Mary Katherine Lemmon Smith—my mother

“I take the vest out of the storage box that I keep under my bed and I am transported.  […] I knitted the vest during one week of our vacation in the Adirondacks. Funny how seeing it, touching it, brings back the  time and place. This vest holds the Adirondack Mountains, the lake, and my young children for me,” The Knitting Way — A Guide to Spiritual Self-Discovery by Linda Skolink & Janice MacDaniels

Mary Katherine Lemmon Smith

My mother, Mary Katherine Lemmon Smith, taught me most of what I know about needlework.  And if she didn’t teach me how to do it, she helped me untangle it—from bungled articles of clothing to early knitting attempts.  When we were younger she sewed a lot of our clothes,  including formal gowns.

She is a very creative individual in all aspects of her life.  If she doesn’t know how to do something, she figures it out.  In addition to practical items, she also enjoys making beautiful things like crocheted afghans, fabric album covers, and decorative flags.  She worked for a while as a decorator’s seamstress and sewed many custom-made draperies, comforters and other items.  One year at Christmas she made a set of custom drapes for my living room.

Mom and Dad circa 1953

Mom was born May 15, 1934 in Piqua, Ohio.  She was a straight-A student.  She worked in a department store after high-school graduation and married my father when she was 19.

Mom at her 60th birthday party.

She primarily stayed home to raise the five children she eventually had, which include my sister Annie who was severely handicapped with brain damage.

Mom, Dad, and Annie

Because she was basically house-bound with the care of my sister, my mom put her energies into doing those kinds of things that could be done at home, and sewing became a source of income and pride.

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See The Stitches We Leave Behind under the Series tab above for more links in this 10-part series.

18 thoughts on “Mary Katherine Lemmon Smith—my mother”

  1. She is quite the artist. All those projects stitched, her mind constantly focused on the loved one for whom it was being created. The recipients will always feel her loving touch surrounding them.

    1. I wish I could have found photos of more things. She produced so many things. Some of the dresses were beautiful. I probably have a photo or two around here somewhere, but I was out of town when I posted this and wasn’t able to look.

  2. I loved seeing all of her handiwork, Christine!!! What a talented lady and I am sure that you have so many of the things that she made for you over the years. Thanks for sharing a big of your mom with us!

    1. She’s always been inventive and creative. She’s run out of steam in recent years, however. I wish I had photos of everything she made.

  3. Sewing is a skill I have always wished to acquire yet never did. Your mother’s ability is certainly an inspiration to try to learn! Thank you for sharing, Christine!


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