Well, Pip and Squeak are shortly to be wrapped up and sent off to their recipient, I do hope that whoever it may be will like them... but I think she might want to keep them apart as they seem to be doing what rabbits do!
Now I move on to some rather sad news, I learnt today that one of few remaining aunts has died. She was my Aunty Trassa, (a corruption of the name Teresa), one of 12 children she was 80 years old and had 10 children, and she was the go-to woman if you ever wanted anything made. I always hoped that one day she would make my wedding dress, but I guess she got tired of waiting!
Aunty Trassa could make a sewing machine sing, for her the needle and thread would dance and her eye could see the potential of any piece of fabric and her hands had the gift to make it so. My mother used to tell stories of her when she was courting, her husband to be, my mild mannered Uncle Christie would arrange to pick her up at 7:30pm but... at just gone 7:00pm she would decide she needed a new skirt, and out would come her dressmaking shears. The fabric folded in two and the scissor let rip (no paper pieces would be used, this was all done by eye), lining would be cut too... then the sewing machine would fly into action and by 7:30 the new skirt would be ready to go out... although if you knew my aunt you would know that she might not be quite ready.
My mother told of one trip to a family wedding, when they were all due to leave the house at 10:30, Auntie Trassa appeared with dripping hair at 10:20... and yes, it was one of her own children who was getting married!
She could sew absolutely anything, from soft furnishings to wedding dresses, no zip insertion ever held her in its thrall, with a needle and thread in hand she was a Zen master. She was also the one who understood why I could not bear to go to a wedding where I had made the dress... she knew that all I would see would be the elements that I thought I should have done better.
As she got older she was able to pick and choose which projects she undertook, dismissing fabric that she did not like with the classic phrase, "I can't sew with that - it offends my fingers!" And tell me that you have never come across that fabric... She also engaged in madcap schemes, like her collection of jam jars from which she was going to build a greenhouse, it never did happen but I reckon with her magic hands if she had succeeded, there would have been a bio-dome in Sallynoggin, long before they built one at the Eden Project.
She was also incredibly generous with her time, when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she jumped on a plane from Dublin and nursed her until she died... a wonderful selfless act for which I will be forever in her debt.
So in the coming week, when you sit in front of your sewing machine, thread up a needle up or pin two edges together, remember to pass your gifts forward, pass on a tip or a technique to the next generation.
|Some of my Aunts at Powerscourt in Co Wicklow in the 1980s|
Back Row: Aunty Phyll, Aunty Berna, My mum, Aunty Bridgie
Front Row: Aunty Kay, Aunty Trassa, Aunty Dolores