If you are ever, say, enrolled in a really frustrating curtain-sewing class, and need, say, someone to help you cut fabric because you are, let’s just go out on a limb here, slightly retarded when it comes to doing anything remotely precise with your hands, you should go to Pumpkin Seed Quilts and Textiles in San Rafael.
Why, you ask? I will tell you.
They are not only gracious but will generously spend a half-hour with you explaining how to use the rotary cutter and the mat and what selvage is and what inches and yards are and other things. They also do not make you feel stupid because you haven’t done it before; instead, they explain things slowly and patiently and show you first and then watch you do it and add helpful hints and don’t laugh when you, let’s just say, careen the extremely-sharp rotary cutter drunkenly off one side of the fabric. They say things like, “That will be our test piece,” and they do not flinch or look worried or even arch an eyebrow.
So I learned something today, a few things, and reinforced the understanding that no, the overarching dread I have for this sewing class is not just avoidance of learning something new, because I really do like learning new things. I crave it, even. It’s avoidance of feeling stupid for not learning something new fast enough. The kind person at Pumpkin Seed and I discussed this very topic, and as it turns out, I’m not such a freak after all. Most people she knows who come to her store do not learn how to sew from watching other people do it, or from listening to a lecture and then being left to do it themselves. They learn from doing it over and over and over and over again, with someone looking over their shoulders to start … and helping.
Life can be difficult. This class, however, is not. It is merely a thing I’m not good at and maybe never will be good at. That, my friends, is incredibly freeing to say. Maybe I will always suck at this! My goal then is to enjoy tonight while not maiming myself or anyone else. Since I’ve already got the cutting part out of the way, all I have to avoid is shoving body parts in the needle’s way.
And you know, despite a passing temptation to sew that woman’s diamond rings to some mauve fake fur, I think I can do that.