Friday, October 05, 2012

Sewing with Babies Blog Award

An award awaited a morning or two ago! Sarah of Romantic History sweetly presented me with the Sewing with Babies Award. It recognizes mothers who try (and now and then fail) to find time to create something beautiful and/or useful with needle and thread, between feedings, nappy changes, laundry, nursery rhymes, and baby kisses.

I had to laugh: sewing with and around small children has been a fact of life for five years now. Over time, how I manage sewing with children has changed as they have changed, and as I have changed.

Now it's my turn to pass on the blessing. Here's how it works:
  • Post the text below, describing the award (you are of course welcome to use either of the images in this post on your own blog)
  • Link back to the person who gave you the award.
  • Describe what you do to make sewing possible, and still have a happy and content baby.
  • Pass on the award to three (or more) sewing and blogging mothers of small children.
Having to wear bear caps. One's willing to be amused.
The other is patently over it.
Mixing Sewing and Needles and Pins with Small Children

How do I make sewing possible and still have happy children? Is it fair to write that they like what I have made for them to wear? You be the judge: the pictures on this page may tell the tale.

The honest answer is that sewing takes a very back seat. It's children husband and household and job first, hobby second.

Like women of all eras, what I like to do is often saved for the times when the children are asleep. However, I have to be careful: those hours need to be shared with my husband, too. Lately I've been sewing and watching football with him. That's pleasant companionship. Since he does not watch much television, however, and I hardly at all, that means that I have to watch my ps and qs, and refrain from "hobbying" more than one or two times weekly.

Not enjoying their cowboy duds.
Since the boys are in school now, there is sometimes and hour or two on a non-work weekday, too. That's a real treat, because then I can sit in the sunshine or near a bright window, and leave cares behind completely as the needs of the project get happy, fully absorbed attention.

Like Sarah, I am a firm believer in quiet time for children...and adults. In the mid-afternoon, when the body slows down a bit anyway, is a good moment for the boys to read or to play quietly in their rooms, to let their minds wander, perhaps to sleep. If I am not napping too, that's a perfect moment to pull out the needle.

Will my Tinkertoy sword fit in the sewing box?
There are moments, however, when I can haul out the sewing box and work with the boys. That little cloth-covered box has fascinated them since they could sit up. The eraser that's unaccountably always lived in it has teething marks, the first thimble was lost down a heating vent, the hooks and eyes are mixed up, all because the contents of that box have been toys.

When they were younger, I sewed with them to just be with them, and to teach them about simple things: how cloth folds, what a seam is, and what seams are on their own clothes, what buttons are for, why mama likes to make things, and why they might like to make things, too. They were bright-eyed with my movements and then with the bright objects, and we could have as much as a half hour of them playing and me doing some handwork, before their interest flagged and we needed to move on to something else. Not long, eh? Precious time, though, precious time, for us together and for that chance to create.

Now they find missing needles and pins for me. Not by sitting on them, or walking on them, I will point out, so far. Then I get a good lecture on being careful with my things; it's turn and turn about.

At age five, they play ship or shop or soldier or tree service outdoors and I can sit in a sunny spot and do handwork. The point is, I only do handwork with the boys. I need to keep an eye on them of course, and be ready to lay down the needle to play with them a few minutes, when asked, or to offer rescue or help -- or to scold or referee.  That's another reason, I suppose, why most of my garments are handsewn: hand-sewing requires a mimimum of space and materials, and it's portable. I can sew where they are, so that they are out of mischief, and we are in companionship. They like this, I know. They will come up, and fiddle with the objects that used to fascinate them, and ask me what I am working on and ask to hold it. When they are a little older, I will ask them to join me, so they can learn, if they like.

Sewing and children blend together. Each is precious, each has its time and place.

So, to whom should this award travel next?
  • Living with Jane
    Dear friend Jenni and her little Autumn and my boys sometimes play together when we sew together; what could be happier than that?
  • Sew 18th Century
    Introduced to her blog by At the Sign of the Golden Scissors, I was hooked immediately. Her little girl is so darn cute in her pudding cap :}
  • Daze of Laur
    Laurie Tavan is well-known in the costuming community for the quality of her work, but for some reason I didn't discover her blog until recently. Her sense of humor when it comes to children is delicious. See for example "Further Assistance Not Required". Mothers of children and those owned by cats are likely to get a good low chuckle out of this one.
 This has been a joy to write. Happy fall, everyone!

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