Just a Stitch in the Family Tapestry

Have you ever heard of Alice in Wonderland syndrome? It’s a unique little neurological disorder that affects about 10% – 20% of the population and tends to disappear as we grow older. I had no idea it was even a thing until I reached adulthood and stumbled on an article online. As soon as I read it I squealed, “So that’s what it was!!!” because I had something very similar to it when I was a kid. I can’t say for sure it was Alice in Wonderland syndrome because I never told anyone about it and was never tested but I remember the experiences very vividly.

There would be moments (sometimes a minute, sometimes an hour) where spatial and size proportions were completely messed up. I mean, a piece of furniture one foot away from me would look tiny enough to fit inside of a dollhouse! The weirdest thing though was when I was once sitting in the living room with my family and I felt like I was the size of a fingernail. I know it sounds odd but the point of all of this is to share how quickly I realized how small and inconsequential everything is compared to the world around us. We are all just this tiny blip on the radar, a speck in the desert sands, a stitch in the great tapestry, but sometimes, even now, I feel left out.

I don’t live near any of my family anymore and sometimes I feel like this great family tapestry of ours is being woven for history and I’m not a part of it though lately I’ve been feeling determined to change that by developing my sewing skills with and reconnecting with the identity of both myself and my family heritage.

Sewing and needlecraft goes back in my family for generations (as I’m sure it does in a lot of families). Almost all of my relatives back home in West Virginia quilt (it’s a big thing there as evident by the Annual West Virginia Quilt Festival), cross stitch, or sew. In fact, I have my grandmother’s last quilt at home right now lovingly draped over the side of a chair in my living room. I would love to use it but I’m far too scared to damage it because there are already showing signs of wear and some of the threading is coming loose. I’ve wanted to repair it for years but I don’t have the skills to do so and I’m worried about ruining her beautiful needlework. Besides, even if I wanted to repair it (and even if I knew how to repair it) I couldn’t because I don’t have the equipment. 

When my grandmother passed away in July, 2010 my younger sister received my grandmother’s sewing machine. I don’t recall what kind it was but it came complete with sewing table and this gorgeous black iron scrollwork along the side. It was beautiful! I wanted it so badly but it meant a lot to my sister so I didn’t put up any protest. Now that Brandon and I are house-hunting I’m hoping to have a space in our new home to set up a blogging / crafting room where I can put a sewing machine and learn how to develop the sewing skills I need to not only repair my grandmother’s quilt but also to hem my own pants, make my own curtains, and do other work.

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I recently discovered and saw that Steve Tramell, the owner and operator, joked that “These are not your grandmother’s sewing machines, but we can sure service your grandmother’s sewing machine and help you learn how to use it, too.” It felt kind of cosmic since it was my grandmother’s sewing machine that even sparked my interest in the craft. 😉 

Steve Tramell of with his family in Atlanta, Georgia, founded here in Atlanta, GA in 1983 as Southeast Sewing Products, is one of the largest family-owned and operated sewing machine distributors in the U.S.. They not only distribute Brother digital garment printers and commercial embroidery machines but they also operate as an authorized dealer and service center for home sewing and embroidery machines as well as commercial sewing machines from brands like Consew, Juki, Pfaff, Singer, and Brother. The best part (for me) is that they offer classes for the beginner and advanced seamstress. The classes offer the opportunity to test different models of equipment before purchase which is great for a brand new novice like myself and I can’t wait to get signed up and sharpen my sewing skills! 

I’d love to share the quilt restoration with you all once it’s finished (after I learn how to do it, of course) and my other sewing projects as they come about. Next up on my list of family skills to learn is gardening and canning but one thing at a time, right? Maybe one day I’ll even be able to make these adorable canning jar bonnets for my own canned goods. My family would be so proud, lol.

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