My second piece from Kyiv, written during the summer of 2017.
The Sisterhood of Sewing
On St Andrew’s descent, I found a woman selling soft toys: cats, cockerels and gloriously curvy satin horses with flowing woollen manes and tails.
‘Did you make these?’ I asked.
She nodded and smiled. ‘All my work.’
I bought a beautiful Palomino-coloured horse, its body soft caramel with a creamy mane and tail. And I thought of a trip I made to South Korea, a month ago. There, on the island of Jeju, I spent a happy hour at a sewing workshop, hand-sewing a Ganse doll – a small fabric horse. The dolls are made by women across the island, using scraps of material.
The sewing instructor spoke no English, but step-by-step she showed me what I needed to do. I especially loved how she made the tail, cutting and tying together multiple lengths of cotton thread before attaching it to the horse’s rump.
So I was thrilled to find another hand-sewn doll, made with skill and care by a different woman, in another country, on another continent. I bought two, and happily handed over my money. I love the simplicity of street transactions, when a note given at lunchtime buys the food for that evening’s suppertime.
I asked her if I might take her photograph, so I could show it to my friend. I wanted her to see who had made her gift.
‘Yes,’ said the woman. ‘But wait.’ She took off her coat, removed her glasses, tidied her hair. ‘Ready.’
I smiled. Such care. Such love for strangers. The sisterhood of sewing.
3 thoughts on “The Sisterhood of Sewing”
Oh, Cat. What a delightful story. I love the little horses, so beautifully made. But of course one wonders what hell this poor woman is going through at the moment. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you for reading 🙂 We cannot begin to imagine how it must be out there. It seemed to happen so fast.
A brief encounter turned into a story, is what I enjoy about Cat’s writing.