A stitch in time

January 20, 2004

This weekend, Stella and I cleared the dining room table and sat on opposite sides without saying very much to each other. Sunlight crept in through the window, dreamy tunes filled the air, and, without paying any mind to the time, we sewed.

It was my second time to use my sewing machine and my first time to actually make something. I finished two throw pillows with light white polka-dotted cotton I’d bought that morning. They are simple and imperfect, but I made them myself. They’re mine.

Click the thumbnails to see details of the pillows

I thought of my mother, who made curtains, pillows, costumes and clothes for the family throughout most of my life. My mother, the seamstress, was nothing like my mother, the chef. In the kitchen, I stood by her side, waiting patiently for my next instruction, to fetch this or stir that. In the sewing corner, though, Mom sat huddled over the machine in silence, only calling me when it was time to measure my waist or try something on.

I know she’ll probably laugh when she sees the pillows, when she notices the side where my stitching turned crooked and the wrinkle across the pillow’s belly, but I will smile anyway. Because I know once upon a time she was a beginner, too.


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