Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shirley's Stitches

When in Hawkes Bay last week on a wee holiday we popped in to see my Aunty Shirley. Whilst we sat in her tastefully appointed lounge I couldn't help but allow my eyes to wander onto her beautiful needlework. It was artfully displayed just behind and to the right of where she was sat as we chatted. Her home is FULL of a great variety of her exquisite stitches. One piece she claims to treasure more than any other as it was stitched at a painful time when her son's health was precarious.

As we moved into her living area for her to make our tea we spotted 'stitches in progress' on the table - Christmas decorations for the gala to raise funds for her granddaughters teeny country school. She is aiming to make 100 of them and I'm sure she will do just that!

I have lots of 'stitch-related' memories of Aunty Shirley which are precious to me. I feel honoured to have had many women in my life who have inspired me to stitch... not least of all my own dear, patient mother who untangled many a wayward stitch of mine! AND allowed sewing chaos to take over our small family lounge room for many years - all in the name of giving our creativity full rein!

Holly, a niece of ours has lately been keeping me up-dated with her own fledgling journey into the world of stitching which reminds me of my own beginning... a Girl Guide biscuit box crammed full with fabric fragments, pins, needles and threads, domes and lace and a Mary Poppins doll just begging for a trendy ensemble! And many an ensemble I did stitch including a little lace bra... imagine the teeny-ness of it if you will!!!

In 1932 Lady Bledisloe, wife of the then Governor General attended the handicraft exhibition of the Women's Institute's annual conference in Wellington and was overheard to say, 'I feel I want to go home and make something.'

Where did all these desires to stitch have their inception? Not everyone is taken with it... are there less and less taking up needle and thread or needle and yarn? Or is there in fact a revival of such things?

'New Zealand had more home dressmakers per head of population than any other country in the world, proclaimed NZ Woman & Stitch magazine in 1974.'
web page hit counter
web page hit counter