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September 7, 2007

My mother-in-law passed on last year. She was a woman of remarkable generosity and talent. As the wife of a Navy officer, she moved her family across the country — and an ocean — many times with efficiency and grace. And she was thrifty: she could squeeze a dime till it screamed, let alone squeaked.

One of her talents was sewing, from cushions to tailored suits. And by going through her sewing supplies, I’m awed once again by her thriftiness. Several spools had different threads on them, just dabs of each. I’m guessing that she wound leftover bobbin thread onto empty spools to save for the next time she needed that color.

She saved every snap and fastener, even if its mate were gone. Perhaps she saved them for mending, or just from habit.
And there were jars upon boxes of buttons, sorted by color and sometimes type: I wonder what she used the purple buttons for. Clearly most of the buttons were used, cut from old clothing. Somebody must have worn a lot of shirts with little white buttons!

I’m sorting through the threads, buttons, notions, needles, and fabrics, choosing some to keep and some to pass on to others. (If anyone needs grey buttons, I think I have several pounds of them.) While I don’t keep my thread ends, I am going to put one of the multi-colored spools on my sewing table to remind me of my mother-in-law, her talents, and her thrift.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2007 9:40 pm

    How lovely!

  2. September 7, 2007 9:52 pm

    These pictures are just lovely – and I am so glad that you’re going to keep one of the multi-spools out. I bet it’ll make you smile a little each time you notice it…

  3. September 8, 2007 8:49 pm

    My grandmother was very similar. An inspiration. 🙂

  4. September 10, 2007 11:42 am

    Hi. I’m visiting from Ravelry. What a wonderful tribute to your MIL. Seems like you’ll do a lovely job carrying on her sewing legacy.

  5. September 12, 2007 2:09 pm

    Reminds me a lot of what my Granny would do. She reused everything until it just couldn’t be used anymore. Even plastic baggies weren’t safe, they got washed, dried, and reused too.Followed you from Ravelry.Haley

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