Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sisters?...sisters...

"...there were never such devoted sisters...". Anybody been watching the old Bing Crosby movie "White Christmas"? I have, and of course that song keeps running through my head *VBS*We are sisters...but devotion wasn't part of the picture, in any sense of the word. I was almost 7 when my middle sister was born, in 1947. I don't remember welcoming her with open arms. By 1951, when sister #2 came along, I was nearly 11 and DEFINITELY did NOT want another sister(or brother for that matter. Much falls to us oldest daughters...too much in my opinion.
Being so much older, I was grown and out of the home while my middle sister was in the early grades. My youngest sister was 7 when I married. I had little to no part of their growing up. That probably explains alot. Or maybe I wasn't a natural born caregiver.
But sewing is what is on my mind today. I come from a maternal background of NON-SEWERS. My Mom didn't even do buttons or patches on my Dad's pants..he did them himself.
My belowed Gram Lottie, who lived with us, didn't sew either. Neither she nor my Mom did any kind of needlework. I was the kid at school with store bought mittens, and longed for a pair of homemade ones. I finally got them from a friend at age 46. I still have them and treasure them....I was very much a lost kitten with no mittens, but I have some now.
I had a disasterous 9 weeks of sewing in 7th grade. I was in a Jr. High setting and we got 9 weeks each of cooking, sewing, art and something else I've forgotten. We made a gathered skirt. I blew it on day ONE by buying a border print fabric, which obviously could only go ONE WAY. I got reamed out royally by the teacher. The skirt was a horrid disaster that I NEVER wore beyond class.
And again in 8th grade....9 weeks of sewing. We made fitten(tailored) blouses. I chose pale blue. I suppose it turned out ok but I hated it!! I never wore it either.
After that I was on my own....no sewing for this artsy gal....only drawing and painting...ya!!
But that was at age 12 and 13. The summer I was approaching 15, I began to realize I needed more clothes than my parents were able to provide for me. I begged shamelessly and my Dad bought me a sewing machine. A nice little machine- about $50- from the local furniture store, Mason's. They put their own brand on it and Dad even bought me the cabinet for it. I figured out that I could make a soft pleats skirt with about the same yardage as a gathered one(which looked terrible on me), and I did. I put in the zipper and put on the waistband, following a simple skirt pattern. Next I tried a sleeveless pull over the head blouse with neck and armhole facings. It zipped on one side to give it shape. Now I could have a full cotton skirt and blouse to match for summer dating *VBS*. I never looked back. I sewed for myself a fair amount off and on through high school. After I married(at 18) I made curtains and then moved on to make nighties, slacks, shorts, dresses and even coats. I taught myself to knit and to crochet. I even learned to cook....LOL
But that sewing machine from my Dad, back in 1954 or '55 is what really changed the course of my life. I became accomplished at something that meant something to me. Not the same as taking shorthand or typing 60 words per minute.
For most of my married life, I made nearly all the clothes I wore for work and then baby clothes and much of my childrens clothes.
Quilting didn't figure into my life(other than sewing squares together) until 1977 when an elderly aunt got me started piecing a quilt by hand. A few years later and another move across the state, brought me to a friend who taught quilting. I signed up for a sampler class, and was almost immediately in trouble for not doing things "by the book". I've never looked back. I credit her for getting me on the path of 1/4" seam allowances and having triangles that actually have "points"(for the most part...LOL) She taught me the hand quilting part, which is my true love...running the stitches....line after line. There is a passion involved, just ask Tonya, or anyone who is a "hand quilter". There's nothing quite like it...I suppose applique comes close, but quilting gives you the 'definition' of light and shadow. The depth your eye sees when you look at a quilt.
I've been sorely missing my sewing time this week. It tends to make me a bit grumpy. And while I am truly looking forward to my children and grandchildren gather at my home....part of me is just itching to get back to my projects *VBS* Happy December 20th everyone.....shortest day of the year tomorrow....we'll be turning towards the light again soon.

17 comments:

Ms. Jan said...

You said a mouthful girlfriend and have given me an idea for a blog post myself as the middle of three sisters. Great post!

Shelina said...

I can see how having a big age difference would make it hard to really get to know your siblings. You thought you had your parents all to yourself, and then all of a sudden you had to help babysit. I was a middle child too, but we are close in age. Being the oldest girl, I wound up having to make lunches, etc., which didn't seem fair to me either!

