My Sewing Room

There’s something special happening in my sewing room and I’m not making reference to the commissioned scrapbook quilts I’ve been doing a lot of lately; although they are pretty special.  It’s a feeling that’s been flooding my senses as I sit at the machine and sew.  An acute awareness of my mother’s presence.  Perhaps it’s the angle at which I’m seeing my hands resting on either side of the fabric as I guide it through the machine and the strong resemblance my hands have to hers.  Or maybe it’s the strange déjà vu-like sensation I get as I roll two adjoining seams together coaxing them to fit just right, as I watched her do so often.  It could be the sewing table that sits adjacent to where I work always visible in the corner of my eye.  It houses the old Singer she taught me to sew on, no longer in use but serving as a great surface for my overflowing bins of fabric.   Or, it could be the stack of now vintage Butterick and McCalls patterns stored in the cabinet under the machine of the many projects she tackled.  A Raggedy Andy and Care Bear with his googly eyes and heart shaped felt nose rest on a chair in the corner of the room, both too precious to ever be used when my kids were young.  Maybe it’s the sewing table chair with the little hidden drawer under the seat that I always loved as a child.  Or perhaps the photo that’s tacked to the bulletin board that faces me as I sew.  It’s a picture of my parents with my older daughter at an early dance recital.  It’s sandwiched between two images. On the left is a journal quilt I did for Odyssey Art while on board the Crystal Symphony for a month in April 2000.  My husband took care of the girls while my son and I cruised up the west coast of Africa from Cape Town to Southhampton with my Bernina sewing machine. That was 9 months after she passed away.  On the right is an image of the Flag of Remembrance a 20 x 27 foot stitched memorial to the victims of 9/11, a massive undertaking that took me three years to complete.  There’s a chronic sense of longing to share all that has happened in the 15 years since she has been gone.  The accomplishments and failures, the joys and disappointments; but at the same time there’s a sense of comfort that permeates the room and wraps me in a virtual blanket of heartwarming nostalgia, deep gratitude, love and a sense that in some other worldly way my mother is somehow enjoying the process right along with me and basking in the knowledge that she taught me how to sew.