Today is of course the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War. When I was a child, this conflict was still very much part of living memory and both my grandfathers fought in the trenches. I never knew my father’s father – though I know he was wounded and always walked with a limp as part of his foot had been shot off.
I adored my mother’s father – my Granddad. He was captured in 1916 and held as a prisoner of war, though my grandmother didn’t know he was alive until the war ended and he came home again, as he was simply posted as “missing.” I can only begin to imagine the joy she must have felt on his return. He gave her a tiny silver heart that he’d kept all through that time which she wore on a bracelet for many years – and this year I stitched it into the inside of Rosie’s wedding dress to bring her and Dan good luck.
So in honour of my grandparents whose lives were affected by this terrible conflict, and all the others of their generation, I’m posting this well-known poem by John McCrae today and will be switching off my lights at 11 pm tonight.
The weather has turned hot and sultry – there was thunder again last night which nearly drowned out the sound of Daisy’s snoring. She is not at all afraid of thunder, no – her worst fear is being left alone – quite alone that is, with neither her Big Bro nor I close at hand to cater to her every whim! She had to be brave yesterday however. I simply had to leave her home by herself for an hour while I took Ben to the vet to have his stitches out as it was far too hot for her to wait safely in the car during his appointment. Everything went well for Ben at the vet’s since as well as being highly skilled, our vet is very kind and patient, understanding that on such a hot afternoon a heavily-coated and slightly stressed large dog needed quite a few breaks during the lengthy procedure.
Today has been much more the sort of day the Newfies love as, after their early morning walk, we’ve spent most of our time in the summerhouse ….
Here’s a very relaxed and cheerful Ben! His eyes are still rather sore and swollen, but our vet assures me they will improve a lot over the next week or so. And notice the untidy muddle on the table behind him! This is what happens when somebody (me) with the attention span of a butterfly decides to spend a hot summer’s afternoon working outside.
On the table you mght spot no fewer than three projects for the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine. There’s the lid for my button jar, together with the DMC colour chart to help me write up the pattern. Then there’s my Poppies applique (more about that in a minute) and my current handstitching, as well as a half-drunk cup of tea, several magazines, the house phone, and more. But back to the poppies applique ……
It is of course the centenary of the beginning of the First World War next month and, as all my grandparents’ lives were affected by this conflict, I wanted to create a design to remember that generation. I wanted this design to be simple, but light and airy – reflecting my grandparents’ hope for the future rather than brooding on the horrors of war. To achieve this I chose bright colours and have combined sewing techniques that my grandmothers might have used as well as modern ideas. The poppies’ stems are all chain stitch, and the centres French knots whilst the petals are felt and freestyle machine applique. I think it has all come together well, and I’m planning make the finished panel into a cushion cover that will have pride of place on my living room sofa – well out of that naughty Miss Daisy’s reach.
And thinking of that furry whirlwind – I began this post with Daisy so it seems nice and tidy (unlike my summerhouse table!) to finish with her too……
“MUUUUMMMMMMM!!! I’m sooooooo bored with all this sewing! When can we GO TO THE BEACH???”