by Debbie Walker

Do you have a sewing machine? (If so, I know you deal with tension!) When did you start sewing? Who taught you? If I mention the word “tension”, does it cause you to grin? How about patterns? Do you know how to read a pattern?

I grew up thinking everyone knows how to sew. Hand sewing or with the use of a sewing machine, including sewing on buttons, all could bring about tension,

Problems with “tension” can cause you to have physical body “tension” (stress). I know I am being a bit confusing with the use of the word tension. The tension on a sewing machine is designed to control how smoothly the machine stitches and the length of those stitches. Just recently I got out my machine, hoping that I could just give it a few drops of oil and be on my way. Well, it was not agreeable, the stitches wouldn’t have even come close to holding anything together. Now I put the little job away until I had more time to mess with the tension.

A couple weeks later I got the machine out again. Now I had enough free time to take my time. Would you believe the test subject got just about perfect stitches? No problem with either my body or machine “tension”!

I learned quite a bit about sewing long before I took Home Economics in my freshman year of high school. Before that class I was self taught by watching my great-grandmother sewing her patchwork aprons (She had one on when she was making a new one and she sewed the old one to the new one!) And I watched mom doing mending with just needle and thread.

I had a pair of pants that I loved, the zipper died, and I was heartbroken. Mom added to that pain by refusing to replace the zipper. I was a bit stubborn and decided I would put in the zipper while mom was at work. It was the first time I ever used her sewing machine without supervision. Through trial and error that day I managed to get the zipper in before mom got home from work. Mom never put in another zipper; those were jobs for me.

My home economics teacher left a lot to be desired. If my only experience with sewing was with her, I probably never would have attempted sewing again. However, I had enough positive influences around me that I still enjoy sewing, even dealing with the machine tension!

Sewing is fast becoming another lost art, much like tatting (making lace by looping and knotting a single strand of thread), also canning (seat weaving, it’s a craft using the cane from the inner skin of a rattan palm. Its woven to make the seat of a chair).

I couldn’t believe it but it happened where ever I was working. Once word got out that I sewed I always had buttons to sew on, jackets needed zippers, and dresses needed hemmed. It has already happened here in the campground. I really don’t mind, it doesn’t take much of my time.

Sewing today brought up a lot of memories. As crazy as things have been this week in the world around us. I didn’t want to become depressed. So my sewing today put me on the right track. The only “tension” I was willing to deal with today was with my machine.

I am just curious if you have hobbies to relieve your “tensions”. How about contacting me at DebbieWalker@townline.org and sharing with me? Have a wonderful week and thank you for your time to read!


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