Visit Lights To Stitches' Embroidery Site
My name is Elaine. I am 40 years married to husband Paul, the father of our three sons and grandfather of our 7 grandchildren. I met Paul in San Diego where I attended college and he served in the US Navy. His proposal consisted of asking my father's permission and promising me we would live in his home state of Washington-western Washington where there are no poisonous snakes.
I have enjoyed all forms of textile work, sewing, quilting, knitting, embroidery, crocheting, weaving, spinning for as long as I can remember. My boys sewed their own shirts by the time they started school, sitting on my lap. It saved us money and they could brag they had their own personal tailor. They would do needle point for their grandma and help with the quilts. Hooked rugs became their specialties.
I bought my first embroidery machine and software before I retired. I was determined to learn to digitize and would come home from work at a Naval Weapons Station, cook dinner and hit the computer. I figured an hour a day, everyday trying every icon and I would learn how to digitize. The book that came with the software sure didn't help but trial and lots of error did the trick-slowly, very slowly.
In January of 2001 Paul came home and announced we were leaving for a trip around North America on March 21st. Pack up the house, find a Real Estate agent and pack the RV was my new job. We would take our savings, buy travelers checks and leave. We would set aside enough money to get home on and just keep driving until the money ran out. So with two sewing machines and two computers we hit the road.
That's when the lighthouse designs started. They became the souvenirs of our great, once in a lifetime adventure. I could do this. The first one took me over a week-Chatham Massachusetts.
But we were hooked. We drove less than 200 miles a day. And we would get educated each day at a museum or..a lighthouse. The history of the lights, the thrill of actually finding them gave the whole trip a goal. We made it to Newfoundland-as far east as we could drive. We saw whales and puffin and lighthouses. We toured the entire perimeter of Prince Edward Island-we had a lighthouse passport to help us there. We toured the home where Anne of Green Gables was conceived-a dream of ours ever since we watched it on PBS.
I needed 62 lights for the quilt I selected. I had 24 by January 2002 when we were in Texas. I had my 62 by the time we left Texas in May-and a wonderful, new granddaughter.
We came home June of 2002 in time for Paul to file for his Social Security. I joked I was a homeless bag lady as our home on the island sold while we were in Newfoundland. Hubby fixed that and built us a new home in four months. We were still living in the RV in the backyard while he built. He's so good, he builds the house, cuts my quilt pieces, presses my seams and never complains about my mess. We have yet to unpack more than the bare minimum as we left again-this time to see the great lakes lights. We still had some travelers checks left. This was a shorter trip of 8 months. Now there are over 800 lighthouse designs and still no quilt. But we do have curtains and wall hangings and everywhere we look we see 800 fond memories. There are over 100 on our shower curtain alone.
The idea of selling the designs came from a friend. It could help pay for another trip to see more lights. Little did I imagine the people I would meet. We visited some in Michigan and Ohio on our second trip. Ladies who had bought designs and sent me photos of lights we had missed. I have lighthouse designs from UK, Aruba, Belize, Panama and Australia. I can't drive the RV there but through the sharing of others I can enjoy the lights. And I can share the designs with you.
As you look through the lighthouse design at Lights to Stitches you will see little clues to their history.
That is why they have their dates and names and location. They are more than buildings, they are history lessons.
Long may they stand and remind us of our roots.
Enjoy the lights.
Lights To Stitches