And so began a kind of third-party-friendship, with Mandy passing messages between the two of us. There were updates on each other's health, goodwill messages and ideas to ease discomfort, but always, always detailed descriptions of the projects we had on the go!
I'd known about Sally's skills long before this. Mandy and I had met through our work as entertainers in hospitals, and the main part of Mandy's costume had been made by her Mum. She was proud (and rightly so!) of the beautiful dungarees that Sally had decorated for her, and their heritage gave them added meaning and importance. Through years of use, the two pairs of dungarees she had made were starting to get worn and faded, and Sally started work on two new pairs.
Sadly, Sally lost her battle with cancer in 2012. Her death was a great loss to all those who knew and loved her. I felt a connection to this wonderful woman whom I had never met, and wanted to do something to mark this. I was thinking about offering to finish her work on the dungarees, when Mandy phoned and asked me to do exactly that! I was overjoyed. What a privilege to be able to complete the work of such an accomplished stitcher.
When Mandy delivered the unfinished pieces to me, I was amazed and impressed. Not only had Sally completed all the preparation work, but the pieces were accompanied by meticulous drawings and written notes explaining all the design, construction and planning instructions. I tend to work from ideas inside my head and don't catalogue anything, so this was a revelation to me. More than that, I was able to understand everything she had put down - it was as if I was looking at someone else's documentation of my own thought process!
I have completed the first pair, and am currently working on the second.