Saturday, December 11, 2021

Preserving Our Family's Legacy of Needlework

Last year, I wrote about my husband's grandma Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure's needlework legacy. A love of sewing and crocheting has continued in that family to the present day. I've wrapped each item in archival tissue to keep it safe for the future when it will be inherited by the next generation.

In my family, we have a number of hand-made needlework items we treasure for their beauty and for the long tradition they represent. 

At left, a detail from an embroidered set of linens by my mother, Daisy Schwartz Burk (1919-1981). The set is in great condition, washed and ironed and stored in an archival box for preservation. I put a label on the box to indicate who made the needlework and who inherits it.

Mom learned to embroider and to crochet from her mother, Hermina Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964), who also used her treadle machine to sew clothes. I imagine Hermina learned needlework from her mother, Lena Kunstler Farkas, and so on.

Love of needlework has been passed down from generation to generation in my Farkas family. Here are two afghans, one knit by a special cousin and one crocheted by a special niece. Each time I cuddle up in one of these, I think of the person who painstakingly made it, one stitch at a time. 

My hope is that by documenting these homemade heirlooms, and keeping them safe, future generations will be know they come from a very long line of talented needlework enthusiasts. 

None of my ancestors were quilters, but I got interested and over the years, I've made a number of wall quilts, bed quilts, and baby quilts. Each one has a label attached to the back, showing my name as the quilter, the date, and a photo...sometimes the photo is me, sometimes of the recipient if the quilt was a gift.

Now another of my nieces has taken up quilting and enjoys stitching quilts for her young ones and for friends. I'm so happy the tradition of homemade needlework is continuing in our family!

This is my week 49 post in Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors series of genealogy prompts.


  1. Documenting our heirlooms is important and may ensure future caretaking. Your examples are beautiful.

  2. Made by our ancestors’ hands. Yay.

  3. Too funny. I just finished my post about counted cross stitching I did. The items you have are beautiful.

  4. Love this! I have an afghan on my bed made by my grandmother, and a quilt made by my auntie for my wedding. I'm inspired by your post, and hope to photo and document some of our family quilted heirlooms for a future post of my own. Thank you for sharing.