Susan S.

Earliest memory of a cloth

My Mother and her mother were knitters and tapestry/needlepoint makers.  They were lucky enough to be able to afford to go to a dressmaker if they needed something made.  My Mother would even have a dressmaker make my ballet show costumes.  Although we had an old factory Jones sewing machine, she rarely used it.  Sadly my Mother, who is 99, has dementia and has lost the ability to knit or needlepoint.

One of my earliest memories of a cloth/textile was Jennifer, a doll and bed knitted for me by my Mother when I was about three.  I had been in hospital for a week for a tonsillectomy and we were going to Leeds to visit my grandparents for Christmas shortly after I was released.  My Mother had made Jennifer to take on the train (a steam train back then….the type one had to close the windows on for travel!)  I don’t know/remember if she was also a holiday gift.  Jennifer had a pale pink face with embroidered features.  She wore a white or off-white knitted dress.  She is about 3 or 4” tall and pretty flat.  She had a blue knitted bed with a white pillow.  Somehow the bed disappeared over time, or was worn out.  But I used to sleep with Jennifer under my pillow together with some bits of yarn called my “cuddly bits” and a white bear given to me by Japanese neighbours.  I have no idea why I slept with them under the pillow.  I still have a very worn Jennifer hidden in a draw for safe keeping.  She has a handkerchief around her to keep the remnants of her dress on, a repair done by my Mother.