Monday, 21 October 2019

Update and Continuing with Machine Embroidery Course

I haven’t been sewing anything recently. I’ve managed a few alterations and repairs and a little bit of machine embroidery - though I’ve fallen behind with the course I’m doing. My mother was ill, on palliative care for a few weeks now and died in mid September; her illness was much more prolonged and she was ready to welcome death. I’m not sad that she has died - I am glad for her sake. Yes, of course I miss her - more than I thought even. I’m glad that I was able to spend quite a bit of time with her over these last few weeks and I was with her when she died. We've had the funeral where I wore navy (trousers and jacket) as my black ‘funeral clothes’ don’t fit and I have never got around to actually making or buying any. I don’t think you need to wear black but my mother was 91 and those attending the funeral somewhat traditional. My mother ‘would have been pleased’ with the way the funeral went.

We’ve cleared her flat - she has lived for about a year in rented sheltered accommodation. This should have meant that there was a lot less stuff to go through - after all we’ve moved her three times in the last 3 and a half years but there was still so much. We already have a lot of her possessions here. There just wasn’t room where she was. I’ve had to bring the paperwork home with me as I couldn’t deal with it there and we had a very limited time in any case to move out. Those of you who have been through this will know how difficult this process is. It brings back memories apparently forgotten. There are lots of photographs from the past of course. My mother was very attached to a few pieces - paintings and ornaments and I really don’t know what to do with the ones that others don’t take. I have chosen two little ornaments that were around literally all my life and will remind me so much of her. Such a lot went to charity shops as did her furniture as sadly no-one wanted that and we couldn’t take it.

My mother was very supportive of my sewing. Quite surprised of course as I had shown no inclination whatsoever in that direction when I was younger. At school I took science which precluded domestic science. She loved the stripey bag I made earlier in the summer and I gave her that - and had instructions to make her one in navy for Christmas. I was looking forward to doing that as it was nice to think she would have something she wanted. She was too frail to manage the weight of a leather bag, so the fabric one would have been perfect. She was always a bit difficult to buy for as there was nothing she needed, she said. I never really understood that until the last few years when my children ask what I’d like ….

I had a bit of a break just before the funeral  and David and I went to a 40s weekend at Tanfield Railway. This was actually one of his photography course outings. Last year, I broke my foot just before we were due to go to the Pickering 40s weekend  so David went alone and suggested we go this year in costume. That’s not going to happen as there just isn’t time. Next year we will go to Pickering and possibly make it a family event. Yes, and dress up.
The Tanfield event however, was different and didn’t involve the public in dressing up, it seemed. There were a number of retail areas selling 40s memorabilia. There was a set of embroidered back brushes that I remember my Mum having, though I don't recall her ever using them. They must have been discarded during one of her house moves  (she moved 3 times in the last 3 years). There are other things we didn’t find that I felt should have been around. Nothing I can do though. She has an expensive diamond ring and a paste equivalent - and I can’t tell the difference!!

I really don’t have much sew-jo at all, not surprisingly. I have a lot of things to catch up with myself that had to be put aside over the last few weeks. Once those and my mother’s paperwork has been completed, things will gradually get back to a new normal.

My youngest daughter is pregnant, due January. I made a bib to fit in with her jungle/safari theme - a bib with a cute little lion.

This is from Kreative Kiwi; next is a monkey

She doesn't want to know whether it’s a boy or a girl. I have a few embroidery makes planned. These will be things like bibs, playmats etc. Nothing gender specific. An interesting (to me at least!) tale here. I wasn’t keen on my oldest daughter being swamped with ‘girl toys’ and encouraged Duplo and other more gender neutral items. She went to a childminder who looked after another little boy and who had teenage sons still at home. She also had two older daughters - still at home but no longer playing with toys. The childminder agreed to look after a little girl after school and got out some ‘girl toys’ - and my daughter absolutely loved them!! 

