Sunday, April 19, 2009

What the Easter Bunny brought

Wow, I stepped away from the computer for a little longer than I intended. Anybody still out there?

Last post, I mentioned the great sewing-related gift my aunt gave me at Easter. Here it is, in all its glory.

My aunt Betty, now 84, used to spend summers with my Uncle Charlie at their house in the Poconos. She took her sewing machine with her (even though everything for the summer house that needed sewing was done by my uncle - he could do anything), but she didn't like to carry her old wicker sewing basket. One year my uncle presented her with this case specifically for summer sewing projects.

Aside from the turquoise and white exterior (fabulous enough on its own), it has two compartments, a divided top compartment for spools of thread, and a spacious lower compartment that holds larger items. My aunt was actually going to clean this out before she gave it to me, but she thought I might want to look at it all first. Look at it? I'm going to use this puppy and everything in it.

Most of those glorious technicolor spools are silk thread, and not a one is rotted, I checked.

The lower compartment has packs of rayon seam binding, lace, rickrack, needles, straight pins, two sets of knit cuffs, a few packs of sequins - wondering about those; even in her flaming red-headed youth, Betty wasn't a sequin girl - and, wonder of wonders, two bags of grommets and a grommet setter. I'm sure I'll find a use for all these goodies.

>My aunt is beginning to think about selling her house. At least, some days she thinks about selling it, but almost every day she laments the amount of stuff in the house, and slowly but surely she's trying to get rid of it. Other sewing-related bits have come my way - all her buttons and snaps and trims - but I never even knew she had this, and I can't believe she could give it up. Even though she doesn't do much sewing these days, she doesn't give away lightly anything that my uncle ever touched, and a gift this special seems like something she'd want to keep.

I promised her that I would take good care of it, and I have new respect for my uncle Charlie as a man who knew how to give perfect gifts (another skill to add to sewing, woodwork, boat building, car mechanics, wiring, plumbing, and knitting, which he took up when he was confined to bed after a stroke).

My mom knew how to sew but hated it, but my aunt made almost all her own clothes for years, lots of my uncle's clothes, and the best doll clothes in the world - I got entire wardrobes for my favorite dolls for years every Christmas. My uncle may not have been a blood relative, but I think from him I inherited my inability to sit still without some kind of project in my hands.

And it makes me wonder, was he also responsible for the leopard print fake fur knitting-needle case that's still stowed up in her living room closet? And am I going to have to learn how to knit to earn that one?

I've been sewing away the past couple of days - almost finished a second pair of Ottobre jeans (in denim this time) and I did a test drive of one of Simplicity's new summer top patterns - a winner. More on those (hopefully) tomorrow.

14 comments:

Lori said...

What a wonderful present.

kbenco said...

I am almost weeping reading your post. That is soooo special. I love the connection of generations through hand made things and tools. I have my great grandmother's corduroy covered cigar box in which she kept her mending tools - and a tape measure that is so old and worn you cannot read it, and they are my most precious sewing possessions.

Linda T said...

What a wonderful story and such a special gift!

gwensews said...

That's a treasure!

Elaray said...

What a great acquisition! They don't make things like that anymore.

Lisette M said...

What a wonderful gift!Of course your aunt knows you'll treasure it.

Bunny said...

What an absolute treasure. Your aunt is a wise woman. So often you read in blogland of someone who has passed on leaving a majestic stash to totally uninterested heirs and to the yard sale it goes. How special for you.

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

What a special gift :)

cidell said...

I will not lie. I am jealous. What a terrific gift!

Rose said...

That's one special gift. I know you'll use those treasures inside. Looking forward to seeing the results of your current sewing projects!

Nancy K said...

What a wonderful gift and what wonderful memories you have. Both are amazing gifts. All that silk thread!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

What a fantastic gift! (Both from your uncle to your aunt and your aunt to you.) I absolutely love the color and that thread looks amazing.

Lindsay T said...

Neat-o! You are one lucky girl, Karen.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

That is just tooooo kewl! What a precious treasure!