I have very fond memories of learning to sew. I would have been around four years old when I learnt how to use a needle and thread and I was barely seven when I was first allowed to use my grandmothers old sewing machine.
I can remember sitting at the end of the kitchen table with my grandma’s big black Singer with all the fancy gold decals in front of me, slowly turning the hand crank and watching the tiny scraps of fabric being pulled through as the needle went up and down. Whenever my mother sewed I would go through the scraps to find pieces large enough for my “projects”. I made so many miniature sized cushions and bedspreads, stuffing them carefully with crumpled up tissues, making sure they were the right size for my dolls.
While I can remember that it was my mother who sewed clothes for us, it was my grandma watching over me that lingers so strongly in my memories. She was patient with me but never sugar-coated her opinions, I was making tissue stuffed rectangles after all! If I made a mistake she took the time to correct me, showed me where I went wrong and then tapped the machine and let me get back to it. I don’t ever remember her being frustrated, with me or with that sewing machine. Both of us were pretty gutted the day we discovered it had gone missing from under the house. My grandma accused my mother of throwing it away, my mother pleaded her innocence and insisted someone had walked in off the street, seen it and thought they’d help themselves. I’m still not sure what happened to it- and twenty years later I still missed that machine. In a way I lost some of my memories and part of my family history the day that machine disappeared.
So I shared my story with Karl earlier this year.