Word for Wednesday: V is for velveteen.

I can’t believe I am now in the last few letters of the alphabet for my weekly Word for Wednesday.  How has that happened?!  This week I’ve not gone for anything particularly complicated or unusual, but I love the word, and it is a well timed choice for Christmas Eve.

Call me weird if you like (I will understand!) but I do also happen to love that there are hundreds of different names for fabric types. Boucle, brocade, calico, cambric, georgette, merino, organdy, poplin, seersucker.  Just a tiny handful of some of my favourite examples from the world of fabric.  The words are just so textured and expressive.  I love the extravagance of our language, that fabrics of even the slightest variations have their own name and description.

But anyway, moving on and back on topic!  When our little girl was born she was given a soft blue comforter blanket with a rabbit on. The first time she chose a toy for herself it was a cuddly rabbit toy. Now for her second Christmas we have put a copy of Margery Williams’ children’s classic Velveteen Rabbit in her stocking.

Written in the early 1920s, it is a beautiful story.  The relationship between a little boy and his toy rabbit starts on Christmas day, and the book has a lovely message at its heart about the transformative power of love and friendship.

“And so time went on, and the little Rabbit was very happy – so happy that he never noticed how his beautiful velveteen fur was getting shabbier and shabbier, and his tail came unseen, and all the pink rubbed off his nose where the Boy had kissed him.”

(Margery Williams, Velveteen Rabbit).

It also has gorgeous vintage illustrations by William Nicholson which are just so wonderfully of their time.

 

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Velveteen (noun).

  • A cotton pile fabric resembling velvet.
  • a clothing fabric usually of cotton in twill or plain weaves made with a short close weft pile in imitation of velvet.

Derivation:  from velvet + commercial suffix -een (variant of –ine). First known use: 1776.

 

I love the joy that books give to our girly and I am so looking forward to the bedtime routine on Christmas day.  Both her rabbits are bedtime essentials and go everywhere with us.  They are already beginning to look rather scuffed and frayed, in the way that only well-loved toys can.  It is so adorable at the end of the day, when she snuggles into my lap, pyjamas on, clutching her bunnies and drinking her milk whilst we read her a bed time story.  Tomorrow it will be the first few pages of the Velveteen Rabbit.  The perfect book to start on Christmas day.

“There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.  He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen.  On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy’s stocking, with a sprig of holly between his paws, the effect was charming.”

(Margery Williams, Velveteen Rabbit).

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