Wednesday, August 27, 2008

London, fabric and families

Back home again after my trip to London to see my 24 year old son who is working there. Of course there were fabric related activities integrated into the visit. My first of these stops was at Liberty's of London. Years ago when I first went to Liberty's you walked into the main floor and all around was fabric. Gorgeous fabric. Times have changed at Liberty's though as they have in so many areas of the sewing world. These days the fabric section is very small, only half an upper floor of a large department store full of fashion, home furnishings, and artwork. The other half of the fabric floor is now occupied in fact by a great knitting section (knitting really is where the energy is now for so many younger creative types) and some quilting fabric, Amy Butler in particular. I was tempted by the Amy Butler cottons, but as a Canadian version of a midwesterner it just didn't make sense for me to go to London to buy her fabric. 

What I did pick up though was some lovely cotton lawn, pictured here at - three meters for the Canadian equivalent of about $120. Crazy I know but it was historically important for me as a sewer to do this. Of course this fabric won't get cut into until I have perfected a decent blouse pattern for next spring.

The fabric caused me some problems coming back into the country at customs. The nice lady at the customs counter couldn't accept the fact that I had paid that much for a tiny package of material and it took quite some time for me to explain to her that I was going to make a blouse, what Liberty of London fabric meant to me etc. Her eyes sort of glazed over when I got to the part of the importance of making a muslin and possible patterns I was considering and she finally let me through. Not a sewer.

I am happy to report that my son is doing very well. He is working as a financial analyst, really difficult and stressful in these times and if I would say anything it is that he is working too hard. He has always been a really lighthearted social guy and I saw not so much of that this trip and lots of young male focus on succeeding. I understand this in my head but really hope things ease up for him. Part of me just wanted to take him home but the time for that is past and he is doing what he needs to do now. If you have ever done it let me tell you that it is not an easy thing to get on a plane and leave one of your children in another country. He has his life to live now but I am going to have to figure out how to find a role for myself in it that works.

He was great to me the whole time I was there. Did the nicest thing he could have done which was to introduce me to his friends, show me where he worked, lived, shopped, and the streets he walked. One of his friends that I met was a woman not much younger than me he works with. She and her partner have looked out for him and I really appreciate that.

Next week my school starts again and for the first time I will be teaching only first years. What I guess I can do now is help out someone else's child as they make their own transition into the next stage of their own lives.

I have a friend, a man I used to work with, who in a moment of absolute honesty told me that if he had his way he would have a big house and all his family would live in it together until the kids got married. Of course he can't do that, none of us can these days, but I think if some of us are honest we wish we could. My children would be horrified.

If there is one thing in my life that has sometimes made me sad is that I have not had the people I care about closer. I have a sister in one city thousands of miles away and my mom and other sisters even farther away. I have good, good friends I see only rarely because of distance.

I remember an old Charlie Brown cartoon "I have too many goodbyes, I need more hellos."

OK enough of this. Back to sewing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a quilter doing a research project on Libertys fabric, particularly the era covering the 1970s/early 80s. I found your post on the internet tonight, and wondered if I could email you a few questions about what Libertys fabric department was like 30 years ago. Hope to hear back from you, Liz (elizabethb@mypostoffice.co.uk)

Jan G. said...

I just discovered your wonderful blog and am reading it from the start. I just had to comment on this post. I know exactly how you feel when you mention leaving your son in another country. My baby is only in Toronto (me in Fredericton) and my heart breaks everytime we part. Parenthood can be hard.