sewing + quilting confidence grows here, tip by tip

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wait Till You See What My Mum's Given Me!

You all know that I've just been over to Scotland to drop Flicky off at the University of St Andrews, crikey this is my third blog post today so I'm thinking you might all be very well aware of that by now!  What I haven't shared with you yet is that while we were there Simon and I drove down to St Helens, England to spend 5 days with my Mum.

please excuse phone camera/instagram quality but I so love this pic of us both :)
We laughed and cried, ate and drank far too much and slept too little while we were together but we just had the best time.

It's strange to visit and Dad's not home, I think because I live so far away it's easy to imagine he is still there and visiting makes the truth all too real.


Just look at this next photo, Mum wearing the birthday apron I made for her and holding Dad's Memory Quilt made from his shirts which I sent to her last Christmas.  It was wonderful to finally see her with them, I know she loves her apron and wears it every day (she'd want me to be sure and tell you that it washes beautifully) but I hadn't like to ask her about the quilt, I wondered if maybe it upset her to use it as it had never been mentioned since she unwrapped it last Christmas.


Turns out I couldn't be more wrong.  Mum keeps the quilt on the back of Dad's chair, which she has taken to sitting in to watch television and when she's chilly she wraps herself in it.  When I say Dad's chair - I mean Dad's chair - that chair was bought when they got married 56 years ago, it's been reupholstered several times but through all the years no-one but Dad sat in it.

Mum also tells me that in the last couple of weeks her brother has also been wrapped in the quilt while watching football in Dad's chair.  I love that not only is the chair being well used but, through the quilt, Dad's shirts are still sitting in the chair - probably sounds very strange but there's something very comforting for me in that!  The quilt has had a couple of trips out to be shown to friends and has even been to the hairdressers - now it wouldn't be wrong to say that that quilt's getting out and socialising more than Dad did but maybe it's not keen to go either and Mum's just making it ;)


Now on to my best news - just look what my Mum gave me


This is Mum's sewing machine - bought for her by her Mum when she was just 19.  Grandma, a trained confectioner, hoped that Mum would develop a creative flair but she was to be disappointed, the machine wasn't used until I started to 'play' with it when I was young and then made clothes and bedding on it as a teenager.

It's a 1954 Singer 99K

I particularly love that it says 'made in Great Britain' around the base

It needs some loving care - Mum has had it in her garage for so many years now and wasn't actually sure if it was still there or had previously been disposed of.  It was there though and it is just how I remember it.  There's some rust - but I think it's pretty superficial and the veneer on the back of the wooden base is peeling away but amazingly it still works - so fingers crossed I just need to sort myself out with a US power cable and a new bulb and I'm away.  I'm so excited I just can't tell you.

Bringing the machine back to the US with us was lots of fun too - we put the wooden case in our suitcases to go in the plane hold and carried the metal machine section in our hand luggage.  After scanning the bag with the machine in, as expected the bag warranted a physical search and we engaged in some very pleasant conversation with the security staff about the origins of the sewing machine and how wonderful it is that it is being passed down through the generations.  That was well and good until our BA flight from Edinburgh to Heathrow was delayed so we would miss our connecting flight back to Newark so we were moved on to Virgin flights instead (I have to say here that the BA and Virgin staff were simply excellent throughout).  Unfortunately this meant we had to leave the departure lounge and collect our cases (already in the BA plane hold) which were returned to us at the arrivals' luggage carousels.  Then we had to start from scratch at the Virgin departures desk and go through security again.  So at security for a second time the sewing machine was pulled again for a physical search - this time the conversation was along the lines of how can something so small be so heavy - a point really worthy of note as you wouldn't want to drop this little beauty on your foot!

That all said she's safely home with us now and I couldn't be happier - thanks Mum, I love you xxx




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24 comments:

  1. ITS GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!
    I love my 15-90 and have had so much fun sewing with it! I'm so excited for you!!!!! Can't wait to see what you make with it! :)

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    1. I'm so glad you've seen it Ann - I was thinking of you when Mum gave it to me and I was just going to email you about it. You know how I wanted one and was so envious when you got yours!!! I'm going get myself a power cable right now - I just can't wait to use it :D x

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  2. What a wonderful, moving, heart warming post. I'm so glad you got to see your mum, and you must be so touched to see that your Dad's quilt is loved and used and cherished every day. And as for the sewing machine, wow! How wonderful that you are re-united with it after all these years. Glad also, to hear that you are home safely and I'm loving the blog posts - keep them coming! xxx

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  3. A beautiful post, Chrissie!!! How truly wonderful for you to see and know that your memory quilt is in use and loved every day. Have fun playing with Mum's old Singer. How proud would your Grandmother have been to see it in use by her Grand-daughter.

