Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Altar of stranded cotton"

"Sally Tuttle loves haberdashery departments.

Sometimes she will walk into one just to gaze at its beauty: at the ribbons and feathers, the broderie anglaise, the stacked rainbows of silk and cotton. It is like admiring a mountain or a still lake. Sally stands and regards the rows of threads, the baby wools, the beads, the sequins, the poppers, the cloth-covered buttons. She is soothed by the stiff, wicker dummies modelling their cardigans; the wide strips of satin, the magazines with their racy titles (Creative Cloth! Stitching Today! Cross Stitch!). She even admires the word Haberdashery, printed on the swinging sign above her head. Haberdashery, with its hints of the Middle East and of the village hall.

There is also the fact that you hardly ever see a man in there. Haberdashery departments are havens; convents dedicated to the Patron Saint of Quiet Women, She walks into them to kneel at the altar of stranded cotton."

Ruth Thomas, Things to Make and Mend, Faber and Faber, London 2008, p.3


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