Mothers Day - All Sewn up
Released On 14th Mar 2021
If this is Fraudian, in the week of Mothers Day, then please let me know what it means.
This week I embraced a long overdue chore, cleaning and tidying my mothers sewing box.
Because this box is a quick go to area for running repairs and sample prototypes etc. the surface area gets quite a lot of action, but frankly the bottom section has been ignored for far too long, so much so that the random escapee pins peppering the bottom of the box have gone rusty.
As with anything that has sat untouched for quite a while there was an array of different things that made me smile, or question why they were saved in the first place ! - Such as cheap plastic christmas cracker gifts, why would you save those five strangely shaped pieces of thin colourful plastic which, when assembled correctly make a square?
Anyway after sorting all of the easy stuff, machine feet, spools, tailors chalk, quick unpicks and snips, I had to turn to the messy bits, the spagetti of knotted cotton and items without a real home.
Quite a few of the things had been popped in the sewing box for safe keeping:
An old locket, a single gold stud earring, and a pearl ring with one pearl missing - in terms of value I guess they were the "treasure" so no hidden fortune and no chance of retiring on the strength of it.
But actually, as with life, the more interesting and worthwhile stuff was bobbing around in the flotsom, here are a few pieces that made me smile.
Girl Guide Whistle - The Acme Thunderer,
As a young woman, my mum was a keen Girl Guide leader, every week taking charge of a group of Brownies.
Although this was years before I was born, dad would still tease her frequently with jibs about "Brown Owl" or "Snowy Owl" giving out the orders, when chores needed to be done.
Finding the whistle, reminded me of all the great girl guide songs that we would sing in the car, - no radios in those days, so on long journeys the Girl Guide camping songs would keep us entertained,
My personal favourite which I guess would be politically non correct nowadays ! was "We are the Red Men" - all about Native American Indians - or as they were called then "Red Indians". I imagined it being sung around a camp fire with gusto and actions:
We are the Red Men, tall and quaint, In our feathers and war paint , Pow-wow, pow-wow, We're the men of the Old Dun Cow. All of us are Red Men, Feathers-in-our-head-men, Down-among-the-dead-men, Pow-wow !!
Sixpence in old money
Like most homes with owners of a certain age, random pieces of "old money" turn up all over the place, but this old sixpence, was the "Christmas sixpence", - it isn't a real old victorian silver sixpence, this is just a 1966 common or garden version, but an important part of the christmas ritual, inserted into the main Christmas pudding before it was steamed for the first time. As a child, I remember being invited to make my wish as we were giving the puddings one last stir before transferring into basins, tieing on the greaseproof with string and then the interminable time, whilst they steamed.
Then Christmas day the anticipation of who would get the sixpence in their portion of pudding.
I put the sixpence back in the box because now I have a grandson, perhaps one day, i can make Christmas puddings with him and revive that Christmas ritual, who knows ? - but at least I'll have the sixpence in readiness!
Irish Gloving factories.
Going through the reels and reels of old cottons, many of them reminded me of their usage throughout the factory, each job has it's own specific thread, and especially in glove making.
Of all the products we have made, and are still making, I believe leather and sheepskin gloves have the largest variety of skilled making stages, some machined and some hand sewn, and every one of those uses requires a very different thread, in fact with pique making, the under thread (or spool thread) is quite different to the top thread, but I digress.
In my tidying, I found a reel of old handsewing thread with the wrapper still intact, it read Hayes, Banbridge, Northern Ireland, this took me back to my first journey in an aeroplane, I guess I must have been about 10 when Dad had to visit a glove manufacturer in Ireland.
This was, say 1969, and we flew from Bristol to Dublin via Aer Lingus - looking back the plane was very small with 2 seats and then 1 the other side of the aisle - I was very excited.
We went to visit a gloving factory that is still there today and still making beautiful gloves George Horn of Dublin, Brian (the son of George the old boss), is to this day handcutting leather gloves in the traditional table cut method.
We went back several times, during the later visits, driving north to Dundalk and onwards through the countryside, as many of you know I come from Somerset, so we are blessed with countryside ! but I can still remember (50 years later!) how green it was, that was crazy green :0)
We toured around visiting other factories and home based table cutters, everybody was super friendly, then finally returning to Dublin and walking through the busy streets and looking at the River Liffy from the bridge - great memories.
Well for someone who doesn't like cleaning up - there were definately some great Mothers Day rewards and memories gained from that task.
Check out the beautiful OB sheepskin gloves that are still hand cut and hand sewn in the traditional way here:
Category: Cindi's Journal