20 August 2012

My Prufrock afternoons

Waking on a Monday morning to warm sunshine and a house freshly cleaned (no qualms here about having worked on the Sabbath) – what could be nicer, eh?

Today I plan to do something I have rarely done. I plan to sew during daylight hours. All my adult life I've been a sew-er. To call myself a 'seamstress' is to claim a professionalism I don't quite deserve, though even if I say so myself, I have learned to sew to a pretty high standard after 50 years of doing it; and to write that I'm a 'sewer' (without the hyphen) may be equally misleading (except perhaps to my ex-husband). So let's just say: I sew.

I've written here about this before, I know. So I needn't elaborate about the appeal of sewing to us sew-ers, the pleasure we get from working intimately with beautiful fabric. And even if we did once, we no longer do it just to save money.

Especially since to me the quality of the fabric is paramount, it's not usually cheaper to make rather than buy clothes – though certainly it remains cheaper to sew home furnishings than to buy drapes, cushion covers and bedspreads. And I'm now moving into that demographic whose members actually don't need new clothes, or even new curtains; the ones we've got could well 'see us out' (as my mother once said about the new set of appliances she purchased when my father retired).

No, sewing, for me, is about creating. Or when I sew for my daughter or new grand-daughter, it's about setting love into stitches. It's also the most relaxing pastime I've ever known – more soothing, even, than reading. It wasn't always so, of course. Time was when putting in a zipper was an activity fraught with danger. It might or mightn't succeed, after all. But that time is long past.

The confidence that comes with experience means that that and every other stage in the process of bringing a garment or piece of soft furnishing to fruition is no longer cause for anxiety. The fingers may be arthritic now, but they've memorised the moves, much like they once knew how to travel across the keyboard when playing well-practised pieces. So the mind is free to....well, I suppose it's a bit like meditating. Except that at the end of the session, there's something material to show for it.

 Time was when I only sewed after dark, dinner dishes cleared away, the child asleep and the day's work, paid or otherwise, complete. Evenings are still my favourite sewing times. But now I can extend those sessions well past midnight if I like, knowing that no alarm clock need be set for the next morning. I can leave all the gear in place on the dining table as long as I like. No sticky fingers need to use that space on the morrow. And every now and then, with my favourite radio station playing in the background, I can sit down in broad daylight and sew the day away, with little else to intrude on my time and talents.


Zoe said...

Sounds glorious! I have so many projects half designed (including a single bed quilt for Charlotte) but never enough energy to do it. I hope I am able to have this joy soon...

And as someone who has benefited from your lovely labours on more than one occasion, I am very happy to have the love you put in every stitch :-)


Zoe said...

PS - what's a Prufrock?

Chartreuse said...

Well, Zoe, I don't want to say too much about the Prufrock connection just yet. Will explain later.

Selma said...

I appreciate the TS Eliot connection... will look forward to hearing more.

I would love to be able to sew. It must be deeply satisfying. To be able to mend things properly would be enough for me, but if I was also able to create - WOW - that would be the icing on the cake. What a wonderful skill to have!

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.