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Stitching memories



Lisa Adam remembers when she was in her 20s she told her mom that she hated sewing and she’d never do it. Her mother replied with a skeptical “OK,” and since then, Adam has sewed every day. Now, she’s made a business out of it.

MEMORIES IN THE STITCH Lily Stitches Owner Lisa Adam created a quilt made with patches of her late grandmother’s work and a bear made from a fur coat given to her by her late father. - PHOTO BY CARMEN AGUILA-TORNERO
  • Photo By Carmen Aguila-Tornero
  • MEMORIES IN THE STITCH Lily Stitches Owner Lisa Adam created a quilt made with patches of her late grandmother’s work and a bear made from a fur coat given to her by her late father.

Adam opened Lily Stitches last year, which started as an embroidery business and quickly turned into something much more personal. Now, she makes memory quilts, or quilts made to remember a person or event from materials they owned.

Her grandmother taught her all about making quilts while Adam was growing up, she said. In the summertime, she would go to her grandmother’s home in North Carolina where she sat down and learned how to sew while the other kids got to go outside.

“When I was growing up, girls learned how to sew and the boys were out playing in the garden,” she said.

Adam remembers a time when her grandmother made her redo stitches because they were crooked. She was distracted watching the boys playing outside, she explained. When her grandmother came with scissors that just seemed to appear “out of nowhere,” and snipped the stitches off, she thought, “I’m never going to be able to play again.”

But that snipping paid off, she said, and now she does the same thing while teaching her grandkids to sew. Adam said that if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right.

“I can’t say that I was afraid of her,” Adam said of her grandmother, “but man, I respected her like mad. I redid those and it taught me everything.”

When her grandmother passed away, Adam was busy raising her children and “making lunches, not quilts.” But Adam did help her family clean out her grandmother’s closet to donate her clothes to the Goodwill. Adam said she regrets giving all the clothes away. They would have made a great memory quilt, she said, but at the time she wouldn’t have known what to do them. She does have some of her grandmother’s quilt patterns though, and has used them for her own memory quilts.

When Adam lost her father, she didn’t keep anything but an old fur coat he had given her when she turned 15.

“I wasn’t going to keep the clothes,” she explained. “I sure wasn’t going to wear my dad’s clothes.”

But she did have the coat, so she made a teddy bear with the material. Adam hadn’t worn the jacket in years, she said, and rather than just keep it in her cedar chest, she made it into what she now calls a Memory Bear.

“People like to see where the stuff comes from,” she said. “The bear is cool, but it’s not as cool if you don’t know about the jacket.”

To Adam, having something like a quilt, a jacket, or a toy to remember someone by is important. She gets to create something new for families, but it’s also something that belonged to their passed loved one.

“It’s a great way to have people keep a memory and it keeps the person kind of close,” she said. “If there is something that you have that you can cling to, oh, it just makes such a difference.”

Adam also creates quilts to commemorate special events, like graduations or newborns. She’s always willing try new things and accept a challenge, she said.

To see more examples of Adam’s work, visit To place an order or consult with Lily Stitches, email [email protected] or call 491-5459.

Fast Facts

• Local roofing company Page Roofingannounced it is now accepting nominations for its No Roof Left Behind campaign—a nationwide program. Now through Sept. 30, anyone can nominate a friend, neighbor, or family in need. Four finalists will be selected for a final online public vote. For more information visit

Carmen Aguila-Tornero from New Times’ sister paper, the Sun, wrote this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send ideas to [email protected].

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