Published Friday, December 14, 2012
It’s a handmade Christmas. I’m all about crafting, especially when it includes knitting, sewing and making items out of paper such as cards and scrapbooks. I’m not sure my family is as stoked as I am about making “something out of nothing” but one thing is for certain this Christmas: we’ll find out.
My stack of gifts (yet to be wrapped) include sewn, papercrafted and knitted items. It’s this time of year that I carry a project everywhere I go since I’m in a crunch to finish before Christmas.
We had to wait on a table when Ninja Man and I went out to breakfast last Sunday. I stood near the door, knitting like crazy, having barely missed a stitch during the ride to the restaurant. I glanced at the menu, knitting needles going 20 miles an hour – it would be 90 miles an hour but I’m kinda slow – and placed my order with the server.
“Can you teach me to do that?” She asked. I looked up just long enough to assure her that I could and we made arrangements to meet after the holidays. I didn’t worry about Ninja Man feeling ignored while we were at breakfast. We have been married for 36 years and are typically so engrossed with our phones that we rarely make eye contact across the table anyway. I would complain but then I’d have to wait to check my email.
Though I do work on my knitting in public, the sewing and papercrafting pretty much has to be done in my studio. I call it a “studio” because it sounds better than “the smallest bedroom in our house and is so stuffed with fun that you can’t sneeze in it without breaking a window out of the wall.” My studio may as well be a chemistry lab. The only thing I’m missing is fire and smoke. Well, that is unless I’m burning a candle – which I almost always do. With two fat dogs in the house who eat a lot of treats and are always underfoot one has to do what one has to do.
Going in to my playroom with grand plans to create is one thing. Coming out with amazing finished projects is another. Sometimes tab A doesn’t fit into tab B no matter how many times I do it over again.
When I’m sewing I keep a seam ripper at close hand so the frustration that comes from realizing I have to stop and undo a ton of work isn’t added to digging around for that irreplaceable gizmo. When I’m on a creative spurt, make a huge mistake and am surrounded with sharp pointy tools, I can’t take a chance of getting any more frustrated than I already do. And the way it’s going I might just wear out my seam ripper before I’m finished making Christmas gifts this year. I’ve already had to use it three times – on one pair of tiny baby pants.
How hard can it be to sew a pair of stretch pants for a baby? I could whip these out in my sleep. The pattern is clear as a bell. The fabric is of good quality. The sewing machine hums like a – well, like a machine. The simple fact that the fabric looks identical on both sides is what has caused me to grab that seam ripper and head for the nearest bright light so I can pluck out a ton of interlocking stitches.
The ripper and I sit under that special light while a recorded episode of Dr. Phil plays on the T.V. Dr. Phil may not realize it, but while I’m digging out tiny threads – for the third time – I have an rather increased low tolerance for messages from his sponsors, so I have to grab the remote and fast forward until his crazy guests are back on the screen.
Sometimes my seam ripper and I wait until the end of his show but rarely is the topic so compelling that I feel the need to plant myself there until Phil walks all the way to his wife Robin’s chair to walk her off camera.
My seam ripper and I are certain Robin has had some “work” done. She and Phil and Ninja Man and me have all been married for the same number of years, and yet she looks like she just kicked her pompoms under a football player’s locker.
I’m not bitter, but if I were it might be because I don’t look like a college kid or because every stinkin’ time I try to sew this pair of toddler drawers I get it wrong. I’m not even bitter that I can’t find my size 7 circular needles but am sure they are stuck in some half finished baby hat somewhere in my playroom.
It’s a good thing that handmade makes the statement that one is giving from the heart. I’m fast becoming “that” family member who gives the hand sewn floral shirt that no one would be caught dead in. But just in case I still have a teeny bit of talent, I’m going to give those tot pants another shot. And I’ll even let my seam ripper sit this one out. If it doesn’t work this time I have a pair of scissors that can turn those cute little pants into a great hair bow.
Kathy Bohannon is a weekly contributor to The Newnan Times-Herald, and author of the book Gardens of Savannah. Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .