Our family does needlework including sewing, embroidery, and crocheting together in the evenings. Three generations sitting around the living room or on Grandma’s porch, joking and chatting while we stitched together (or we were snapping green beans). Our household produced beautiful pieces with Scottish tatting, eyelet, embroidery, and crochet pieces.

Scottish Tatting

Sedilla Oxendine 1908My Great-Grandmother did Scottish tatting and embroidery on elegant dish towels, quilts, doilies, pillowcases, and dresses. Her name was Sedilla and everyone called her Dillie. Her mother was half Scottish, she is in the center of the front row . The three sisters were left to right, Beulah, Sedilla, and Bernice.


Opal Kilpatrik 50Sedilla had a daughter named Opal who was my Grandma. She did embroidery in colored flosses making days-of-the-week dishtowels, flowers, herbs, quilts, table cloths, and napkins. My Grandma taught me how to do embroidery stitches on small things like pillowcases and napkins. After I learned how to do all the basic embroidery stitches sufficiently, I graduated from her 101 courses and slipped into the real world of embroidery from there.

First Real Project

When I was in high school, Grandma gave me my first real embroidery project as my Christmas present. It was a full tablecloth kit made by Bucilla who’s name has changed to “plaid on” now. This tablecloth kit was a rose & flower pattern that had the thread, cloth, needles, and hoop in it with instructions similar to a paint-by-number set. Put this color floss here, using this stitch. This first tablecloth was a daisy and rose pattern with vines and leaves taking me an entire year to finish. Seems like maybe, there were a million times where I needed to change the thread colors. I threaded a different color into my needle so many times, that it truly became second nature. Many times I thought that maybe it would be impossible to finish. But each evening I stitched on it some more and finally, it was done.

It would not surprise me, to find out that my family had placed bets on whether I would finish it or not. Probably the most significant result has been the creation of a lifelong habit that I dearly love.

Opal Kilpatrick 89Grandma was also responsible for many of my best recipes. Her name was Opal (Canniff) Kilpatrick. Being half Scottish and half Indian she had beautiful white hair just like her Mom. Here is a picture of her pausing for a photo for me in the Lihue, Kauai HI airport before we walked over to the gate for her to climb up the stairs to catch her flight.

She had come to visit me and my kids before moving away to the mainland to live with her sister in Oklahoma. I snapped this photograph with one of those old Kodak 110 film cameras, little did I know, this would be the last time I’d see her in person before she passed away. I still miss her and keep this picture in my wallet. Whenever I spread my rose and daisy tablecloth on the dining room table for a special occasion, I hear Grandma’s voice.

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