Apart from the beautiful blue French embroidery cotton, I was able to pick up a silk kerchief, a couple of fine lace doilies, a string of pearls, some vintage buttons ...
I spent an entire hour sitting awkwardly on the carpeted floor rifling through knitting patterns that stretched back some seventy or eighty years at least. I could have bought so many, but it was the quaint Paton's knitting booklets from the 1940s that came home with me in the end. There were baskets full of odd balls of wool, tins of knitting needles and crochet hooks; boxes of old dress patterns, magazines, and other strange assortments of ye-olde-things.
I can't help but be captivated by the ephemera of the past. Perhaps they are the things that link my modern-day life to the whisper of my grandparents' hand-me-down existence; the time when a woman's handiwork was valued and cherished, when remnants were hoarded up to be repurposed, when a reel of thread was eeked out sparely and gathered resources were conserved. I still feel as though I have one foot on that polished linoleum floor, as though I could rest my head upon the velveteen cushions in the dimly-lit front room, and listen to the steady rhythm of the wind-up clock.
I love to dip my hands into the tin of old buttons, to thread a fine needle, to make tiny stitches and slowly create something useful, or even something beautiful.
These are the things that help to ground me when I feel overwhelmed by a pace that is not of my making.
It helps me to breathe.