A lacy shawl for an awesome mom

My mom had a significant birthday this year (yes, she finally reached 40 – ssh! don’t tell anyone!) so I wanted to commemorate it by making her something.

My mom is awesome and she is responsible for starting my whole fascination with sewing (and eventually knitting). I remember when I was younger, sitting at the side of her sewing table, watching her make Halloween costumes or clothes for my sister and me. For some reason, we always wanted to stick our fingers into the machine at points we weren’t supposed to. I remember her being very patient with us, but it must have driven her crazy having to watch out for us trying to monkey about with the hand wheel while she was sewing.

When I was a bit older, she helped me to make clothes for my doll. (On a side note, and I may be showing my age here, but do you remember the whole Cabbage Patch Kids craze? We, like all other girls at that age, wanted one. And they were SO expensive. So our mum made us Cabbage Patch Kid knock-off dolls. How great is that?)

When I was in the 6th grade (about 12 or 13 years old), she helped me to make my very first skirt for a school dance. I chose a very heavy, double-layered synthetic knit (I think) in a rose colour. We made a big full skirt, with an elastic waist. The fabric was so heavy, we had to put in a drawstring to keep it up – we used a long shoelace as I recall.

I sewed on my mom’s Elna, a graduation gift from her mom to her, all through middle school and high school. She helped me learn to make all manner of clothing and would sew formal gowns for my sister and I to wear to school dances. My very first job when I was 16 was as a salesperson at House of Fabrics, a chain of fabric shops (now closed, I think) that were like huge warehouses of fabrics, sewing machines, quilting and home dec goods. I learned a lot by working there – all about different fabrics and how to care for them, how to measure for curtains – and the employee discount meant I could sew to my heart’s content. And all on that fantastic old Elna. I’ve been sewing for years, and it was that love of making things for myself that led me to try knitting again (that was one thing I couldn’t learn from her – due to my own lack of patience!)

So given the huge influence my mom has had on my creative life, it only seemed fitting that I finally make something for her. This shawl is shown as a beach cover-up in the Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2011 issue. But it seemed to me a lovely lightweight wrap that could be a scarf in autumn or a cover-up for a summer evening. I hesitated about the colour, but I shouldn’t have, as this colour looks great on my mum (so thanks, Ken, for convincing me this was the right shade!) Due to copyright issues, I can’t give away the pattern, but I will say it’s just a big rectangle of faggoting stitch. 😉

So Happy Birthday Mom! And thanks for everything.


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