When we lived in Yellowknife, there was only one place to buy clothes, and that was in the Sears catalogue. That meant that you could be sure that if you had the yellow snowsuit from page 236, at least three other kids in the school would have it. Unless you were my family. My mother made our snowsuits herself. I was the only kid at school with a navy and yellow snow suit, with a cute patch on the shoulder and a larger, machine stitched version of the patch on my back. I also had a matching knitted tuque to go with it. Even my mittens matched. It was awesome.
My mother also made us matching outfits for various occasions, including this fabulous floral jumpsuit number, which I am told was made with quite expensive Laura Ashley fabric. Yeah, sure. It’s still fugly as hell.
My mother did redeem herself whenever Halloween came around. I have been blueberry pie, a teddy bear, a few different flavours of witches, a sexy little red riding hood and a ton other different things over the years. My mom has always outdone herself, even if there is always a bit of sewing left to be done at 7pm on the 31st.
My mother, with the recent departure of two thirds of her children from the house, has redecorated the most amazing office/sewing room. It’s organized and soothing, two things that never seem to happen in my own place. Oh well. Over the last few years, my mother has done quilting, made herself dresses, and reupholstered the most fabulous scallop-backed chair in the world. She has taken up knitting again (and swears by bamboo needles!) and has made arm warmers, little hats for my sister’s goddaughter and is currently working on a kimono style dress for the same small child. It’s pretty fabulous.
Where I learned technique from my dad, I definitely take my passion from my mother. She is always willing, work and a masters thesis not withstanding, to go with me to hip urban craft fairs, to bead and gem shows, to huge craft shows in Toronto and lately, to a silk fair at the Natural Museum of Nature. She and I will trade and show off magazines to each other, drooling over this project and that fabric, encouraging each other to try new and unusual things with new and unusual textiles. She always has a half-dozen projects on the go, works ridiculously long hours as a mother-infant nursing supervisor and still makes time almost every weekend for my sister and I. We’ll sit in a coffee shop and check out our latest magazine finds, or work on the latest upholstery project she has picked up from an estate sale. She is the one pointing out new and interesting techniques in magazines, pushing me to learn how to do it.