A Family Treasure

Nadie and I drove down to Melbourne today for dental appointments [ least said the better – although we DO have the best dentist in the world, which is why we now drive 2 hours each way to see him ]


We had both come prepared for the mandatory time in waiting-room purgatory – featureless grey walls and indifferent magazines of indeterminate age.

I, with the flower hexagons from the last post, and Nadie with her current knitting and also her drop spindle [ much to the interest and delight of the two little girls and their mum who were sharing our time in limbo with us.

Out of consideration for the dentalphobic [ yes, Sheepie, I’m lookin’ at you ] I will draw a veil over what transpired within Dr Tony’s torture chamber very nice room, and move on to our next stop which was for lunch with Nadie’s Nonna.

Homemade Gnocchi and meatballs … proper Italian coffee … heaven

and after lunch, I nudged Nadie into showing Nonna her drop spinning.

I have a very vague almost-memory from when I first showed Ma-in-law my wheel, that she had mentioned something about drop-spinning in her younger days. At least, I think that was the gist.

Even after nearly 60 years in Australia, English isn’t her strong suite.

…and I’d certainly never seen her spin. By the time I came into the family, she was a confirmed knitter of commercial yarns. Generally 2-ply on a cone and wound into however many multiples it took to reach a weight she wanted to use. No patterns either. She’s just work out what was needed and set to. Advancing age and macular degeneration have long since robbed her of that pleasure, but I figured she’d be interested in what Nadie was doing.

If I tried to write an approximation of her fractured English, my fingers would probably snap off at the knuckles, but basically her response came down to ” Hang on. I think I’ve still got my one of those ”

and there it was, in the darkest corner of her wardrobe, probably untouched for 30 or more years. A crude top-whorl spindle with a long shaft and a tiny metal hook.

Apparently it’s not a knack you lose either, because blind and arthritic, she proceeded to prove that she can still drop a line with the best of them. Maybe not from the second floor balcony, as she used to in her teenage years apparently … dropping it over the edge so that she could spin a long line before winding on, but she can still spin.

and now that spindle,made somewhere in Abruzzi, Italy, in the 1930s, and bought halfway round the world in 1953, has come home with us. It seems our girl gets the spinning gene from both sides of her family, and in an unbroken line stretching back through many generations.

Had I known this little gem still existed, I probably would’ve snaffled it years since, but it would’ve just been for the sentimental attachment. How much better that it go to the one person in the family who will not only treasure the link to her beloved Nonna, but will actually use it.


11 thoughts on “A Family Treasure

  1. Dorothy says:

    I loved reading this post. What a lovely story and I’m sure Nadie will treasure her gift from Nonna.

  2. Marcie says:

    What a sweet story! Sometimes things turn out just the way they were meant to, don’t they?

  3. gayle says:

    That’s wonderful! And what an heirloom for Nadie. I know she’ll treasure it.

  4. chrisknits says:

    What a sweet story. I wish my kids had craft connections to their grandparents, but they only have gardening grandmothers. And we certainly do not have gardening genes beyond the grandmothers. I had a crafty aunt on my dad’s side and a grandmother on my mom’s side. I get all that talent with fiber from them. And it has special memories for me.

  5. Maria says:

    What a wonderful story and a treasured heirloom. Each time I hear about Nadie spinning I am so very tempted to give it a whirl. Just don’t know anyone to guide me

  6. RoseRed says:

    What a great story. Nadir is so lucky to be able to share her skill with her Nonna. I wish my grandmother could have seen me crochet, as it was she that inspired me to learn.

  7. RoseRed says:

    (sorry, that should be Nadie!)

  8. Olivia says:

    Love this story too! I may have disappointed my grandmothers with my lack of interest in gardening, but I definitely have those craft connections (occasionally with other people’s grandmothers too).

  9. Marcy says:

    How delightful that Nadie and Nonna made this connection and that that wonderful spindle will once again see use!

  10. alwen says:

    Aw, *sniff*, I got something in my eye just then!

  11. Lynne says:

    How wonderful – a pleasure for Nonna and Nadi.

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