Earlier this week I attended the funeral of my Great Auntie Margaret - a lovely celebration of her 96 years on this earth. Margaret was my grandpa's sister and she is the one person in the family I am compared to the most.
I had lots of good parties with her over the years and loved going to her house to visit her and Uncle Cyril. We would eat cakes, listen to stories and hear her play the organ or laugh infectiously. In recent years she would be sat in her lounge with toy meerkats, other fun ornaments and a garden full of gnomes - watching Big Brother on the I pad or learning about something new across the world.
At the funeral I learned that she worked as a weaver in the Lancashire cotton mills in the early 1940's, before serving in the TA during the war. I believe that she was a self-taught seamstress - partly because she was very tall and well-built so, out of necessity, she made clothes to fit her well. She was always stylish, and unique.
She apparently used to lay her son Michael out on the floor on her fabric, draw around him and then make all of his clothes. My nan always used to say that she could pop to the shops, study a dress she liked and come home and make her own version, without a pattern and in time for Saturday night dancing at the Pallatine Nightclub in Nelson. Her house could be in chaos, tea not prepared but she had a new handmade outfit. That sounds scarily familiar to me!
I only have memories of photographs of her handmade delights, and my parent's crackly black and white wedding movie. In her nineties her eyesight was too poor to continue sewing.
However, she did travel to see my quilt exhibition back in 2014 (in some glasses she probably bought from QVC) - and she really loved it.
Margaret and my Grandpa Stanley were passionate about creativity and confident in their ideas. They both shared their skills and knowledge and didn't take life too seriously. Remembering the two of them makes me incredibly happy to have had such fantastic role-models in my life - and I was proud to wear a handmade dress and coat for her memorial service!