The Poorly Blanket and other creative productions

Although I loved writing stories as a child, and made up tales for my children when they were young, during most of my adulthood it wasn’t something I gave much thought to. When I (eventually … at the age of 57) went to university and discovered that writing and I fitted together very comfortably, I realised that I must always have had some kind of a need to create.

When my children were small this creativity manifested itself in other ways. An effective cure-all for little people who felt under the weather was snuggling up in the poorly blanket, so named by my eldest son.

Pblanket

The three children used to argue over whose turn it was to use it so I made two more.  The poorly blanket has recently seen a revival. After a nostalgic conversation last year about what the fate of said blankets might have been, I made one for my daughter at Christmas 2016. She was thrilled and since then I have made two more as gifts.  It got me thinking about other items that I used to make:

For my 14th birthday I’d asked my parents for a sewing machine. A second-hand Singer was duly purchased and even though my mother, by her own admission, “couldn’t sew a pocket handkerchief,” it seemed that I could – and a lot more too. I’d realised that the contents of my wardrobe could be greatly improved upon for very little money and every Saturday lunchtime, clutching the earnings from my part time job, I’d rummage through the fabric remnants on the market stall with a self imposed budget of a pound. Sunday was generally spent creating a dress, skirt or even, as I became more proficient,  a jacket. I wish I had pictures to show you but I can’t find a single one. In fact there are almost no photographs of me as a teenager (not like my granddaughter who takes a dozen selfies a day)! My most memorable make was a summer suit – skirt and short sleeved jacket – in a yellow and navy floral design which I wore with yellow sandals.

Later came little knitted jackets for my boys with matching leg warmers for the youngest. Thank goodness they don’t read my blog. Well it was the early 1980s! (Hence the Daytona yellow Ford Capri)!

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Stripey jumpers always seemed to grow more quickly than plain ones.

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I made dresses & dungarees for my daughter (a good use of my maternity dresses).

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What do you think of this fancy dress outfit made from a rather ugly evening dress that I found in a jumble sale?

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And then I just stopped – no more knitting and, apart from  minor alterations,  no more sewing. I don’t know why this was.  I have three quarters of a black mohair cardigan knitted. The remaining quarter has been waiting for the past 25 years.

There are handmade greetings cards, an ever- growing interest in cooking (though I concede that this may just be a side effect of a general interest in food!) and even at work  I like to create. I manage many aspects of my job via the creation of increasingly comprehensive spreadsheets (sad, I know but they do fascinate me). I find myself wondering what will come next. I’ve never been interested in painting or pottery (too messy and the clay gets under your nails – a definite no-no) but from time to time I’ve wondered about revisiting the abandoned piano lessons of my childhood, water skiing (just joking) or perhaps learning a language (Spanish appeals).

But for now, it’s still writing that ‘floats my boat’. The book synopsis has been submitted to my chosen agents. Time will tell whether either of them chooses me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “The Poorly Blanket and other creative productions

  1. You were, and still are, very creative! I like hand sewing and knitting, but am still not very good with machine sewing and sewing clothes, but I manage.

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  2. I don’t know whether you will received this, Eloise, but I am having computer problems and I am sending this from husband’s computer. This is just to let you know mine is out of action at the moment.
    Margaret P

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  3. You are indeed creative, Eloise! I am a failure at completing knitting projects, and I gave my new, unused sewing machine to a grand-daughter who was thrilled to get it. She made old-fashioned rompers for her toddler. I, of course, being a proud Granny, basked in the reflected glory of those rompers. Exciting about your book!! Best wishes with it.

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  4. I was pathetically useless at making things for myself, never made things for our children, but made lovely curtains for our sitting room to fit a 12ft long picture window, three widths of material in each curtain and lined (but not interlined, that would’ve been a step too far!) When I attempted, with an ancient sewing machine, to make a maternity dress in 1969 (for we wore such things then, we didn’t want a T-shirt pulled snugly over our bump or worse, the bump naked for all the world to see) it was in eight panels and I was in such a muddle trying to put it together that husband took over and finished it for me. Well, he said if you are an engineer, it’s just another construction job!
    Margaret P

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    1. Haha, my husband has never made a dress but he was pretty good at sorting out any problems with the sewing machine. He also began his working life as an engineer! I made many a pair of curtains during the 80s when Laura Ashkey fabrics were so popular; it was a case of ‘needs must’ as they cost far too much to have them made in store.

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  5. Only just recently I was reminiscing on how as teenagers we used to go for a coffee in those coffee bars that gave you frothy coffee, then move on to the record shop and listen to records in those booths and then finally go to those shops that had pattern books. We would definitely buy a pattern but not always get the material. I didn’t rise to your expertise but I distinctly remember making a button hole by hand!!! And then when I had kids I made so many clothes. But do you remember Clothkits? I made loads of those for my kids – and myself. I remember driving all the way from Penge to get some stuff there. So ironic as of course, I live not far from Lewes now and every time I pass that shop I remember the clothes I made. And don’t forget – the sewing machines weren’t electric either!

    I also baked all our bread and made all our cakes and biscuits – gosh no wonder housewives didn’t work (I didn’t to begin with, not when they were tiny as there were no nurseries in those days) but just look at all the stuff we did by hand!!!!

    Wow, great post!

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    1. Oh Penny, Clothkits were brilliant. I made fab dresses for my daughter and bought several of their already made knit-dresses with matching tights. I absolutely loved them. So glad you likes the post.

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  6. What memories you have stirred with this post. I had an electic sewing machine for my 21st birthday. Prior to that i used my grandmother’s singer tredle machine which had been given to my mother. (It was made in 1856). My sister still uses it. My mom made all our clothes including winter coats. She taught me and my 3 sisters to sew. I made myself and my girls lots of clothes. The eldest now moans about how she looked in the old photos in those clothes I was proud to make.
    Like you a I only do minor repairs now. I havent made anything meaningful for years.
    Its a good skill to have. Sadly my girls and many of others from their generation are not interested in even trying to sew.

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    1. Absolutely agree that the current mums of young children have no interest in sewing, but to be fair I doubt they would have the time. I was very fortunate that I didn’t work for nine years (apart from a bit of waitressing) when mine were little. Most of today’s young mums have no choice. I was never skilled enough to make winter coats like your mum; how clever! I started with a hand machine, progressed to an electric one later but eventually went back to an old Singer hand machine. I still have it but haven’t used it in years.

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      1. Yes I gave up full-time work for 6 years whem mine were small.
        I worked in the evenings in a pub until I went back to full time work. I was lucky to be able to get back to where I left. There is no chance of that today. So they have to go back asap. All we can do now is help where we can. X

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