This year my birthday seems to be a long-drawn out affair! I am still getting wished, and a friend from our music group gave me a lovely gift a couple of days ago. It is a beautifully framed sampler, done in cross stitch. As soon as I saw it, I burst out laughing. So will you - see for yourself.
And here I have been, thinking that needlework (all kinds) is an outmoded occupation, with everything being done by professionals – sewing, smocking, embroidery - manual and machine. Women are so busy working and running their homes, caring for the children and looking after the older ones at home, where would they find the time to indulge in a little embroidery or knitting, I wonder. But Vatsala had done this in her spare time, and she is a busy person too. I have seen her gifts to other members of our group and admired her artistry.
Any kind of sewing needs immense patience and concentration, not to mention good eyesight. My own acquaintance with needlework is limited to pedestrian and necessary sewing. My mother, however, is a dab hand with knitting needles and wool and has turned out stuff which are fashion statements, like the ponchos and cardigans which the younger ones in our family display proudly. The too young to know other models like babies have grown wearing layettes fashioned by her. In her younger days, my mother despite lacking the mod cons of today in running the home –no mixie, no grinder, no fridge - and taking care of her family (children and in-laws) , used to embroider tablecloths and doilies using small beads. Sadly none of them remain now. And she was an expert with the crochet needle, too. It is amazing how yards of materials can be created out of one needle and a skein of thread. I have not seen anyone do any crochet in a long time.
Today’s youngsters are more at home on keyboards than needles and thread. A young member of the family who is deft with the needle is my niece Swati.
A II year student in Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, (she did so well in the Plus Two exams, she got to choose the subject that she wanted, and she chose History), she has great sewing skills and immense patience. Witness these pieces which she worked on during her recent summer holidays. She is skilful with paints and brushes as well and created these pieces of art.(See bottom of page)
In a day where there is so little time for youngsters to indulge in what their fancies choose, what with the pressures of studies and exams, it is heartening that they do not stifle their creative instincts. These crafts will certainly live on in their artistic hands.