Poor Ralph. Truly he does not know when I’m going to get this feverish idea and simply obsess on something until I get my way. In this case “my way” involved about $32 worth of sewing patterns, which I enjoy shopping for and ruminating on more than perhaps the reader can understand. At dinner the children asked I sew them sleepwear and were quite specific: two “nightshirts” that match in style (but not size nor fabric), as well as a set of button-up flannel PJs for Nels (“Like my mermaid pajamas,” he tells me – and reader it is a total shame I never took pictures of those home-dyed and hand-embroidered lovelies!) and a summer-weight nightgown for Phoenix.
As we finished our dinner (homemade pita stuffed with fried tofu, cucumber, and grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese) my brain was working like the tiny little self-perpetuating maniac it is. When I contemplate my next sewing project (and just so you know, there’s currently one 20% underway in my sewing room, and it’s going to be Awesome) I think over what fabrics I have, what patterns I have; my children’s current tastes vs. what’s already in their closet (in this case, nothing regarding sleepwear; they go to bed in home-sewn boxers and Walmart panties). In my case the planning is one of my favorite parts of sewing: in a kind of energized trance I swim through my ideas, my inspirations, strategies and skillset; it is the first stage in a process where I pluck something from thin air that never before existed and fashion it with my tiny little hands.
By the time my mom stopped by to pick up the children for a sleepover (her request) and we all shared a half bottle of wine (“we all” meaning the grownups) I’d thumbed through my pitiful little batch of highly organized Ottobre patterns and thought about the Etsy shop I stalk for vintage children’s patterns. I also considered an appropriate “nightshirt” for Nels, meaning one he would love and that I would enjoy sewing – something new to tackle. After the kids left I circled around Ralph like a shark and then came out with it: he must allocate funds for these sewing patterns. My final pattern decisions: one of my Ottobre patterns for the button-up pajamas, the Folkwear kittle for matching nightshirts, and a lovely vintage nightgown for my daughter (who favors fitted bodices and long hems). In all cases I already own the requisite fabrics (although I could be persuaded, always, to buy something else fondle-able and lovely) and – to save on shipping, obviously – I gave ordered just one more excellent set for my girl, a little swimset she will adore (probably to be made up in seersucker, which my mom charmingly calls “cocksucker”, which to her credit, a tiny bit, is a piece of jokery from a respected and acclaimed novel). Thinking of these patterns winging their way to my porch, to arrive just as I finish the current sewing project, gave me little shivers of joy.
I’ve been realizing just lately I feel a tiny, tiny bit sad at the middling-quality fabrics I often sew with. This simply can’t be helped; if I am to sew as much as I do I have to rely on sales from the large “meh”-quality chain, thrift store finds (and fabric “scores” are sparse, here), and gifted fabric (two yardages of flannel sent by my girl JJ will be made into Nels’ button-up jams). In my most recent finished object I did observe that a higher quality fabric would have rendered a well-made piece into a piece of Art; but, well, we’re a single-income family of four (with lots of pets) and I make clothes my kids wear into threadbare dust with their varieties of high-energy outdoor play.
So that’s that, for now.
In other news I am fully published, for realz. Let me tell you, tears of pride and gladness are in my weak beady eyes thinking on this. Wendy Priesnitz, the founder and editor of this publication (as well as companion magazine Natural Life) is a Real Life (S)hero to me – someone I look up to immensely and find myself reading and re-reading her words. She has been a deeply influential mind and author in our family. For some perspective, I get told by several my writings serve as help, or mentorship, or are appreciated for candor or insight. Well, Priesnitz is a persona and author I go to for mentorship, one of the few I’ve found who’s spoken to my heart and mind like cool drafts of clear water. To be included in her publication is extremely gratifying.
The article I wrote, “The Unschooling Conversation That Never Happens”, is available with subscription obviously (and I recommend it; it’s a wonderful periodical and includes awesome authors like 19-yr old unschooled anarchist Idzie) but will also soon be available online either at Underbellie or the LL site or both.
And finally a footnote: HQX residents may be amused at the “lumberjack” collection at Etsy. Yeah, ok, little cutesy/hipster stuff because loggers are funny and quaint and extinct? Grays Harbor, you and I know logging history is here and gone but also still very, very much with us.