Tuesday, September 27, 2011

learning a lost art

she had the couch reupholstered last year. the one right by the front door, in a pearly shade of white. clean, like a sno-cone before the grape juice seeps into the cracks.

but no one really comes to sit there anymore, except her husband, when he needs to see the television. or stretch his legs. except the woman who lives next door, with a son not much younger than hers, in his fifties.

but in early evening, when the day's baking is done, when her grandson has gone home for the night and her husband's head is drooped down in slumber on the recliner, dolores sits there. under the lamplight around seven thirty. bathed and in her nightgown, with a heavier scent of powder than she wears for the daytime.

and she embroiders. tea towels. baby bibs. his and her pillowcases. old iron-on patterns she's kept since the sixties. new ones she found on sale at hobby lobby. she has to go slow, and it takes her weeks to finish one pattern. she has the shakes now, she says.

and robert's grandma has offered to teach me. how to embroider. how to choose the right shade of thread to make the bear's belly brown and the flowers pale pink. to make loop stitches and knots. once we get back from our new england trip, a weekly evening jaunt to her warm little house in the city is on my agenda.

it's a lost art, this sewing business. this making pictures out of string. but like the woman who relaxes to it, i'm convinced it only gets better, gets richer and more beautiful, with age.

17 comments:

Lauren Quinn O'Neill said...

So lovely. My Nana was a home ec teacher and has passed on her sewing, embroidering knowledge. You'll love it.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

that is so great- I have been self teaching myself since the beginning of summer- so relaxing- it will be so nice for you both to spend time together.

a girl with a smile said...

That's amazing! I'm sure you're going to love embroidery

jeanette from everton terrace said...

A lost art, and a beautiful one. I love coming across these items when I'm out hunting for my shop. I imagine the women who made them and the time and care put into it. I tried doing it once, about 20 years ago but I wasn't very good. It would have helped if I had a teacher.

Emily said...

how great to have someone pass on such a great skill! its not everyday we can learn little things that no one else knows how to do. Have fun! maybe it will turn out to be one of your favorite things :)

Thisisme. said...

I'm sure Robert's grandma will be thrilled to pass on her skill's to you. My mum used to be sewing all the time - all sort of sewing and I so wished that she had taught me her skills whilst she was still here with us.

Blondie's Journal said...

She sounds like a lovely lady. You will love needlework...it really calms me.

XO,
Jane

Valerie said...

embroidery is so utterly beautiful. not just the stitches themselves, but the time and care it takes to make them. what a blessing that you get to learn from a seasoned pro!

Amber Blue Bird said...

I would love to learn to sew but trying to figure it out with the use of books instead of an actual person is quite hard. Cant wait to see your first piece

Shalyn said...

I love her, she sounds terrific. I don't have the shakes but it has taken me about a year to finish a little burp cloth,ha

Becca said...

so pretty!
and sewing is the bomb. I do not know how to sew, but the whole idea is really intriguing and mysterious.
this is so great!

Eleanor at Mirror Of My World said...

oh wow hope you enjoy. beautiful piece of writing as always x

Siddy Says said...

Hiya :))
Lots of women embroider here in Pakistan hehe I guess being a developing country we still have to catch up with the retail boom... do let me know if you ever need something shipped over :) would be a pleasure.
xx
Siddy
www.SiddySays.com

chambanachik said...

So sweet. What a treasure to pass down. The thing I embroidered and sewed with my mom are priceless to me.

Amylou said...

Such a beautiful post girl! I remember my grandmother's embroidery. She never taught me but I'm kind of glad I learned how. Feels like the art isn't dying. Plus I made her a birdhouse for her birthday this year and I've never seen her smile so big! Made my entire year to know that she loved my handmade treasure! So glad you will get to sit and learn.

p.s. you paint the best pictures in your writing. NEVER STOP! so so beautiful!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

That is definitely a lost art! It seems really hard and I don't know hardly anyone who can do it.

Amanda said...

So sweet that she is going to teach you! It really is a lost art! My grandmother taught me how to knit last winter and I am so grateful that I am able to say that. Enjoy the new hobby!

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