One Sunday, our great-grandmother, a strict Scottish Presbyterian woman, discovered our mother (her daughter-in-law) sewing. She firmly told her that Sunday was a day of rest, which apparently meant no sewing. She warned her that any stitch made on a Sunday would have to be undone after the maker died - with her nose. Interestingly this did not deter our mother. She has continued to sew on Sundays but has asked that when she dies, before she is buried, someone attach a stitch ripper to the end of her nose.
My first sewing memories begin with the amazing dresses our grandmother, Mardi, made for her five grand daughters. Fine Liberty prints, shirred summer dresses, peter pan collars, lace trim and pearl buttons - all made on her old Singer sewing machine. I remember it, shiny black with elegant gold writing. I don't ever remember seeing her sitting at it though. Her creativity must have happened at quiet times, away from the chaos of her family.
Our other grandmother, Mamma, was a knitter. We used to stay with her in the holidays. We watched our jumpers grow on her knitting needles as she watched Beau and Hope, Days of Our Lives' star crossed lovers, first fall in love. As we got older we spent hours poring over knitting books, picking out the jumper that she would make for us all each winter. We both still have a soft spot for Days of Our Lives!
Our Mum can only be described as a crafting force.
I remember the gabardine pinafores she made for us to wear to preschool in the 70s. I also remember the dresses she made for me to wear for school book week when I wanted to be the Patchwork Princess or Rapunzel.
When Caroline (the youngest in our family) started school, Mum learnt to quilt and she has never stopped. She has taught many of the women in her community to quilt and through her, I have learnt about the great joy crafting in a group can bring. By osmosis, I have learnt the name of most quilt blocks. So has my Dad!
She has also taught us about crafting as a business. She funded her first overseas trip with a knitting machine, knitting scarves for the local football clubs before they were readily available. She ran craft sales from the front verandah of our house when the height of crafty elegance was fabric covered tissue boxes and padded picture frames.
Now she encourages her eight grandchildren with all of their creative endeavours and gives us the confidence to start this blog and this business together.
I don't know if there is a crafting gene knitted tightly into our family's DNA or if it is through their example that Caroline and I share the crafting passion of these women. Whatever it is, I thank them for showing us the way.