Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Stitches in Time...

...or, the time when I started stitching.

That was a long time ago, in Argentina.  I was about seven or eight years old. My mother was a wonderful stitcher and crafter, and I used to watch her work, fascinated by her skill and imagination. She made beautiful dresses for me and my sister, knitted us nicely-fitting cardigans, and made household things like oven gloves, aprons, tea cosies, etc.  She also made decorative things, from all sorts of materials, and was also a competent photographer.  I know that in the past she had tried out other crafts, such as pyrography, but she always went back to textiles. Later she made unusual soft toys.

May be, in different times and circumstances, she would have been an artist.  But the awareness and opportunities were not there. So she became a creative homemaker.

My mother had a treadle sewing machine, which I was too small to be able to use.  A bit like this one:

But one day, a friend of my father travelled to USA and brought her back an electrical portable Singer sewing machine. It was really an all singing, all dancing model. It had attachments that performed all sorts of tasks, including completely automatic buttonholes. And my mother taught me how to use it.  The pedal was placed on a stool so I could reach it.  I started stitching simple flat items, but soon graduated to dolls' clothes (and my dolls acquired a very ample wardrobe!), and eventually, to making my own clothes. (I never made household items though!)

This is exactly how that machine looked like, with its black box and the black pedal.  Every one of its details are here in this image.  Isn't the internet wonderful?!

My love affair with machines probably also started then. I moved on to typewriters (typing with all my fingers), cameras, music machines of all sorts, and eventually, to computers.   

We had sewing lessons at school, too, and I hated them. It was hand sewing, and little bits of embroidery, like for a handkerchief. It may sound odd, but I was almost bottom of the class in school sewing, while at home I was spending as much time as I could at the sewing machine.

Where am I going with all this?  A stitch in time, it does not mean 'saves nine' to me. A stitch in time is to do with time for stitching, stitching times, stitching places, occasions, opportunities, excitement, imagination.

And I better go back to stitching now!  On my all singing, all dancing, wide throated, up-to-the-minute sewing machine.

But I wish I still had that old machine!  I couldn't bring it with me to England when I first came, and I left it with my sister, to look after.  But she is not a stitcher - although she is an artist - and she lent it to somebody, and it never came back.


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