Monday, 9 June 2014

Waste not. Want not. I am having a think.

I guess most children brought up in the 1950's like me were taught from a very early age not to waste things.

I can vividly remember having just a marble cold slab in the pantry. And by opening a little door in the corner,the cold cupboard was revealed. It had three shelves and a wire mesh open to the air to prevent flies entering. We cut the edges off mouldy cheese, scraped spores off jam and floated eggs in a jug to see if they were fresh.

I think I was about seven or eight when we had our first fridge.The height of luxury!

I was taught to darn with a wooden mushroom. Worn sheets were cut in half and turned sides to middle. By hand of course because we did not even have a treadle sewing machine.

Rag rug making was one of the pursuits of winter evenings. And every scrap of material was used to make patchwork covers. I never had a new bike. My clothes always seemed enormous and I hated my sensible lace up Clarks shoes with a passion. I used to try and wear them out by splashing in puddles and kicking stones but a good rub up with a tin of Light Tan Kiwi soon brought them up like new.

Bath water was used at least three times and I hated it when it was my turn to go last.

I find it almost impossible to throw out small balls of wool. Memories of unpicking jumpers and crinkly, curly balls of wool made me realise how precious resources were.

I have a pretty tin where I pop all my tiny balls of wool and then when it is full I set to and make little things.



I have learnt how to avoid the frustration of running out of yarn. When making these little mittens I work both little mittens at the same time and then it is easy to divide the colours up easily and you really can use ever last scrap. Because I don't want to keep on cutting the yarn between the mitts I work from both ends of the little ball. I hope that makes sense.


I am actually all behind with my blogging, reading lovely blogs and generally keeping up with everything because I have just spent four days with that very special friend making a monster quilt. Oh my goodness she was brilliant and I am making a table mat next!

I so totally get this quilting malarky now. I am in awe of quilts that I see on Pinterest. I wonder at the accuracy. I am humbled by the hand quilting. I keep thinking about quilters who must make their projects more than a labour of love.

I am also having a philosophical debate in my head ..... I totally understand why you would buy all matching weight cottons. I totally understand that you would only use pure cotton wadding. I think using cotton thread does provide the best stitching. I really,really do. But that little " waste not, want not " part of me is so glad William's quilt was just made with love, I cut up Andy's shirts. I cut up my dresses. I raided my stash. I raided the airing cupboard. But goodness me it made the compilation so hard. But we got there and the monsters are coming out to play in my next post!

As always I would like to say that you, my lovely followers brighten my days . Thank you.




  1. Linda you have brought back many happy/sad memories for me reading your growing up post, I can remember all of the things and more do you remember navy blue knickers oh goodness they were awful., the curly wool made me chuckle as it was mine and my sister's job to unwind the old cardi's and jumpers, and then wind the wool around a kitchen chair back to make into skeins ready to be washed and stretched so the crinkles came out, it was a long and boring job for us but Mom used to make us toffee apples as a treat..bit of bribery worked wonders,it was all a very long time ago we had nothing but never expected anything. Axx

  2. I was born in the fifties and can relate to a lot in your blog post. We didn't have a fridge until my mid teens. I still dislike warm milk even now. From the age of 7 it was my job to sew on buttons. I'm so glad I learned how. It amazes me now that many people can't do this simple thing.

  3. I am a waste not at times too. It is hard isn't it. Williams quilt isn't supposed to be a pretty quilt though, it is supposed to be a lovely quilt with lots of love and that is exactly what it is isn't it. There was no waste and there will be no wont! xx

  4. What a sweet post Linda, and so many memories conjured up for me - we used to stand the milk in a sink full of cold water on hot days - Oh I loathe the smell of sour milk ever since!!!!! I think being careful with 'things' was very good training for future years - my Mum used to say: "A penny saved is a penny earned"!
    I can hardly wait to see William's quilt - filled with such wonderful memories and LOVE - that says it all, doesn't it! Love, Joy xo

  5. Such a lovely post, I think that is one of the benefits of making things ourselves, it moves us away from the 'fast fashion' and throwaway culture.

    Looking forward to seeing William's quilt - so much love has gone into it :)

  6. You hit the memory bank with that one phrase I heard so often in my youth. It has stuck with me still, and to this day we try to 'make do'.
    I think using those 'memory fabrics' makes this quilt extra special, as each monster will have it's own story to tell (maybe you'll write it all up in a little Monster Quilt Book for William, so he can treasure those special fabrics!)
    Can't wait to see it all finished!

  7. I remember my Grandma doing all of those things, having that lumpy seam in the middle of the bed sheets because they'd been stitched sides to middle!
    Looking forward to seeing the monster quilt.

  8. I was brought up with the same mantra, although we didn't really need to be thrifty, we always were. Whenever I start sewing a new project, I always check my stash first before I head to the fabric store. I usually find something suitable in the 'ends' that I have left over from other projects. It makes it difficult to get rid of any fabric scraps though because you never know when that little bit is just the size/colour you were looking for. I think Williams quilt is perfect being made from what you had, and you can discuss "this piece came from grandma's blouse, and this piece came from grandpa's shirt" ... kids love that ;) Wendy x

  9. I love that you made William's quilt from your materials on hand, Linda. It makes it more charming and it will surely be cherished!


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