Sunday, 17 March 2013

Pip and Squeak... and a Farewell to a Consumate Seamstress

Say hello to Pip and Squeak who were finished today.  Yes, I know this is yet another set of Easter bunnies, but I have had this pattern lurking in my must do pile for a couple of years and just have not got around to it. However this year, I had the perfect excuse, on the UK Crafts Forum we have a SEB, or in layman's terms... The Secret Easter Bunny...

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
I reckon if Aunty Trassa had been of my generation her next move on a Sunday evening would be to go over to Handmade Harbour to see what people had been up to before posting up one of her own marvellous projects.


18 comments:

knitnrun4sanity said...

I am sorry for your loss. She sounded to have been an amazing seamstress and a great character. Lets hope her legacy will be that more people will pass their skills onto the next generation. :)

tickledpinkcrafts said...

A wonderful tribute to her. I expect she's up in Heaven teaching everyone up there to sew too. xxxxx

Martha said...

Sorry to hear about your loss Ros.
Hopefully someone in the family will continue what she did in her life.

Love the sewn bunnies - very cute and they will make a great gift :)

Wendy said...

Oh, how sad. She sounds an amazing lady. Oh, I think I may adopt that saying - yes, of course I have met fabrics which offend my fingers!!

Pam in IL said...

Your Aunt sounds like an amazing lady. So sorry for your loss.

[[[HUGS]]]

threads 'n' shreds said...

lovely wabbits :)
sorry about your sad news xx

Free Spirit Designs said...

Thank you for sharing you memories of your amazing Aunt! She sounds like a wonderful woman to have known.

You are so right about it being important to pass skills on to the next generation.. and stories too i think, its always so lovely to hear about those who have gone before us isn't it :) x

Fiddly Fingers said...

Love your little bunnies, I'm sure the recipient will be over the moon with them.

Sorry to hear about you Aunty but on a more positive note it sounds like you have some wonderful memories of her.

Have a good week :)

CHRISTMAS PIE CRAFTS said...

Lovely family tales, Ros, and I am so sorry about your Aunty Trassa. I expect she is still making skirts. Hope you have a good week.

Kate @craftsonsea said...

Sorry to hear about your aunt, she sounds like an amazing lady x

Beacee said...

She sounds a lovely lady, Ros. Love and prayers for you and her family. x

Simmi said...

Ros, so sorry to hear about your loss. Sounds like an amazing woman! The bunnies are really cute and I'm sure they'll be much appreciated by your swap partner :-) Simmi x

EleanorLucy Millinery said...

So sorry to hear your news Ros. We lost a top craftser recently too - it's a horrible time, but I was comforted by knowing that a little bit of her lives on through the skills she passed on to me, so I hope you feel that way too. Pip and Squeak are adorable :) x

Tonna @ USS Crafty said...

Adorable bunnies!!!!

Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party
http://www.usscrafty.blogspot.com/2013/03/submarine-sunday-23.html

Little Harriet said...

I am sorry to hear of your loss, your Aunt sounds like she was a real character- everyone should have a relative like her.

CatkinJane said...

Your aunt sounds like someone we'd all love to have known, a special lady.

Jo said...

New fan Jo here....
Lovely blog. My mother taught me a lot of what I do today & she learned it from here aunt who was a household seamstress 'in service'.
Beautiful bunnies.... xx

Bev Newman said...

I love the bunnies, they're lovely - I actually came across them on the recipients post. SO sorry to hear about your aunt - it was my great sunt's friend who was the seamstress in the family and Mum was the demon knitter x