There are people who spent their New Year’s Eve celebrating in restaurants and at parties. And there are people who spent their New Year’s Eve hunched over a sewing machine, cursing under their breath while developing new scowl lines.
Or maybe that was just me.
It began, as these things do, with a pile of blue jeans. After age two, it seems, boy-children are incapable of wearing pants without destroying the fabric that covers the knees. There was a time, I suppose, that thrifty moms purchased or created patches to remedy this problem,
But I don’t want the Gort to be known at school as the ‘patch-kid’, so I dumped the holey jeans in a plastic bag. Though they weren’t Goodwill-worthy, there was surely something I could do with a pile of boys’ jeans and corduroys.
Around the same time as my collection began, our oft-used picnic quilt took a turn for the worse. The (once) charming rips in the fabric turned into hideous gashes barely concealing the red blanket nestled between the two layers of fabric.
And so….the rusty, uncalibrated, oxygen-deprived wheels in my mind started turning: I could make a new picnic-quilt! It looked fairly simple. How hard could it be?
Never mind the fact that I can’t (1) sew a straight line, or (2) measure fabric and (3) don’t have the patience for any project that takes longer than twenty minutes.
And then, on Monday, during a visit to IKEA where I stood in the fabric section and stared at fabric that cost $1, per meter, I had a revelation. I could make curtains! And a quilt! I could make TWO quilts! For the boys’ room!
And with those random, seemingly out-of-nowhere thoughts, I ruined the rest of my week.
On Tuesday, I cut apart my stash of holey pants. While watching a movie. Despite my preschool-level French, it was rather difficult – watching a subtitled-movie while cutting pieces of fabric. With my made-from-a-cereal-box ‘templates’. At some point my mom glanced at my project and muttered something about how all the pieces needed to be the same size. And straight.
But I forged on. Those templates were straight-ish. It was a major step-up from the quilt I attempted to make with neither sewing machine, nor proper scissors in 2000. Plus, my picnic-quilt was made from varying sizes of fabric. Obviously, it could be done.
On Wednesday, I started sewing; piecing together straight-ish strips of denim and corduroy and twill with my trusty, used-once-a-year, sewing machine. ‘Look, I’m making you a quilt!’ I chirped enthusiastically to my oldest boy-child. Trying to get him as excited about the project as I…..was.
This proved to be a costly mistake. Never, never mention a sewing project to your child(ren) unless it is finished and ready to be used. Otherwise, when you change your mind, upon concluding that sewing is not fun and you don’t even have enough fabric for two quilts, it will be too late. There will be brotherly fighting about who gets the quilt, and suggesting that they ‘flip a coin’ won’t settle the dispute.
And visions of a modern version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will plague your conscience.
On Thursday, after confirming that I did not have enough fabric for a second quilt, I ransacked the house. Desperate to find any semblance of denim that could be used for the project. ‘Hold on to your jeans,’ my mom cautioned the professor as I raced through the house like a madwoman. I sacrificed my favorite pair of very old Levi’s with possibly two ripped knees. I squirreled away the Gort’s pair of pale blue skinny jeans, with intentional ripped knees. I’d had my doubts about the look and this was the perfect opportunity to get rid of them. And I stumbled upon a pair of ill-fitting men’s jeans I’d found in the Superstore clearance rack, that had set me back $4.94.
In the midst of it all, the professor brought me the picnic-quilt. I was wrong, it seemed. The quilt had different colors of fabric, all the same size. Classic Nicola, really.
While cutting apart the ‘new’ pants, I watched another movie. Also with subtitles. Equally difficult to follow. Though maybe that was for the best. I don’t really enjoy watching people with frostbitten extremities.
On Friday, I sewed from 9.30am to 5.30pm. Nonstop. There was a dinner break with takeout Indian food. And some reading with the boys. But, save the two-hour intermission, it was me and the sewing machine. The sewing machine and I.
When the clock struck midnight, I stopped sewing. I’d conquered my ‘North Face’. Sort of. There were two exceedingly heavy denim comforter covers lying in the living room.
Two button-less, snap-less, comforter covers.