Good luck to you as you get ready for your family gathering. Ours will be on the 23rd as well, although we won't have quite as many people.

Quilt Pixie said...

being an only child I've never really understood the idea of bonding with siblings -- can't say I ever longed for them either.. it was enough work keeping myself organized without others to interfere with things :-)

Katie said...

Are you kidding? Not a natural born care giver? I've never known anyone more of a genuine care giver. Maybe sometimes to the point of forgetting to do for herself also? If you weren't born with it, what do you think turned you on? Maybe having your own family. I remember that my mother always complained that that I couldn't care less about our home and wouldn't do housework unless absolutely forced to, and then I was very slow and negative about it. Once when Mom was complaining, my dad told me it would be different when it was my own home. I never got into the cleaning thing but did get into the making my own home mine with lots of creating including using fabric and food. Did you just need your own home and family for your care giver to come out? I know all of us in blogland are so thankful you are such a wonderful care giver to all of us. Hugs from Katie!

Sue in western WA said...

I get grumpy when I don't sew often enough too. Turns out we'll have DD and the DGD's here a few more days than I was planning for between now and Christmas morning... that could be a problem! It's really hard to sew and tend babies at the same time!

Susan said...

I was appalled at your teacher's reaction to your buying a border print. Why didn't she just show you how to use it effectively instead of yelling at you? It's amazing that you ever wanted to sew again!

Quilt Memories said...

Sisters, am writing about mine on my blog tonight!!Interesting life I think!!
Sewing is something I have done ever since I can remember,can't understand people who don't!
Sewing makes my heart SING

KCQuilter said...

Oh, so many things about this post I can relate to!!! I'll comment on two. I am a middle sister and boy, does that explain a lot! Not the son I'm sure Daddy would have loved to have and not the "baby of the family" for everyone to dote on LOL! And grade school/high school sewing classes? What a joke. I always had the perfection-bent, grumpy, condescending teachers for home ec (it was called homemaking back then) and was so turned off on sewing clothes until my first teaching job when I HAD to have clothes--so I learned. Oh, well, all's well that ends well, I guess!! Have a wonderful Christmas.

Libby said...

I was fortunate in that by the time 7th grade came around, I had a choice. I chose to learn Spanish and to buy my clothes *s* That left me with the complete inability to operate a sewing machine when I decided I wanted to make a quilt. My darling Hubby - enchanted by the engineering feat of that machine - read the book, worked out how to thread it and fill a bobbin and then offered me patient and thorough instruction. The rest is history *s*

Kathie said...

Finn
you have such great memories of your life.
Very fun to read over the years.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy every minute of it!
Kathie

meggie said...

What a lovely post. I really enjoy reading about other people's lives, & childhood memories.
I was so lucky both my grandmothers loved sewing & one grandmother was a fabulous crochet worker too. My mother taught me to sew & knit & we learnt to crochet together.

Sandy said...

finn...I really enjoyed reading about your childhood and your love for sewing. I stopped by to wish my first blog friend a Merry Christmas. Hope that your gathering with the family will keep you busy enough not to think of your sewing projects for just those moments. hehehe

Merry Christmas dear long lost friend.

cher said...

soon enough you will be playing with your fabrics dear Finn...it is always fun to remember back to how you became acquainted with thread and needle-such unique stories you share!
have the merriest of times my friend

Sweet P said...

I am the youngest child and only girl of four children. My mom always had a job outside of the home and my grandma taught me to sew, crochet, needlepoint and cook. I always had new home made clothes until my mom had a job in a women's clothing store.

With three boys I didn't have anyone to share needlecrafts and sewing with, at least not until one of them married. Now my DIL loves to sew with me. She won't even sew with her grandmother who is also a quilter. I guess I'm lucky.

Marcie said...

Hi Finn, I hope you are enjoying yourself with loved ones, in spite of the weather I see you are having. Merry Christmas!

Karen said...

I had the absolute oddest home ec teacher. Yish. But nothing could kill my love of sewing clothes. Well, you may not have had much in common, but what a wonderful photo of the three of you.

Tracey in CT said...

Finn, I just wanted to mention to you how much I enjoy reading the stories you post...