I cannot sew. I mean, I can do a straight line okay – so long as I remember how to use my sewing machine – but let me make it perfectly clear: to call myself a seamstress would be to boarder on blasphemy.
When I was in 8th grade Home Economics class, I made a skirt. With stripes I had to match. I managed to put the zipper in under much tutelage from my mom. Turns out I put it in backwards – like for a boy – so my teacher made me do the whole thing over. I’m not positive that I can point my entire mental block about sewing to that moment in time, but I think it’s a fair cop.
My woeful sewing skills came to a head this fall when my sisters and I set out to make a quilt for our mother for Christmas.
Allow me to explain a couple of things.
My oldest sister is a fabulous seamstress. She makes marvelous quilts and crafts and clothes. She makes them quickly, and she makes them perfectly. She has a new sewing machine that can make anything except dinner.
Our other sister is a fabulous crafter. She carves, sculpts, glues, cuts, welds, and owns an excavator. What this has to do with sewing I don’t know, I just felt compelled to point it out.
She also sews.
And then there’s me. An optimist who thinks she can sew but really can’t. An optimist who once made a quilt without a pattern (because I’m too lazy to follow directions) and who forgot how to thread her sewing machine because it had been sitting idle for approximately 8 years.
My quilt had zero diagonals, zero tricks. I walked into Hobby Lobby, bought a bunch of fabric I liked, went home and made the quilt. I added two borders because I wanted it larger.
I am rather good with borders. Nice, easy, straight lines – I can handle that.
So my sister – the sewer – asks me if I think I can participate in The Great Quilt Project for Mom. I said yes.
(Remember: I’m an optimist.)
She sent a packet of instructions and cut fabric, oh, maybe August. Lots of time before Christmas.
I sat on it for, oh, maybe 4 months. (Remember: I’m lazy. I’m also a procrastinator. I’m also a people-pleaser. None of these things made for a good situation come last Thanksgiving when I finally admitted to myself, “Shoot. I can’t possibly do this.…”)
My sister – the sewer – had said to me when she sent the squares, “Just let me know if you can’t do it, mail the stuff back, and that will be fine.”
She’s very kind and very wise.
And so, along came Thanksgiving, which, as you know, is close to December, which, as you know, is the month wherein lies Christmas…and the due date of this surprise quilt.
I called my sister. “I can’t do it!!!!!!”
“I told you that if you couldn’t do it to just let me know.” She is NOT cross, she is NOT hollering, she is NOT even being quiet and fuming. She was possibly laughing to herself; I’m not sure.
So I mailed back the packet of fabric, the directions, the carefully cut strips of fabric in pristine zip-lock bags, the brand-new roller blade thingy for my rolly-cutter thing….
Too bad I couldn’t mail back the 4 months I’d sat on the project.
When we went out to Washington to be with my family for Christmas, my dear sister – the sewer – sat beside me while I sewed – in nice, easy, straight lines – the border for the quilt, on her fabulous new sewing machine that can make anything except perhaps procrastinators hurry.
I had border experience, after all.
She allowed me – nay, WANTED me – to do this so that we could say we all three made the quilt for Mom.
Do I have a wonderful sister, or what?
I have, as a matter of fact, two wonderful sisters. Their quilt squares were so fantastic I can’t even tell you.
My borders set them off perfectly.