Sewing? Sewing!

I’ve decided to sew some napkins for my soon-t0-be sister-in-law. It’s the perfect wedding gift, I’ve decided. It’s relatively cheap. It’s handcrafted, which i know she must like since she’s already sent me a handmade necklace and a painting (yes, really) of my infant son. (Isn’t that nice?) And, since it’s just napkins you don’t have to looove them to use them, like you would a decor show pillow or display vase. They can be out on the fancy dinner party table. Or hoiked out just for wiping off greasy BBQ faces. PLUS, they are all straight lines! Perfect for my skill level, particularly since my mother is across the mountains and can’t help.

Unlike my usual procrastinating self, the recent manic Wendy has noted the three weeks until take off, the writing assignment I can’t get an interview for until one week before and has planned ahead. I know i’ll be stressed about getting the writing work done next weekend, so I went to the fabric store on Saturday (of the long weekend, between the lake and a BBQ – did I mention my manic state?). And I did not play it safe. I picked the beautiful bright magenta and purple flower pattern. It looks as if the flowers have been taken from a blown-up photograph and then given an underwater filtering treatment. Imagine looking at a field of full-skirted poppies after staring into the sun. I love them. (My husband does not. He’s a vocal minimalist, hence the reason i sound so defensive.)

After spending the hottest afternoon of the summer ironing and then ripping them into same-sized squares, I was ready to sew last night. As usual, I’ve come to accept, this means that the first sewing night will not be a flurry of progress as planned, but an hour of false starts and troubleshooting. I’m used to this now, but felt sorry for my wee son.

On his way to brush teeth, he spotted me setting up the marvellous sewing machine. He and Nana had spent many hours together on a similar project, where he’d been allowed to lift the foot up and down with the lever, and press the needle-down button on her high-tech machine. So with his eyes on the arm with the miraculous needle he demanded to be in my lap. ‘Sewing?’ he said. ‘Sewing!’ It’s one of the only two-syllable words he has and sounds so cute and questioning in his high-pitched lilt.

Yes, sewing, I agreed. But it will take some time, I explained. I’m fixing the machine. He waited so patiently. Leaning into my body, lifting and dropping the lever when necessary, calling for more ‘Sewing?’. Poor thing. It’s taken me decades of practice not to descend into rage and tears as my project inevitable takes three times as long as planned, particularly since i have to stop and read the instructions for every step.

But he never got angry. Just stayed excited and encouraging. Finally he began to chant, ‘Reeeeeeea-dy, Go! Sewing!’ The same way i encourage him to go down the slide when he’s being slow. Eventually he had to go to bed while i puzzled out how to replace the needle. But i just loved his excitement. ‘Reeeeeea-dy Go! Sewing!’

(After he went to bed, I finally got the machine in order and then my aunt called so i had to switch back to ironing. And then, at last, five napkins down! Only seven to go.)


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