My partner has gotten into the habit of walking behind the couch to see what I’m doing on my computer. Usually it’s because I’ve been totally zoned out letting the glow of the screen give me life. Usually it’s because I’ve been this way for hours.
“Again?” he says.
“You don’t know me,” is my almost automatic response at this point.
A few weeks ago this DIY youtuber had popped into my feed. Shimmering well-lit face with all the right relatable expressions. A quirky cut scene of her wondering if she’d made a mistake to start off the video shows me that she had the right amount of self-deprecation about what she did. She demonstrated how I too could sew my own Fjällräven Kånken children’s backpack. Boy howdy did I want to do that.
I proceeded to go deep into her video history noting the different hair styles, glasses, and backgrounds, and video quality over time. Even the stiffening crinkle of her voice as she’s aged, which I have only just recently learned happens to people and good actors will bring this into their performance. I branched out to other DIY videos. I revisited a past crush: quilting videos. It became obvious to me that I absolutely, positively needed a new sewing machine in order to live a fulfilling life. I needed it more than I needed to go to work today.
But which one? They are so many.
I ended up getting out of bed at 2am to look up sewing machine reviews. And, oh, how do you sew a hem on jersey fabric? (It turns out you should get a ball tipped needle and a double-pointed needle doesn’t hurt). I haven’t been sleeping well for weeks and instead of hitting the snooze over and over again, I crawl out of bed and watch more sewing videos at 6:00 in the morning before. How can I make a sewing pattern out of my pajama pants? Surely that would be a good beginner project. Should I get a Brother, Bernina, Husqvarna, or Janome sewing machine? What about a Pfaff like Sarah’s fancy mother-in-law? No, I couldn’t. “Pfaff’ sounds like the word for when a cat toots. What about a Juki? I found a video of a quilter who had recently converted after trying one at a sewing workshop. She had 15 already and was raving for this Juki. That was a great sign! Oh but this video was from 2015….is she still using it? She is. Now which version? Surely I need a sewing machine I can grow into.
In bits and pieces I’ve been relaying these sewing updates to my partner. He’s seen how I’ve replaced watching the news, reading non-fiction, talking to my friends, and scrolling my Instagram feed with DIY tutorials and sewing machine reviews. I felt like I was already broken and I couldn’t take any more racism, death, murder, and willful ignorance. I am insignificant and helpless and selfish and guilty and ashamed and not-enough-of-the-solution and the victim and scared and alone and I can’t see the point of going to work…but I think I could manage sewing a circle skirt.
“This isn’t going to fix everything,” he says.
Feature image: dinosaur costume I made for my vacuum, Gramps 1
Bobbin image: From my new Juki!
title: Prompt from a writing class I’m taking right now.