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Little Legacy #11 A Stitch in Time

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Alexander Residence: Little Legacy #11 A Stitch in Time

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Little Legacy #11 A Stitch in Time

@AResidence
Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by predecessors. 

A small heart shaped button fell off my daughter's pyjamas and bounced across the bathroom floor. She chased it and held it up to my face, pinched between her thumb and forefinger.

'Can you fix it?' she said.
'I'll sew it back on' I said, fingers mentally crossed behind my back.

But I underestimated the power of the vortex. I wrote about the vortex here, it's a concept described by Joan Didion in her book about bereavement, My Year of Magical Thinking. One tiny thing can take you far, far away, in this case it's a button.

'I didn't know you could sew,' said Miss L.
'My mum taught me,' I said.

And those four words sent me soaring into the vortex.

I can't conjure one specific memory of sewing with my mum, they are all interwoven now, a vast patchwork quilt of sewing memories, bigger than the sum of it's parts. The book bag we made together for primary school, the clothkits dolls, the buttons we sewed back on, the holes we fixed, the binca we cross stitched, the parallel trousers we made, the adjustments to my prom dress, and my wedding dress.

So one tiny heart shaped button led me to pick up needle and thread again. I started work on a pile of garments I have been avoiding repairing for years, mainly because, despite all she taught me, my mum was the seamstress. When my Dad fell for her in the 60s, she was making her own clothes, stylish creations that made her stand out from the crowd.  She lovingly crafted so many outfits for me and my brother.  But, when she got ill, asking her to fix my clothes seemed wrong, so they were shoved in a bag at the back of the wardrobe.

As I sewed, I heard her voice guiding me. Interwoven into every stitch was a running commentary on how to thread the needle, where to pierce the fabric, how to secure the first and last stitch.

A rather beautiful little legacy, a vortex that effortlessly conjured my mother's voice, and resulted in an immensely satisfying pile of 'new' clothes.

My needle case, made with my mum from left over pyjama material, Miss L's heart shaped pyjama button.
Are there tasks, jobs, hobbies, occurrences that conjure up the voice of someone special? Have you got fond memories of learning a new skill from somebody? I'd love to hear more on this or any little legacy, in a post, or the comments.   More on Little Legacy

@AResidence


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10 Comments:

At 15 September 2011 at 13:00 , Blogger TheMadHouse said...

I read this with tears in my eyes. You know how much I am missing my mum at the moment and since she died I have lost my sewing mojo. My mum loved to sew and she had a needle case I had made her at home which now is in my home.

 
At 15 September 2011 at 14:42 , OpenID kateonthinice said...

Have linked up and a real coincidence as I wanted to talk of my mum's sewing box this week.
Very moving post. For me, even though Dad is still alive, I know whenever I play pool, I will hear his voice in my ear.

 
At 15 September 2011 at 17:02 , Blogger Mel said...

What a sweet and endearing post. It's so wonderful to have these concrete things to hold onto as well as to pass on to link one generation to the next. Those memories are priceless.

 
At 15 September 2011 at 18:27 , Blogger Mummy Plum said...

Hello. Just hopped over from Kateonthinice. Your writing has really moved me. Your blog is lovely too. Looking forward to reading more.

 
At 15 September 2011 at 19:27 , OpenID butwhymummywhy said...

I love this post. You have a wonderful way with words. The idea of a vortex is great one and something I can certainly relate to.

 
At 15 September 2011 at 20:29 , Anonymous Kate, WitWitWoo said...

I hope I've posted my link in the right place this time! Loved your post as usual x

 
At 16 September 2011 at 19:35 , Anonymous MIdlife Singlemum said...

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with all the things I have to teach DD, that my mother taught me - sewing, knitting, crochet, baking, maths, English, history, joined-up writing.... I hpe I have the patience and find the time.

 
At 17 September 2011 at 18:20 , Anonymous A modern Mother said...

What a lovely story Penny. I've never heard of the vortex before, but your words sent me right there. xx

 
At 19 September 2011 at 11:48 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments, I am so behind this week after Miss L starting school and her birthday, I am looking forward to sitting down later and spending some quality time reading and replying x

 
At 27 September 2011 at 12:48 , Anonymous Ella @ Notes from Home said...

Lovely post Penny and a lovely legacy. There's something very comforting about the pace of sewing with a needle and thread too. x

 

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