Friday, October 19, 2007

:: That Ain't No Holly Hobby Scar ::

I bought my very first craft book this week. Ever since I first saw a review on Amy Karol's site I have been wanting it bad. The fabric on the cover, and those birds! I just needed to buy that book and to make those birds and to see what else was inside.

Book Cover

I was hesitant to buy a sewing book because I was sort of afraid that doing so might send me down a long, long, crafty road the end of which I may never find. Owning a sewing book might turn me into someone who makes toilet paper covers, and we already know where I stand on that issue.

And yet, one little book shouldn't send me into a sewing tailspin. I sew already, after all.

In fact, my mom taught me to use a sewing machine when I was four. I know what you're thinking, and no, it wasn't one of those plastic Holly Hobby-type sewing machines. It was a very grown up very real Singer.

My first project was to sew directly through my thumb.

I looked up from the desk in my mom's room and just called out, "Mom, can you come here?" I was calm. She was not. My thumb was still pinned, or I guess I should say needled, to the machine. The needle had gone right through the center of my thumbnail and through to the other side. It must have just barely missed bone.

The small red dot of a scar has only recently faded to where I can't see it anymore.

But I didn't stop sewing. By the time I graduated from college, I was making skirts and pants for my new big grown up job at a certain Big Five Consulting Firm whose name is too long to type. Soon I was on to tops, belts, purses. Last year around this time I sewed a messenger bag copied from the wool TimBuk2 bags. I've slipcovered couches and baby gliders.

And yet, even though I know how to sew, and how to follow patterns, and even though I just love love love making things by hand, I almost never sew. My machine sits on the shelf in my closet and only comes out when I have a specific project. Which is every few months, at best.

I think that growing up with a crafty mom has made me somehow less crafty. Summers spent under a white canopy with her wares spread out on tables, tied up with string, modeled on small doll-people traced from my sister and I perhaps turned me off to the world of crafting. Or maybe it's not so much that it turned me off as it is that I learned that crafting serves two purposes: making money and saving money. Occasionally mom would make something for us just because it was pretty, but mostly, her sewing and crafts had specific purposes:


  • I would get a picture in my head of the simple prom dress I wanted and we couldn't find it in the store, despite desperate searches.

  • I would need new shorts since I'd grass stained, torn, or outgrown all of them.

  • I would suddenly develop an intense desire to own a pink suit with a jacket and matching skirt.

  • She would need to make some money so she's start embroidering names on varsity jackets.

  • Someone would have a baby and she would make something with the baby's name and birth info on it.


Somehow in all of this I never really learned that my mom probably made stuff at least in part because she liked making things. She probably made things just to look pretty. Things people might admire so that she could say, "I made it."

As I get older, I am seized more and more with the desire to make things. And I am more and more interested in, and impressed by, handmade goods. I guess it takes 28 and a half years to get sick of all the manufactured goods out there, to want to make something for someone that they will think is beautiful, to want to spend time using your hands and your knowledge.

And, now, Joelle Hoverson's knowledge. I can't wait to show you my birds.

3 comments:

bubandpie October 19, 2007 at 9:03 AM  

I have always been terrified of sewing machines because I assumed that I would sew right through my thumb.

Until now I assumed that was a completely irrational fear.

Christina October 19, 2007 at 6:17 PM  

I love sewing, I just never get enough time. Up in our spare bedroom is a very fancy computerized sewing machine/embroidery machine and a serger. I would spend at least one day a week with it in years past, but since Mira was born, I haven't touched it.

Looking at that craft book is giving me the itch to sew again.

Denote / Connote « Letter9 December 2, 2007 at 6:32 PM  

[...] tonight, the hub came over to me as I worked on my birds and told me he thought that, given some of my recent posts, I’d be interested in the Oxford [...]

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