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learn to tie knots at the ends

February 4, 2012

this might be as much ice as we get. i took the photo christmas day. it’s the lake in washington park. a half-hearted attempt at winter. i’m glad, as you know, that no one cares too much about brutality this year. i’ve had enough trouble to last me a while.


planning a sewing project with the boys tonight: sock monkeys. finding it fascinating the steps we will take. i realize they do not know how to thread needles. so that is where we are going to have to start. we are going to have to learn to tie knots at the ends. we are going to have to learn basting stitches, whip stitches, blanket stitches. they do not understand how you work from the insides of a thing and then turn it out to hide your messy work. they do not understand the length of time it takes to sew by hand.

i grew up with fabric and yarn and needles. spools of ribbon and thread. jars of buttons. patterns in paper envelopes lined up like books. the women around me were always knitting/crocheting/sewing. though it’s a project they’ve been begging me to do, the boys may get frustrated tonight. remind me that the important thing about this effort is that i’m helping them explore something they’re curious about, that i am sharing with them something my mother and my grandmother shared with me (and i’m sure the lineage goes back and back; buying stuffed animals at walmart is a relatively recent luxury).

i don’t have as much expertise as the previous generations, and i really wish they were around to do the teaching. but — the boys are left to me. i will attempt it. and, even if we don’t end up with anything soft and cuddly, the boys will have seen a process that is at least as interesting to consider in concept (just how will this turn into a tail?) as it is in outcome.


my tongue feels thick and sore. i don’t know why. then i remember: i bit into it this morning with my breakfast. and then i remember more: i have been biting my tongue for years. pain is a whole body experience for a reason: messages from nerves travel great distances (across the continent, for example) to reach the brain and say, i’m hurting. but you don’t have to go far to find a place where my words are not appreciated. i used to share a bed with the person who least appreciated me. i mean, i used to share a bed with the person who least appreciated my words.


it occurs to me i do not have any thimbles to protect the boys’ thumbs. i never liked to work with thimbles, but it’s possible that they might need them. oh, well. i have band-aids. it’s not the blood that frightens me. it’s being responsible for teaching them patience. i’m not the right person for that job.

  1. February 5, 2012 10:25 am

    Thimbles. I had forgotten about thimbles.

    I’m so glad to be reading your words, that winter isn’t much of one, and hope your tongue is better before you bite it again, which is the worst thing about the whole damn humiliating and inconvenient strange re-occurrence, IMO, having bitten my tongue and cheek for all my life. xo

    Go New England and love your sock monkey update photo on FB. xoxo!

  2. February 5, 2012 1:31 pm

    isn’t that a funny photo?! it is important to note that not all of us were crafting topless. 🙂

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