Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A shared past in fabric

Last week I had a pleasant surprise when the husband of a friend who died prematurely in 2009 rang to say he was coming to Nottingham and would like to call in with a box of fabric. He had been having a clear out and wondered whether I would like some of Maggie's collected treasures.

We had been close friends from the time when our sons were at nursery together..almost 30 years ago now...although as we both moved soon after meeting this was always a long distance friendship conducted by letter and regular meetings. These meetings often took place in London where we enjoyed a wander round antique markets, Libertys and other textile haunts.
In those days we sewed clothes as well as curtains and it was Maggie who made fabric lampshades long before I started to sell them.
I enjoyed chatting with her husband about our memories and perceptions of her, easier now that the shock of her short illness and tragic death has receded. After he left I rifled through the box looking for remembered purchases.

I have made a pair of cushions from the first piece of french fabric I found; the cherry red background is typical of Maggie's taste.

This piece of Cabbage and Roses floral, never used, is also in her favourite red. I thought on first sight that it was an old Laura Ashley print as it reminded me of a design I had used in the late 70s. Not sure yet how I will make use of it.
I came across a piece of Donegal tweed with maker's label which I recall her describing buying on holiday in Ireland; the receipt is from the year before her death so she obviously never got round to making the skirt she planned. I tried without success to find a pattern this morning to turn it into a tunic; wish I was a better pattern cutter.

I was nearly at the bottom of the box however before I found the fabric I had hoped so much to find.
We had shopped at Alfie's Market in London probably about 10 years ago and found a piece of faded floral linen which we both loved. Neither of us could afford it whole so we resolved to share the cost and the fabric. I made mine into cushions for my garden room (greenhouse without the pots!) and they looked gorgeous for a short while; I hadn't bargained on the strength of the sun and found them after the winter faded and in holes.
So here was Maggie's half still in a piece; this time I'm giving myself time to decide what to make but whatever it will be in our north facing guest room.

I've been busy finishing cushions and shades for the textile society fair in Manchester this Sunday. I had a pile of mongrams to make up and these are now all cushions. They make great presents for weddings, christenings and perhaps Mother's Day in a couple of weeks. As ever I don't have the complete alphabet but get in touch if you're interested in a particular initial.

Do come along to the fair if you're anywhere near; each stall is a treasure trove of textiles, buttons, vintage clothing and bags. In addition there are talks and demonstrations about matters textile, certainly many people seem to spend the whole day there.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather
    So sad to hear about your friend as she was obviously only young when she died. It is lovely though that the beautiful floral fabric will always hold special memories of her for you. I am so excited about coming to Manchester on Sunday as I'm on a buying spree this time! See you Sunday, are you in the same place as last year?
    Jo xx