Monday, July 16, 2012
As I was cleaning out drawers, I found this old Dritz ruler that is cut and warped, but it sure did put a smile on my face! This was my mother's ruler - I remember it hanging on the wall in the pcoket organizer that I made for one Christmas (with my grandmother's help), along with other odds and ends.
My mother was very creative and was always doing something. When I was 8, she got a new sewing maching for xmas/anniversary/birthday, with Nanny pitching in. It was a new Viking and it cost $400! The first thing she did was to make new drapes for the living room. The up side of this new machine was that now she had an old machine, so I learned to sew. My grandmother (Nanny) was one of 9 girls. They grew up in the Depression and were very handy and could do anything. They were also very close and often Great Aunt Jerry and Great Aunt Renie would come and visit when Nanny was here.
Aunt Jerry and Aunt Renie were a force to be reckoned with. Aunt Jerry's husband died when she was about 30, with 3 young kids. Aunt Renie's husband also died young - she didn't have any kids and she did not get remarried, so she moved in with Aunt Jerry to help with the kids (these were my mom's first cousins, who were her age). As the kids grew up and started their own families, Aunt Renie and Aunt Jerry continued to live together. They lived in Toledo, Ohio, and we would stop and see them on our way to Michigan in the summer. I LOVED to stay at their house. They had a 4 bedroom house, and they each had their own bedroom and THEIR OWN SEWING /CRAFT ROOM! I can remember being 8 years old and thinking that was the neatest thing ever.
While my mom and Nanny were busy sewing drapes, Aunt Renie taught me how to sew. She had sewn in a garment factory during the war, so she knew her way around a sewing machine. I started out making bean bags (big hit with all of my brothers and sister), and then moved to an actual garment. I wish I still had it! I had to use fabric that was in Mom's stash, so the picking's were slim, at least to the fashion tastes of an 8 year old in the 70's. The fabric was beige with line drawings of chickens all over. The garment was a one piece jumpsuit - long sleeves and long pants with a zipper up the front. I was so proud!
That started me on my love of sewing. As I got a bit older, mom did sew for us, but nothing fancy - more along the utilitarian lines (although I do remember a dress she made out of Raggady Ann fabric that we bought in Michigan - it had Raggaday Ann and Raggady Andy appliqued on the pockets). Isn't it something that I can still remember where and when I got that fabric 40 years ago?
My mom went on to other things - she knitted and crocheted and then fell in love with toll painting. She started going to toll painting conventions and eventually started to teach. When she passed away, her unfinished wood and paint stash would rival any fabric stash that I know of!
I already had all 4 of my kids when she died (way to early, at 59), and I was already an avid smocker/stitcher/sewer, and she was very appreciative of what I was doing. It would have been fun to go to convention or classes with her, and fabric stores would have been dangerous! She would have fit right in with my smocking friends at convention or at my quilt guild or ASG meetings. If your mom is still around, treasure the time you have!