I've been following Jennifer's sewing adventures, and I'm feeling envious. And a little inadequate in the mommy department, but that tends to happen with a number of things domestic.
Last week, at a 4-H meeting, I felt truly inadequate. At a previous meeting, our leader (a really lovely woman who would probably know how to design, create and sew a new sofa) said, "Be sure to bring your sewing machines to the next meeting!"
Ummm ... this assumes that I have a sewing machine. Oh, but, wait! I do! My sister recently gave me a small mending machine that she had bought, but never used. All I had to do was get that thing ready to go for our next meeting. (Okay, yes, I must confess that it had been sitting in the box for the two months subsequent to my sister's generous gesture.)
The day before our 4-H meeting (you knew it would happen the day before, didn't you?) I got it out, figured it out, and was inordinately proud of myself. Betsy happily stitched away on scraps of fabric, practicing a new-found skill. I patted myself on the back for having a sewing machine to tote to the meeting.
Once at the meeting, my pats on the back turned to furtive glances at the machines around me. Real machines. Big, intimidating machines. Machines that screamed out, "I know what I'm doing! I sew on a regular basis! I am the best of all possible machines, because I belong to a mother who knows how to sew!"
Not only did I have a pipsqueak of a machine, but I had allowed Betsy and Anne to pick out completely different fabric colors, so I had to change the bobbin and thread several times, which slowed us down and left Anne as the only one who didn't complete her project at the meeting. A real sewing mom would have thought to guide her children toward fabrics in the same color family, and my friend, J., had done exactly that. She knew what she was doing.
I whined to her, "I'm miserable at this stuff! Will we have a 4-H project that involves philosophy? Theology? I'm there. That I can do. This stuff? Not so much."
She laughed and told me I was doing fine, which perhaps I was, but I couldn't stop feeling like the Kindergartener in a college level class.
None of this is meant to deride the wonderful machine my sister so sweetly donated to me (somehow the word "donated" seems so appropriate as it calls to mind charity and the needy.) If it hadn't been for her thoughtfulness, I wouldn't have had a machine at all, and would've appeared truly needy, having to beg others for the privilege of using their machines. Would I then have faced the humiliation of hearing things like, "No! Not like that! You'll break it! Don't you have your own machine somewhere? Are you really a mom?"
So, I am really and truly grateful for the gift of the sewing machine, and it actually did a very nice job on Betsy's pillow. I'll post a picture of them soon (after we finish Anne's ... eventually ....) and maybe you can all assure me that I'm not a complete failure at some of this domestic stuff.
I've been consoling myself lately with teaching myself to knit. I've been inordinately proud of my efforts in this area as well, even though there's no reason to be. The hat I made Ramona was done on a Knifty Knitter, which anyone can do. The doll scarf, which I did with real knitting needles, looks pretty bad in places, and mysteriously widened at the end.
But, I'm proud of it all anyway, because, with a little help from The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book, I figured out how to cast on stitches and once I did that, the basic knitting that I did as a child came back to me in an instant. It was fun, and I can already see how people become addicted to these kinds of hobbies. There's such satisfaction in the finished product, even a bumpy and crooked one.
I have shown Atticus each little triumph, fishing for compliments. He's quite ready with them, probably as amazed as I am that I'm doing something so delightfully domestic.
Not bad for a woman who would rather snuggle up with a good encyclical.