Do you know this old children’s song? [written in 1955, and recorded by lots of artistes; Peggy Lee, Andy Williams, Cilla Black and others]
I know the colours aren’t accurate – but I remembered it one afternoon last week when Bob came in with a gift for me. He’d been out pastoral visiting [we have an awful lot of church folk who’re unwell at the minute] and one lady had send me this little bag. Fifteen spools of thread – she no longer sews and thought I’d have a use for them. I spread them out and admired their pretty colours
I love the fact that the older ones have a name for their colours, not just a code number. Why did thread manufacturers stop doing that? I cannot imagine Farrow and Ball giving up their evocative paint colour names and just having “Grey #17” instead of “Mole’s Breath”!
This little collection includes dark jade sky blue gold peacock sage saxe blue dark claret light pomegranate & dark olive
Googling about, I have discovered that there are still colour names – but the manufacturers no longer print them on the spool labels. I am a little bit frustrated that in America you can buy a spool of blue thread called variously Wedgewood and Wedge Wood. Somebody should tell them that Josiah the potter never had an ‘e’ in the middle!
I know I shall never be able to use all the reels of thread in my box, or the fabric in my stash. I have recently started making up little shoeboxes of fabric, threads, buttons and trimmings to pass on to the young people I know who are starting to sew, so that they have stuff to practice on. Two of my pupils had sewing machines at Christmas – and were quite thrilled to be given a ‘starter pack’. It costs me nothing – and means these resources will get used.
“Every young girl should be taught to do the following kinds of stitch, with propriety. Overstitch, hemming, running, felling, stitching, back-stitch and run, button-stitch, chain-stitch, whipping, darning, gathering and cross-stitch”
[quote from Catherine E. Beecher, A Treatise on Domestic Economy, 1843, the picture is Mary Cassatt’s “Sewing Class”]
I am sure that all the generous older ladies who have given me stuff over the years will be happy to know that I am putting it to good use like this.