These wonderful things belonged to Mrs Betty Collins, mother of my dear friends David and Margaret, and their older brother Ross. Betty died exactly one year ago today, on her 81st birthday. I feel really honoured that my friends have given me some of her craft items to look after.
above: I love this 1940s Patons knitting pattern model, as she is so unlike anyone you would see today, modelling a cardigan or anything else for that matter.
above: 1950s boys' sweater pattern.
above: Sanchia, from another 1940s Patons knitting book. This, my friends, is not a sewing pattern for lingerie, but a knitting pattern. Only fellow knitters can understand how tiny the 2ply stitches would have been, how long and laborious the process. And imagine wearing knitted "scantees"! My how times have changed.
Betty owned various types of mending thread, including a special one for stockings. You may be imagining that she ran a fine household while her husband went to work. Far from the truth: she studied pharmacy right after the Second World War, and eventually ran the Collins Pharmacy in Sorrento with her second husband Peter. There were both happy and tragic twists and turns in Betty's life, but I don't think that I have ever met anyone with such strength, positivity and beautiful ready smile. And her children are exactly like her.
And yesterday I realised just how modest a bunch my studio colleagues are! The weaver of great tapestries and photographer Tim Gresham; Peter Summers, painter of beautiful abstract symphonies; Jenny Bolis, brilliant photographer/ designer and all round sweetie; and Troy Mendham, none other than Mr Norf Guide!