Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sister Maria Patience

Maria has a cold, and so she and I have had some extra time together at home. She's slowed down a bit, and of course her coughing is worse at night, so she's very drowsy in the morning, and she even napped (once) during the day. Otherwise, her energy doesn't seem to wane. It's quite possible she even has as much, or more, energy than Ferris El Gato Spazo... remarkably, I caught him napping, but it only lasted three minutes.

Her first day home, she and I found some charm packs, pre-cut quilting squares, in the fabric stash, and we spent a good while laying them out and deciding on our favorite configuration for a quilt. That was fun, and it's a shame Max wasn't with us, because he has terrific quilt design skills. The prints we found are old-fashioned reproduction style prints, so our Get Well Quilt will have a classic and sweet patchwork look. Maria snipped threads and supplied pins while I pieced the twelve nine patch blocks.

Maria has always been by my side while I sew. And for more than three years she has been happy to snip threads, sort buttons, reconfigure straight pins, and even cut her own fabric scraps. It really should come as no surprise that she is ready for new challenges with a needle and thread.

Her second day home, Maria really, really wanted me to find something fun to do with her. And while she rattled off suggestions, I kept going back to sewing... what could she and I do together with a needle and thread?


I love to embroider, and recently Alicia Paulson, of Posy Gets Cozy, has been re-sparking my interest. Even when she isn't sewing I always find beauty and thoughtfulness at Posy Gets Cozy. Her new book is available, and it looks as full and inspiring as Stitched In Time, her first book. (Santa? How are you? Are you paying attention? ... hint hint)

When I asked Maria if she would like to learn how to embroider, make pictures by sewing, she reached a new level of animated and vocalized joy!

We started with a pencil drawing, and I resisted suggesting she "add more" or ask "what else do you want in your picture?" I knew her simple and dear daisy would be perfect for a beginner. I was very concerned about not overwhelming her, because even an experienced stitcher can run in to frustrating snags.

She chose her brown for the soil, and I pulled three threads of floss, then threaded the wide eyed needle. With a knot at the bottom, I positioned the needle at the base of her garden soil, and she took over from there.

I showed her how to make smaller stitches as she went around curves. We chatted amiably about the patience it takes to sew, and she agreed it was important to go slowly, not rush. She asked again, about how long to make a stitch, or where to put the needle when coming through the bottom. She kept the thread from tangling, or slipping off the needle, and she said things like, "My heart comes truly love." And "This makes my life come true." And "Mommy, you and I are sewing like ladies. I love this so much."


She was so calm, and so immersed in the quiet pleasure, that it was like sewing with a much more experienced student, and I was even able to do a little sewing too. She anticipated the colors she wanted to use for the petals. She worked well independently, and she was never disappointed about accepting help.

I have been sewing for a long time, and as I try to remember my first experience I can be almost certain that I was never this patient or naturally skilled. In fact, I am not sure I am as calm and serene, as she is, even now! I think she is a good influence on me.

She finished the dirt, the stem, and the curved leaves, she even finished the round, yellow flower head. And this morning, between coughs, she is asking if we can mix thread colors for the petals. "I want to finishing sewing Mom. Can we get started sewing, please?"

You'll excuse me, please...


Emily Cole said...

Oh my gosh... I am melting! I SOOOO wish my daughter would love to sit down to stitch with me like that!!! So awesome. You're so lucky!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I know it Em! I hoped that some day she might like it, but I was more concerned about frustrating her by starting too soon, or that she would simply have no interest. It felt like I was sitting in a pleasant sewing circle... I am so lucky!!

Tonia said...

Ohhh...That takes me back to when my Mom and Grandmother taught me to embroider. I wish we lived closer! The tea parties and lady sewing parties you, Maria and I could have! I am off to get some yarn for knitting socks. It is definitely the time of year for needlework. Enjoy the day!

Alison said...

How fantastic that you are able to commemorate all these small joys in your life! This post brings me back to when I decided I wanted to try cross-stitching. My mother had been frustrated by my total lack of interest in knitting, but now I have fond memories of starting out projects with both her and my grandmother.

I haven't done any for decades, but still have several framed on my wall, along with a beautiful piece of embroidery my grandmother did for me when she learned her sight was failing, while she could still see.

Such great memories you've brought up for me, and created for you and Maria. "Sigh" is so right...

judy in ky said...

Wonderful! You and Maria have inspired me to pick up my needle and thread again.

tara said...

Such sweet photos.

Tiglizzyclone said...

You are so blessed Natalie! To be able to share sewing and close moments with your Maria! I tried to get my Sarah interested in sewing when she was about 14. She would have none of it!

Mama Spark said...

How amazing is this?! What a wonderful moment and how great that you have it in pictures and have written it down!

mtnchild said...

This makes memories, lots and lots of memories!!! What a lovely day you two had.


Oiyi said...

I love it! She is just amazing. I can't wait I can craft with my little one. I am hoping she will be interested.