This is in praise of my Mother - one of my best friends.
She taught me to sew and cook, And tried to teach me to knit and crochet.
The first crafting I can remember was on holidays to Ramsgate. As soon as we had got to our cottage We went to a wonderful toy shop in George Street to buy some cheap plastic dolls then next door to the Fabric shop for a couple of bags of scraps. Then I could glue (with copydex) various outfits to my dolls. Hours of fun.
Just before my younger sister was born I started (with Mother's help) to knit a pair of pale green booties for her. This was not a success. Although I am not sure why I did not finish them, I think they only needed sewing up. But when I was 18 I saw a pattern for a willow pattern jumper. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Sirdar-Ladies-Chinese-Willow-Pattern-Sweater-DK-Knitting-Pattern-6225-/350575076050?pt=UK_Crafts_Knitting_Crochet_EH&hash=item519fe722d2
I had to have this jumper, more than anything. So the only thing to do was learn to knit. The first thing I knitted was a Jean Greenhowe footballer, followed by a grey V necked jumper for myself and then I made my Willow Pattern jumper. All through this while others were saying I should be starting with smaller projects my Mother was encouraging.
Crafts at school were not a success I do not remember ever finishing anything - kettle holder in the first year, PE bag in the second year, bias edged apron in the third year to the GONK in the forth year. Since then I have sewn toys, clothes - including coats, cushions, in fact anything that took my fancy. Always knowing that I had my Mother in the background to give advice and sort things out if I had a problem.
This meant that once I had taken the dressmaking plunge I could be as unique as I wanted. She thought nothing of taking bits from this pattern or that pattern and showing me how to piece them together to achieve the effect I was after.
Her talents do not just cover basic sewing. There was the camp blanket she made my Father with badges sewn on it. I have the delicate embroidery of the Heraldry Society Arms that she made. Most importantly she helped my sister and I with the cutting and sewing of my sisters wedding dress and three bridesmaid dresses.
The other gift she has given me is a love of cooking and baking. When we were children she made bread. The most wonderful Delicious bread ever (I wish I could make it as well). She used to try to bake enough to freeze but had to fight for every roll that made it to the freezer. She baked her sisters wedding cake and had a range of roughly 60 varieties of small cakes to choose from for the other cakes at the wedding. I also did the catering for my sisters wedding - I am hoping I had my mothers talent while doing it. I can remember a cake she made for friends who wanted Micky and Minnie mouse coming out of a castle in the clouds - she baked meringues clouds and made hundreds of small flowers for the meadow.
From quite an early age she was letting me try my hand at cooking dinner (she wasn't as happy with the amount of washing up I left her, I was never as keen about that bit). Far enough away so it was all my own work - close enough to help if I got stuck. In fact she taught all of her children to cook - some of my brothers went through a multi- coloured phase - something we are all grateful for.
So this is my thank you to you Mum. Without your help, guidence and support I would not be able to cook, sew or quite frankly just be ME.