Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Collectors

Some people collect figurines, some collect antiques, some collect stamps. Knitters collect yarn and I collect knitters.

My sweet Mother collected shoes; and, she collected fabric swatches. Unlike Carrie Bradshaw and my dear friend Eileen, my Mother collected shoes because she could never find any pretty shoes that fit her poor tired feet. When she first began working, she collected I. Miller shoes which cost her most of her paycheck.

Later on, she ordered shoes by mail order in the never-ending quest to find shoes that fit that were somewhat fashionable. And she ordered lots and lots of mail order shoes. My Father often joked that it was a good thing he saved well for retirement because lots and lots of his retirement fund went to returning lots and lots of mail order shoes. He was well known at the Post Office and my Mother watched the credit card bills like a hawk to make sure all of the returned, unfashionable, ill-fitting shoes were credited upon return.

And my Mother collected fabric swatches. Growing up, one room of our house was always undergoing redecoration. My Mother spent much of her time on the hunt for wallpaper and upholstery fabric. I knit and my Mother redecorated. It was more than hobby really, it was a sport.

There was always lots of negotiation, many trips to many places and the room to be redecorated was always full of fabric swatches - big fabric swatches. There was a time when fabric swatches were free and there was a time when the free fabric swatches were big enough to be actually useful.

That all changed however, and in order to get a useful fabric swatch, one had to buy a half a yard or so. And so my Mother did; and she bought lots of half yards. Collecting half yards of fabric swatches was also a family affair. When my Mother could no longer drive, everyone in the family took turns taking my Mother to find fabric swatches because finding just the right fabric took lots of trips and lots of ultimately useless swatches of fabric.

My wonderful Mother passed away last year and recently, my sister Kay, whose talents are boundless, presented my sisters, Cory, and me with a beautiful knitting bag - mine is pictured here. Each one was carefully matched for color and pattern and each one was painstakingly pieced together from of all funny things - my Mother's leftover, tossed aside, never to be used for anything upholstery fabric swatches. They are a wonderful, sentimental reminder of our Mother and of our then tedious, now sorely missed trips to find just the right fabric. Mom hated the fact that all of these fabric swatches were of no use and she is very pleased that they've now been made into beautiful keepsakes. Thank you Sister Kay!


Anonymous Sarah B. said...

This bag is BEAUTIFUL! And what a cool memento. I like it :)

3:24 PM  
Anonymous fabric said...

Beautiful bag and a touching story. The bags looks perfect.

4:29 PM  

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