Wednesday, 26 July 2006

That long, long list

Things to make and do... the list goes on nearly forever. This is good. I believe I should make something special for everyone I care about. I figure I will have to stay alive and kicking as long as I have things I feel that I need to do. I guess it is a good thing that I keep meeting new people to care about. I just keep adding them and new projects to the list.

I want to be sure that my near and dear family have pieces of me long after I am gone. I sew love in with each stitch. They will always be able to hold onto me in that way.

Whether I am sewing, quilting or knitting, every single stitch is made with my love and care.

Silly things, serious things, all these pieces of me will be in their lives. I have spent many, many hours making a wide range of hand-crafted items. Eventually I decided that if I were going to continue spending my time making things that I should make more items that were likely to be around 25 , 30 or 50 years from now (as opposed to the little crafts that are enjoyed for just a few short weeks.)

I remember while I was still a young kid - MAYBE 5 - I really loved making things. Starting with wooden popsicle stick treasure boxes, nylon loop pot holders, woven plastic lanyard bracelets and necklaces, felt pin cushions, empty tin can candle holders with holes punched in highlight a simple design, decorated can pencil holders, Christmas ornaments, etc, etc, etcetera.

I kept a library book out for years of "things to make from everyday items" and I read it over and over again. Isabella, the old lady who lived down the lane (well really around the back and down the alley almost as far as the next block) gave Bianca and I each our own kid-sized real cast metal Singer Sewing machines (beige) - this was in the late 60's I guess. I loved that machine. I touched it reverently, ran it, dreamed of it, was heartbroken when it dissappeared and obsessed over it so much I eventually bought one on eBay last year. I still am amazed that an old lady would give 2 little neighbourhood girls such a wonderful gift just out of the blue.

Doll clothes fascinated me, the toy store on the corner sold special little kits containing printed patterns that were to be cut out and assembled into dresses, blouses, skirts and other Barbie doll clothes. These did not need to be sewn but had special glue dots that were used to press the seams together. I gave Mr. Coopy a lot of my spending money for these kits.

When I spent long nights or days travelling I started to do embroidery and cross stitch. The kits always were complete and so portable. It was about 16 hours on the Greyhound bus from London to New York. A trip I made countless times as a teen.

Finally I started sewing clothes. My first completed item was a zip-front jump suit, made from an ecru (beige) crinkle cotton. I was so psyched up to lay out a length of fabric to run through one room into another and then cut it all up to sew back together and voila- something fun to wear (I did not realize at the time that I was not going to be comfortable dressed like an Air Force helicopter pilot and that going to pee would take as long as a pre-flight safety check.)

The next thing I made was a very pretty light blue, light weight cotton, nehru neck shirt with flowy bell sleeves and a contrasting beige patterned yoke (really testing the colour wheel here). But I loved that top, it was comfy, pretty, nicely styled and I wore it till I wore it out.

Newly married and very poor students, my honey let me buy a basic sewing machine from Consumer's Distributing, 1977, $169.00. The next year we moved to Vancouver, bringing all our wordly goods in 2 suitcases and the 1 sewing machine on the plane. Curtains, clothes, pillows, even a tan coloured tailored suit vest and slacks for that honey of mine (but the 25 cut out pieces for the suit jacket never did make it together for him to wear)... I just love fabric, the textures, the colours, the weave, the feel of it in my hands and the look of it stretched taut.

We brought the sewing machine back east with us when we moved again. That old Brother certainly did not owe me anything for its keep. I sewed and sold so many dolls, toys, tote bags, etc. that it provided me for years with needed spending cash. Poor thing finally started to show signs of slowing down and was traded in for another basic but heavy duty machine. It is a good thing sewing machines are not paid for by the miles put on them. Mine ran all night long for so many nights over so many years.... still sewing away on those vests, tote bags, robes, Cloth dolls, stuffed animals, clothes for the kids, blankets, more curtains, pillows, doll clothes, special dresses, and.... then I started those quilts...

Printed Panel mchine quilted baby quilts were the usual gift from me. I could infuse it with love and joy, warmth and wonderful wishes. From this grew pieced blocks, larger quilts and counting up all these projects would be hopeless. I must have made 80 perhaps - all sizes from mini's to king size. So see, I will keep on going forever. I may as well add another project to my list. Peter knows by now that I never intend to see the list come to an end.

And even better then, that my darling daughter wants me to make special things just for her. For her I have a separate page!!!

P.S. I don't make anything beige anymore.

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