Week 29: Little Suzy Homemaker

I am living the life of a retiree at age 31. Presumably, I am still self-employed, though once clients start hearing that you’re expecting a baby, it’s remarkable how quickly the assignments taper off.

So yesterday I got up at 9 a.m., ate some high-fiber cereal (more on that later), watched the “Today” show, and went to my sewing lesson. That’s right, I’m taking sewing lessons. My mother and mother-in-law have conspired to see that I’m schooled in the domestic arts by the time this baby arrives. They keep offering to buy me a sewing machine, and they send me money for lessons since they’re not around to teach me themselves.

Not that they haven’t tried. But sewing always seemed so tedious and time-consuming, not to mention impractical. I mean, why go buy a bunch of fabric, patterns, pins, etc. and spend hours slaving over a sewing machine when you can just pop over to Old Navy and pick up a brand new shirt for $9.99?

I’ve learned part of the answer to that question: sewing kills time. A lot of time. And that’s one thing I have in abundance right now. So I signed up for private sewing lessons with Irene, a bespectacled 60-something with a dry wit and a knack for needlework. She is part of a clique of white-haired ladies that hangs out at a local fabric store.

It’s a whole little subculture, complete with its own language. They talk about selvedges and quarter-inch feet and “thread play.” They praise each other’s patchwork teddy bears and complain about their latest projects. Irene’s having quite a time with the sleeves of a Renaissance costume she’s sewing for her granddaughter’s school play.

So yesterday it was just me and the white-haired ladies. My quilt is coming along quite nicely. Irene loves to tell people, “This young lady is working on her very first quilt for her baby.” This seems to please the old ladies.

I thought I was a perfectionist until I met Irene. She folds, creases, measures, and re-measures the fabric before she cuts it within eighths of an inch. “Close enough” is not in her vocabulary. She insists I rip out a crooked seam I would’ve ignored. I know she’s right, though.

I’ve got the whole front side of my quilt completed. As I look at the bright, cheery fabrics I stitched together with my own two hands (with some help from Irene’s), I feel a glow of maternal pride. I try not to think about the quilts on sale across the street at Filene’s Basement. Where’s the fun in that?

Weird Symptom of the Week: Because my blood iron levels are low, my doctor has prescribed twice-daily iron supplements. In case you didn’t know, iron tends to, uh, slow down the plumbing. Hence the high-fiber diet. Prune juice, anyone?

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