Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Revolution Begins

There was an interesting post the other day over at Isabella in the 21st Century ( called "Women's Work and the Simple Life." Ultimately it's a pean to women's traditional skills, why they should be valued, and why those of us who employ them or seek to learn them are countercultural, practically revolutionary.

It's fun to think that every time you knit a sock, you're sticking it to the man.

Reading domestic histories, where I'm confronted by the amazing skills women (and men) once had to possess in order to run a house, I feel sorely lacking. I confess this Blog's title is somewhat of a misnomer. Instead of "Left-handed Housewife," it should be something like "Left-Handed Homebody Who Wishes Somebody Would Clean Up Around Here."

I do cook, and I knit, and I have an herb garden. I would like to learn how to can vegetables. My husband's Aunt Jean is a major league canner, and I'm hoping we can get her over here for a tutorial one of these days.

Nowadays my dearest wish is to learn to sew. I bought a machine last fall, but haven't done much with it. Two aprons to be exact. Today I started sewing the throw I've been working on. I'm not sure I'm coordinated enough to do this. In fact, I called my mother the other day to ask for tips for machine sewing little squares of fabric onto a piece of muslin approximately the size of Rhode Island. I was having a hard time visualizing how one does this, shy of investing in a room-sized quilting frame and a church full of elderly women with bifocals and sharpened needles.

My mother has machine sewn a number of quilts. She is a skilled seamstress in general. She has one of those amazing computurized sewing machines that you can sew a modular home with if need be. I knew she would clarify things for me, unlock all the secret mysteries of machine sewing. After all she is right-handed, which is to say, her brain functions in an orderly and systematic fashion. Unlike some people's I know.

"You just kind of scrunch up the fabric as best you can until you get the part you need to sew under the needle," was my mother's sage advice.

And you wonder why I can barely tie my shoes.

But you know what? It worked. I scrunched everything up and manuevered it here and there, back and forth, and I actually got two pieces sewn on before it was time to go pick up Fine Young Son No. 1 from school. And really, the profanity was at a bare minimum. Just enough to keep things interesting.

I doubt I will become an ace seamstress any time soon. I'd like to think that one of these days I'll sew myself a shirt. Certainly some napkins. Maybe even a sun dress for my goddaughter.

But no matter what great heights of housewifery genius I aspire to, I will never, ever be able to twist the head off a chicken.

Just thought I'd be clear about that from the get-go.


jillypoet said...

Hi. Found you through Molly, who left a comment at my friend Polka Dot Witch's blog. I, too, am a left-handed housewife who dreams of mopping but rarely gets around to it. No tattoos (yet), no minivan (ever!), a writer, a mom, a poet, artist and wanna be sewer. I'll be back to read more!

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

I am nearly always sticking it to the man...actually, I am all about sticking it to the man. I am the internet's foremost suburban subversive, I'm considering a hard-line manifesto and a uniform for my followers...I tell ya, come the revolution everybody will have to make their own, where's my medication?