Lately I have been really over whelmed by what it means to sew. And I mean all types of sewing. Garments and quilting and alterations and everything in between. Since I work at the shop I see my customers and friends during all stages of their life. From the woman who is welcoming a new baby into the family (grand baby, niece, nephew, cousin, first child, 3rd child, it doesn't matter.) to the girl who comes in freaking about their prom dress alterations. To someone who's family member has recently passed and is looking to donate their stash to help someone else. People come in will all sorts of stories and adventures. They come from all walks of life. They're bankers, stay at home moms, lawyers, stay at home dads, real estate agents.... you name it and that profession has probably walked through the doors of the shop at some point or another. And I hear their stories. I help them choose the right fabric or the right tools. Or even sometimes the right person to do the job for them.
The shop and my home have become a hub of activity and directing people to where they need to go and how they need to get there (no sarcasm intended. seriously.) People call the shop looking for information all the time. Not just about sewing, but do we know what happened to someone, where to procure things, what to do with the grandkids when they come up to to visit. Just yesterday I had a lady call and ask about sewing classes. Unfortunately we weren't able to help her (the kids were just too young for us to take in as students) but after talking to her I found out that she just wasn't sure what to do with the kids when they came up to visit. I pointed her in the direction of the local Parks and Rec and offered her some cool places to take the kids when it's nice out. I hung up the phone somewhat saddened that I couldn't help her. But then I realized that I could. And I did.
In my personal life I do many, many things. I help my community in many ways. The most recent of which was a water main break in one of my neighbors' yards. One of my other neighbors- Rob- is an excavator. My husband, Chris, is a plumber. We take care of many of the issues in the neighborhood 'in house' as it were. Rob digs and Chris fixes. Where do I fit in? I carry tools, I call people who need to be called. I've jumped down in muddy pits and climbed into underground well rooms. Chris sends me to the house with a list of parts and it's my job to go into the basement and find them. I need to know the difference between valves. I need to know what a boiler drain is, and I certainly know what 'IP' means. Street 90 vs. regular 90? I still can't remember which one is which but I know enough to grab both! Brass fitting and copper fittings and pvc fittings rule my at home life. So this past weekend there we were.... staring into this huge hole in the ground, filled with mud. There's a routine to this. I know the routine. I know what the guys are doing. And as one of my neighbors is standing there he's asking questions... I happen to have answers. I know what's coming next. I can see what Rob is doing and I can see the tools that Chris is grabbing and I ask my neighbor to move. I know that Rob is about to move the machine and we're about to be in the way. So as I'm explaining what the guys are doing ('No, we're not shutting the well down yet. They'll leave it on so they can see where the water is coming in and keep digging in that direction.....") my neighbor asks me what I do for a living. I answer with a smile on face because I know he's not gonna see this answer coming- "I work in a fabric store and I sew for a living." The look on his face is what everyone's is... That look of 'Huh??'.
I don't 'look' like a typical quilter. I'm standing there with mud up to my knees, smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee. The guys talk to me and explain things to me like I know what's going on. And to some extent I do (trust me... I am NO plumber or excavator. Those guys teach me things every single day.). But some people have a hard time reconciling the fact that this cursing, smoking, tool hauling woman also sits down at a sewing machine and makes things just like they're grandma used to do. But I am your typical quilter/sewer/tailor (pick your poison).
If there is one thing we all have in common, it's a sense of community. We make quilts and crafts to help others, to inspire others and make ourselves and others feel good. We choose to keep sewing and making things because there's a sense of satisfaction in getting something done. Whether we've made curtains better (and cheaper) than what you can find in the store or we've made a quilt to hand down to a child. We do it because we feel warm and gushy inside when we see the look of joy and awe on someone's face when we say "I made that."
So even though I don't look like your 'typical quilter'.... Rest assured I am. And darn proud of it!