Sunday, February 13, 2011


My friend Carol -- The Sensible Seamstress -- is coming down tomorrow for a few days' visit.  While she's here, I'm hoping that she'll help me become comfortable with my sewing machine.

When my mother was last here, we got out the sewing machine, which used to be hers, and she walked me through threading and oiling it.  But frankly, it's intimidating.  What if I screw it up?  What if I break something?  It's a bit of an antique.  Yet I have such nice memories of my grandmother and mother using it.  I'm aware that it's something of a prized machine.  My dilemma is that I would like to learn to sew, at least for simple applications, and I have this machine, but I'm always tempted by new computerized models because they'd be easier to use.

While we were snowed in this week, Cady Gray expressed a desire to learn to crochet.  So we got started with a chain, and she caught on pretty well the first time.  I warned her, though, that learning to hold and tension the yarn correctly would take time.  "We'll practice chain stich for awhile," I said.  "You can make friendship bracelets for your friends."

Today we went for our crafting retreat at Starbucks, and a former student of mine met us there to get a knitting lesson.  While I was leading her through the knit stitch, Cady Gray practiced her crochet chain.  I watched my student do five or six stitches, and then looked up to see how Cady Gray was doing.

She had chained 48 stitches.

Now I know it's just a chain, but I had expected the learning curve to be much steeper.  After all, she knits English, and holding the yarn and chain in her left hand while turning and manipulating the hook with her right is going to be a completely new motion.  It's really awkward until you get used to it.  Who knew she could get used to it with half an hour's practice?

Right now the sewing machine is just that kind of challenge for me.  I see it as a set of alien movements that I don't understand.  I expect it to take hours of effort to feel comfortable or confident.  Is it possible that I could learn the first step of sewing as quickly as Cady Gray has learned the first step of crocheting?  No pressure, Carol!

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