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Updated: October 15, 2022 @ 11:52 pm
I got roped into doing something I didn’t particularly want to do. My guild is heavily involved in the Oswego County Fair in Sandy Creek and they needed helpers in the Domestic Arts building. It’s a bit of a drive for me, but I was willing to give them one day.
We had all made a bunch of small items to sell at a table there and that’s what I wanted to do but MJ was in charge and she needed people to teach kids how to sew on an actual sewing machine. I thought I’d rather poke myself in the eye, but MJ was desperate and I’m afraid of her, so I caved. It would only be from 1-4 p.m.
Hey, I like kids, and I like sewing. I just don’t like mixing the two. Bad things can happen.
Now that it’s over I can honestly say I’m lucky I still have my fingers. Every one of those kids was more interested in the pedal than anything else. I guess they liked the power it afforded.
It was a slow start, so slow that I decided to start making one of the potholder kits I had made up. Bored, I decided to go rogue and turn it into a pillow top and laid out more five-inch squares of fabric. Then I heard it. MJ was loudly saying from her end of the building: “She’s down there in the green shirt. She’ll teach you.” Oh boy, here we go.
The girl was maybe 12 and knew nothing of sewing, so I asked if she just wanted to finish the pillow top. Willing, she sat down and immediately picked up the pieces I’d already sewn together. I waited to see what her plan was but her mother was all “No, not that piece!” I snickered, gave my spiel and let her sew.
Oh my. She, like most all of the others coming after her, was unable to grasp the quarter-inch seam allowance concept. I don’t know what they were looking at but it wasn’t the edge of the presser foot. Therefore in most every case, I had to hold the fabric while they manned the pedal.
I also had to tell every one of them to slow down, and to let off on the pedal once they came to the end of the fabric. They would have gone for miles.
In between kids, I flipped through old quilt magazines that MJ was selling from the guild’s table. But then I’d hear her calling out, “Debbie, here’s two more” and steel myself. A lot of them came at me two at a time! Some kids were as young as 6 but none older than 13. For the younger ones I had them make fidget tubes, which were way easier on both of us.
I met some interesting kids. One wants to be a costume designer, so I suggested people to talk to and joining the drama club.
I don’t know how the subject came up but one 13-year-old said she didn’t like boys. Not wanting her to give up on them altogether, I assured her that 13-year-old boys could be jerks and to just be patient.
One boy, maybe 8, was a chatty little guy who loved to sew, and after making a potholder, asked if he could make a fidget tube too. I now know everything there is to know about his family, his cats, his school and what his plan is for the potholder. He’s going to hang it on the wall in his room so it doesn’t get dirty. He was such a charming contrast to the adorable 6-year-old who never said a word beyond “thank you” at her mother’s prompting.
At five minutes to four I started packing up, knowing that the hubby was going to have piping hot pizza ready for me when I got home. Then I heard it: “She’s down there in the green shirt.” I tried to give MJ the hairy eyeball but we were too far away from each other. Fine, I’d do just one more.
I might not have wanted to do this, but when I found out none of these kids were being taught to sew in school or even at home I became glad that I put myself out there — in harm’s way.
And I’m richer for the experience.
As for the State Fair, I have my results. My “exceptional” quilt was sporting a blue ribbon! Justice was served. The other three brought in a third place and two honorable mentions.
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