The embroidery course is practice for making what was going to be a baby quilt - except baby quilts aren’t ‘allowed’ so I think this will be a playmat. I haven’t started yet, though.

Since I wrote that last bit, I have caught up a bit with my embroidery course.

On Sunday, I completed the braided table runner. It took a long time to make. I really like it and am pleased with it. I had actually ‘finished’ it a couple of weeks back but was not happy with it due to the borders being roped and with excess fabric. I looked for a work around solution but there was nothing else to do but bite the bullet and dismantle and shorten the borders.. At least this allowed me to insert an extra layer of thermal batting to make it more useful. I still used my little sewing machine but this time used a walking foot which helped. I have learned a few lessons and the next one will be better - or different at least.
This is pretty big as done in a 150 x 150 hoop
From Sweet Pea ith machine embroidery course

On Saturday, I completed the next lesson in the course which was for a baby bib with a jaguar and a snake. I had no major problems but again noted a few things for the next time. It took a long time to make and when you look at the cost of bibs in the shops, it’s not really worth doing bibs at all! However, this kills two birds with one stone - it teaches me some techniques AND I hopefully have someone to wear it in January. Of course, it also fits in with her nursery theme.

It's a rather cute looking harmless jaguar isn't it?
From Sweet Pea ith machine embroidery course
I still don’t feel like garment sewing though I have done a few more alterations. I’m only two lessons behind with the embroidery course now (they come every two weeks) so will get on with the next one later in the week. I’m not at all keen on the most recent lesson (an articulated ballerina)  but I suppose there will be a fair bit to learn! Even since I wrote that last night, we’ve had another lesson so I’m actually three behind again! I like the most recent, a table centrepiece.

I've missed being involved with social media to any great extent but hope to get that sorted soon.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. The sewing will come when you're ready. I lost my Mom and Father-in-law last year a few weeks apart. It took 3 or 4 months before I actually felt like sewing again. BTW, the bibs are adorable.

    1. Thank you. Ours God to speak thou people who have been through the same. I like thre bibs too.

  2. Ann sorry for your loss, even when someone is elderly and ill they are still gone. But Life moves on with the next generation coming along.
    The embroidery course sounds very demanding! I can see why you haven't finished all the projects.
    Wishing you all the best at this turbulent time. Ruthie

    1. Thank you for your good wishes. My mother was ready to go - had been for a while.
      Thre course is one design every two weeks so it's fine - until you miss time for good reasons. The table runner was trickier and I had to redo quite a bit so that didn't help. The course bib took a day's sewing time - and I watch it stitching out; I know some people can get on with other things

  3. I'm sorry for your loss. Going through the possessions of a deceased parent is never easy. My FIL died in 2016, he was buried on the day of the Brexit referendum. We still have a few boxes in our guest room that need to be sorted. I'm so happy for you that the birth of your new grandchild is something to look forward to. He or she already has the best bespoke bib collection!

    1. Thank you, Marianne. We have so many possessions living temporarily (? - doesn't seem like it!) in our house. Time to get sorted. Soonish. Downsizing is back on the agenda hopefully for next spring. We didn't want to move while my mother was alive as we plan to move south.
      Yes, two bibs so far. I'm not going to be making clothes for the baby but have a couple of other things planned.

  4. Hello Anne - I haven't read your blog for a long, long time. First of all my sincere condolences on the passing of your Mother. Those who have been through it know what you are going through. My Mother died in 2000 and I can say that there is rarely a day that I am not reminded of her. They really do have such an influence on our lives.
    Take time to grieve, even though it was time, there is still a process to go through.
    Caring thoughts for you and yours.

    1. Thank you, Joyce. Nice to hear from you again. I haven't been active on social media.
      As you say, it's only when you've been through this that you can really understand

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  6. Great job Anne..I read every of your blog post because i follow you and your tips and knowledge sharing is inspiration for me. Thanks.

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