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When I was 11 years old, my Aunt Marie taught me how to sew, knit, and crochet. Money was scarce when she was young so her mother made all her clothes. When Marie got a little older, her mother taught her to sew for herself. There were never any store bought patterns. Her mother taught her how to make her own patterns with a marker and a stack of newspapers.

As I think back on it now, I’m sure if I had been a bit older I would have told Aunt Marie it was too hard. As young as I was, I listened and followed her directions. Marie had no formal training, only the skills learned from her mother. She taught me how clothes were constructed, and I learned to make patterns with a marker and a stack of newspapers. When I ran out of fabric, I started looking in my brothers closet for clothes he wouldn’t miss. I ripped out all the seams from his clothes and used the fabric to make my own designs. He never knew!

I think about Aunt Marie all the time when I am sewing. It is that “I can do that” attitude that she instilled in me that has allowed me to paint, weave, quilt, and do woodworking and woodcarving. Aunt Marie never had any children of her own to pass on the skills her mother taught her. I am so thankful that she chose to share her talents with me. I think she would be pleased to know that I’m still sewing. I have been sewing for 39 years now, and I still pull out the newspaper when I have an idea for a new project.