slowly reached up to feel the top of her
head. With her hands high, she gently felt
for the large maple leaf that had drifted
down from heights above and landed right
on top of her head!
“Oh my goodness Look, Grandmother!”
Lucie exclaimed. She held out a very large
reddish yellow leaf in front of her. “It is so
big! And look at the colors; they are beautiful! And it landed right on top of my
head!” Lucie said, nearly squeaking.
“What an absolutely incredible leaf,
Lucie! It’s the perfect size and shape of a
maple leaf and the color is just stunning. I
think you’re right, it’s too bad we can’t save
some of these leaves to remind us of fall
and the beauty that happens every year at
this time,” Grandmother said, running a
finger over the center of the leaf.
“Actually, I think maybe we can do
something with this leaf, Lucie. When I
was a little girl, I found a very pretty and
very large leaf just like this. I took it home
to show my mother, and she helped me
trace the leaf on to white muslin and then
use candlewicking stitches to sew a design
on the pattern line. I made a sofa pillow
with it. I haven’t thought of that pillow in
years! I have no idea what happened to it,
but it was so pretty!” Grandmother said,
smiling and rubbing her finger back and
forth over the leaf again.
“Candlewicking?” Lucie asked, her
nose scrunching up with a perplexed
expression. “What’s that?”
“Oh, candlewicking is as old as America
is! In colonial days the women were
restricted on the threads and fabrics they
could use. They had to become very inventive to have pretty decorative items in their
homes, so they created candlewicking.
Traditional candlewicking uses the actual
wick cord that would be used in making
candles, using that to sew a very special
knot called a Colonial Knot. These special
knots would be sewn along the pattern line,
and the knots themselves became the actual
pattern. Because candle wicks are so thick,
holes would be created in the cotton fabric,
which was usually muslin. After the
stitching was done, the fabric would be
boiled or have boiling water poured over it.
Because cotton fabric shrinks with heat, the
holes would close up and enclose the knot
threads, making the design extra strong,”
“Woooow! That sounds . . . mmm . . .
really strange!” Lucie said, somewhat
confused, her face wrinkled up trying to
follow what Grandmother had just told her.
“It’s actually simpler than it sounds. The
Colonial Knot is like a figure eight and
makes a nice, big, lumpy knot. Many people
think it is actually a French Knot, but the
two knots are very different. Traditional
candlewicking, the American way, uses a
Colonial Knot, and that’s what I will teach
you. It is so easy you will be amazed!”
Grandmother said and smiled. “Don’t worry
a bit about it. You will have fun and learn
something new that your American ancestors had been doing for centuries!”
Grandmother thought for a moment and
then said, “I think I will make a pillow too.
You can make a maple leaf pillow
using your special maple leaf as a
pattern, and I will gather
several leaves from different
types of trees for my pillow.
Won’t those both be lovely
pillows to place on the
Lucie smiled, knowing
that whatever sewing
project Grandmother would
be willing to teach was fun
and something Lucie would look forward
to. Together both Grandmother and Lucie
began searching for special leaves
Grandmother could use for her pillow.
Patches of filtered sunlight lit the
pathway as the two trod onward until only
their silhouettes were seen, and those, too,
eventually disappeared as the day wore on
. . .
Rebekah Wilson is a happy wife and
mother of eight homeschooled children.
She authored The Hope Chest: A Legacy
of Love and owns Hope Chest Legacy. Her
Grandmother’s Hope Chest series has a
special place in the hearts of mothers and
daughters. This story is a short example of
what you will find in the book series.
All original artwork
by LaNell Davenport©