Sunday, 25 May 2014

Pins & NeedlesThe Metalwork Teacher OR How I learned the are of Applique

I learned how to knit at home, my Mum taught me when I was very, very small,  I can't actually remember a time when I couldn't knit, she used a rhyme  about a rabbit going round a tree, that was the wool going around the needles, and 'out pops he',the stitch being pulled through, that's is all I remember about the rhyme but my knitting enthusiasm goes in fits and starts.  I was taught to Crochet by my Aunty Kath, in a caravan in Cleethorpes, and the Granny Square blankets and the round and round blankets became known as Snuggle Rugs when my Niece and Nephew were born. 

I learned to sew though at school.  When we got to the 'big' school, Secondary school we spent the first term learning how to hem, and about stitches, running, cross, back etc.  I suppose we must have created some sort of sampler for the stitching but what I remember is the gingham triangle we were given to learn the art of hemming, the squares helped to keep you straight and even and when it was finished it was a headscarf.  There was a special room for the boys who did 'Manly' things in Metalwork, there was a kitchen for learning how to cook, but the needlework happened in a normal classroom and it was term 2 before we were introduced to the sewing machine.

Our teacher was a really lovely lady, Sister Agatha she was a member of the Sisters of Mercy, like all the  Nuns at our school, but they weren't all sweet by a long shot.  Anyway it involved learning how to read a pattern, how to do a tailor's tack, involved pinning everything then tacking everything (aha that's why we spent last term doing running stitches) before it got near the sewing machines.

Our next project was a peg bag, they really didn't want to let us loose on clothes too soon, and all the faffing was done, we had to share machines so when my turn came I sat down at the Singer, listened to what to do, started sewing and somehow, to this day I don't know how, I sewed straight through my thumbnail, I started shrieking but I couldn't get myself up because I was pinned, everyone started panicking, and I am bleeding everywhere, so the metalwork teacher was called, he released me from the machine but the needle was still in my thumb,now an ordinary classroom is not set up for this sort of thing but apparently in the deep mysterious depths of the metalwork lab, they expected injuries involving metal and cuts and stabs, so I'm pulled into the room where ALL the boys in our year are looking at me crying my eyes out, I was mortified.  After I was bandaged up and had the needle pulled out (more shrieking) I get back to find my lovely peg bag half sewn and spotted liberally in one corner with blood.  An AH-HA moment ensued when we had the bright idea to cover the affected area with felt flowers, I admit that sewing felt flowers onto a cotton peg bag is a long way from some of the fabulous applique work being done by the modern designers, and my goodness if I'd had some Wonder-Under it would've been the work of one lesson rather than weeks,lol. still, by the end of term, mine was the best peg bag by a country mile, and it did sterling service at our house for years and years,  it was a long time though before I felt confident going near a Sewing Machine, still by year two I was making Gypsy Skirts galore sitting on my bedroom floor.

It's a big change going from the very structured way I was taught to sew to the quilting world where even pinning is missed as much as possible, never mind     

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