Annie's Threadsaver

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My husband says that I "abhor waste".  And he is right!  I hate wasting anything, It was bothering me that every time I sewed something on the sewing machine, I was wasting quite a lot of thread - at least 6 inches from the reel and bobbin, where you need to have plenty of thread so it doesn't pull out of the needle when you start sewing.  I'd read a bit about "leaders and enders", so decided it was time I did something about all that waste and that I should actually plan a project as my threadsaver, rather than grabbing something to put under the needle IF it was handy.

I cut up lots of little green, cream and apricot 4 inch squares, ruled a diagonal line on the wrong side of the cream squares and sat them next to the sewing machine in a little box. Over the last few months, every time I finished sewing, instead of pulling out my three inches of thread, I would pop two little squares under the foot, sew the seam, and leave them sitting in the machine, with the thread all ready to start next time I sewed.

Gradually, I had lots of little half square triangles and the next step was to put them in rows to make Annie's Choice blocks ... and now I have a new breakfast cloth:


Now you all know I don't particularly like piecing and I'm not terribly good at it and I find it boring, but making this project (43 inches square so almost a lap quilt) was relatively painless!  I didn't really know I was doing lots of repetitive piecing, I saved all that thread, and ended up with something that is very useful and that I really like.  It's a WIN, WIN situation!

Putting this project together started me thinking about why I detest waste. I guess my upbringing was the formative factor.  During World War II, my father was conscripted to the Army with the outbreak of war in the Pacific. He was a soldier for almost four years, serving in Papua New Guinea for most of that time:


Here is a photo of my dad which was published in one of the post-war books put out by the Australian government:


My mother spoke often of how scarce basic commodities were and how everything was rationed. I was born while my dad was in New Guinea and he didn't see me until I was eight months old when he was able to come home for a short leave.  It was a rare opportunity for a photo:


Mum had another photo taken a couple of years later.  I think the war was over by then but I know Dad wasn't able to get on a ship to get home for another 5 or 6 months:


I just love this photo of Mum and me.  It's always been my favourite.  See the war badge Mum is wearing.  It has a little bar on it with one star, indicating she had her husband serving in the war.

We were not at all well off  - never owned a car or went away on a holiday.  It was a simple but very happy upbringing. With very careful budgeting, my family managed to survive and we had the occasional treat like soft drink and icecream at Sunday lunch.  My parents saved very carefully so they could spoil my brother and me at birthdays and Christmas. Of necessity, Mum made all our clothes, curtains etc.  And so there was never any waste ,,, and that attitude became part of my very being,

 ... and I don't really wish to change who I am! 

Well, enough of nostalgia! We're going bush this week for a little holiday, so some of the long drive will be spent on planning my next threadsaver project!

Have a great week,
Val