I’ve been in a marathon of slicing, piecing and sewing strips of recycled sweaters. I have bins and bins of my favourite bits which I have saved over the years. I’ve always made mittens from the larger pieces, but decided this year that I would use combinations of my favourites in some finger-free gloves. Such a pleasure, both remembering the piece and combining it with others to make a funky fashion statement.
And all the while I have been thinking of my father. He made me my first loom when I was eight years old, and I chose turquoise and magenta wool from my mother’s knitting basket to weave a hot mat. And ever since, I have been in a deep romance with woollens. But I think my father did more than make the first loom. I think he passed on his own love of fibre. His paternal grandparents owned a woollen textile mill in Glasgow, (before, so I understand, some family member drank the profits). In my teenage years he loved to accompany us to the mills in Hespeler or the much closer fabric stores on Ottawa Street in Hamilton. I remember him in his red plaid woollen pants, his harris tweed jackets and his jaunty wool hat with the feather. He was always finding a bolt hidden under some others that he thought was the best quality and pulling it out for our perusal. And he was a great critic as the creations were coming to life, even known to help pin a hem.
I think of him these days as I am alone with the sewing machines. My trusty industrial is named after him. It’s always a good thing to let your memory wander to visit those you have loved and to say a quiet thank you.