate in writing if not in reality.