Monday, August 5, 2013

Patchwork blankets in progress

I stopped by my parent's house after work today, and my mum showed me how much she has done on the next blanket. For those who missed the earlier posts, this is our latest merchandise for fundraising - handsewn patchwork blankets, done by my mother who is 80 years old (but has better eyesight than me!).


I like doing patchwork too, but not as a hobby, though, so since I was already there, I might as well make myself useful.

Needle and thread, mum?

My mum insists on using the finest (and I mean, the fine that you can barely see the needle) needle to sew the pieces together. I could barely make out the eye of that needle, let alone thread it! So there was no way I could manage that needle.

Don't you have a bigger one?


Ah, this I can manage. But threading the needle took some time too.

My mum says the hardest part is threading the needle (well of course, because she is using the finest needle, that's why).

She showed me all her designs, done on an exercise book. It was all very mathematical, something I could definitely appreciate. Mathematics, after all, is the science of patterns. I keep telling my students that, but they always fail to see it. Once you discern the patterns, you'll have solved half the problem. They think mathematics is all about punching buttons on the calculator. Now, that's really sad....


Anyway, I started sewing.

It instantly reminded me of primary school days where towards the end of the year, we would spend the last few weeks doing needlework in class. Did you do that in your time? We did. We would knit, crochet or simply sewed. Our teacher (if female) would do the same too! I remember in Year 6, we all helped our teacher sew a big hexagonal patchwork blanket, complete with manila card pieces and all.

School was fun in those days....

No ipads, you know.


My mum brought out all the cloth for me to see and match. She's buying cloth to make these blankets now.


Hmm...colour-matching...that's physics. Primary colours, secondary colours, pigments, you know...


I've reminded mum that she must rest her eyes.

She assured me she does.


 We already have a first bid for this blanket, from Jasmine Ong in Melaka.

Jasmine's opening bid is RM150!

Ahem...I helped sew it too!

Also, this post is also specially posted for Hasanah Wan Abd Rahman, one of our readers. You wont believe how small the world is....

Read this email from Hasanah, which I received this morning:

Dear Dr. Chan,

I'm Hasanah, I wrote to you before regarding the cats for adoption but this time I'm not writting for animals!

As I read your articles about the lost dog in TTDI and you did mention that the owner is your dad's friend, and you talked about kuala kangsar.

So may I asked you about you because I came from Kuala Kangsar, perak.  Long before when I was still small my brother had a friend by their name Mr. and Mrs Chan. That time was in Kampar. Very nice couple and all in our family knows them.

Then during my school time, this couple were in Kuala Kangsar.  Im not sure but I think Mr.Chan was an engineer with JKR I think while Mrs. Chan is a teacher.  They have one son and a daughter.

I'm just wondering if this could be the same Chan's family that we knew?

I'm so sorry Dr. Chan because I'm writting something personal and not about the animals care...

I really admire you works towards the animals care, thank you so much.

Thank you Dr. Chan for your time.

I had goose bumps when I read Hasanah's email and I replied immediately. While "Chan" is such a common surname in Kampar, being a town populated largely by Cantonese Chinese, that has to be my family that she described because she's got every detail right (spot on!). And her brother must be Uncle Wan Radzi, a close personal friend of ours, who was the ADO (Assistant District Officer) of Kampar, who, incidentally, watched me grow up since I was 3 years old!

A long story cut short, yes, it's all correct! My mum remembers Hasanah as my mum taught her in school and my father remembers Uncle Wan Radzi most fondly too.

Isn't it a small world?

AnimalCare connects!

Hasanah, here's my mum's photos for you! She remembers you fondly!


melle said...

Wow, I didn't know the blankets were handsewn by Aunty Chan. No wonder your blanket lasted for years! Ultimate respect to your mum for handsewing the blankets. Some suggestions -polka dots alternate with stripes/ floral/plain patch. Stripe patches laid out as chevron pattern (current pattern trend in crafty world).

chankahyein said...

She uses both - hand and machine. The small pieces are all handsewn first, then once the patchwork is ready, she sews on the second layer and the top-sew is done by machine. Great ideas - thank you. Would you be able to email me some samples, pls?

hasanah said...

MashaAllah, she looks great

jasmine ong said...

Dear Sis Kah Yein,

WOW, it's so beautiful and meticulous! I really respect your mum for being passionate and still able to do sewing at her age. Her workmanship is so fine and I'm so honoured this is going to be mine. The patchwork blanket is so pretty, I love the soft and sweet combination of colours.

I'm sorry I could not keep in touch for the past 3 days. I just came back from attending Bhante Mahinda's meditation retreat at Alokarama and we were not encouraged to use our handphone at all. I tried (haha .. :)) on my mobile data but there was no line connection there. So it was 3 days of being cut off from the outside world and just concentrate on our practise. It was a fruitful retreat.

I remember making myself a skirt during the end of year needlework class in Standard 6 but that's as far as my sewing skills are. Now it's gone with the wind and I can only sew buttons. I remember it was fun sewing with friends then.

I'm also happy to hear that your mum's student Hasanah got connected again through AnimalCare after all these years and a longtime fond friendship is rekindled again.

Take care and good night :)

Warm regards,

seokthien said...

I spent the whole of my year six doing nothing but browsing through the mini library in class and doing needlework. That was because the teacher did little teaching and was more interested in needlework especially crochet. The only thing I learnt from her was how to crochet a bag and make cross stitch pillow case.

chankahyein said...

Ha ha...last time Year 6 was a honeymoon year because we had the Year 5 exams, right?