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  4. Lovely post! I have that machine too, but it must be so nice to know the full history of yours. And lovely that your dad's quilt is getting out and is almost has loved as he was ...

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  5. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading your story. The wonderful love between you, your mum and dad, his chair and shirts, the apron, hairdresser and then the Singer. It was a trip down my memory lane, too. It is exactly the model I learned to machine sew on! I can still recall the smell, the light and the spinning sound, although it is now slumbering in my brother's attic. As my own computerised machine has just given in after only 18 years, maybe I should have asked bro for it and put it in my luggage when returning from Sweden to Japan, alas my luggage was full already!!! Enjoy every minute of work on your treasure!

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    1. I've got the American eletrics for her now and as soon as I tried her out the smell took me back to my childhood along with the sound she makes - exactly as you describe. There's something very industrial about her!

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  6. My dad died last year and my mom sits in his chair too. I had never really thought about what her life would be like without him, because he was just always there. Right after he died, she didn't seem to even want to look at it, but now, it is her spot. It seems to be comforting to her too, something I never would have expected.

    Lovely trip you had. Glad you all had such great times together.

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  7. What a wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing!

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  8. Chrissie what a lovely post. How nice to hear your dad's chair is being used together WITH the quilt of his shirts. That is smile worthy for sure! I love that your mom and dad had that chair since they were married, I am akin to things with history and stories behind them. I find these days we toss things out too quickly for something new. I prefer vintage and antique - kind of like that amazing sewing machine that your mom passed down to you. What a wonderful gift. I look forward to hearing your adventures with it!!!

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  9. What a great story. All of it! The quilt, apron, chair and sewing machine. Thank you for sharing!

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  10. OH Chrissie, what a wonderful gift!! You're going to have so much fun with it! And it sounds like your trip to the UK was fabulous! It sounds like you had a special time with your Mum!

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  11. What a great gift your mum has given you. So glad to hear your trip went well.

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  12. Wow, what a wonderful gift from your mom. Lucky for you your mom hasn't been moving around as much as you did and could leave it in the garage for so many years! Have fun with it!

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  13. Chrissie, what a wonderful post, from the great picture of you and your Mum, to the chair, to your "new" old sewing machine. How wonderful that your Mum treasures your Dad's memory quilt. You are a wonderful daughter.

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  14. Oh my what a loving, special post. Your mum is precious as is "dad's quilt". Thanks for sharing, it made my day reading something so lovely and caring.

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  15. What a heart warming post Chrissie. How lovely to hear your mom likes her quilt and apron you made for her. And the pressie you got from her... wow! That is a beautiful machine. I hope you get to sew on it soon.

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  16. This is a lovely post, Chrissie. Love the apron, and knowing how much the quilt means to your Mum is the best, especially since there was no mention of it in 9 months! Beautiful quilt, too. But most of all, I want to say how cute your Mum is! I don't even know her, but I love her! Good story about bringing the machine back, too. I began my sewing life on a cabinet model very much like yours. See you soon.

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    1. You're so wonderful Christine, this was the best trip, laying much to rest and giving closure on what's been a very difficult 4 years for me and Mum. The machine is the icing on the cake, I'm so thrilled to have her. Looking forward to seeing you Thursday :)

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  17. Beautiful post. Made me think of my own dad whose birthday is today (the 18th). He's been gone since 2007. I think of him often and miss him always. Happy birthday Papa Bear!

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  18. Wow that was a fantastic gift and something I know that you will treasure always.

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  19. You are the luckiest person! I loved the story of your Dad's quilt, I know how important it was for you. And to see something you worked on so hard to be used is I think priceless. The sewing machine is beautiful, I have a love for these vintage machines as I learned to sew on one of the treadle Singers my Mom still has.

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  20. YOu look like your mom :) I love that you'll have this fantastic gift to treasure.

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Chris Dodsley