The Apron Class That Almost Wasn't
I think I should stop trying to take classes at the Quilting Bee in Spokane. I must be like kryptonite to them. I took that embroidery class back in February; the class itself was excellent and the teacher was very engaging, but that was the one with the incredibly vague supply list and the saleswoman who, when I asked which needles I should bring, said, “It depends on what thread you’re using,”—except that I didn’t know what thread to use, which was why I was taking the class.
I had to go back and retrieve my Janome 6600P that I dropped off for service there last week. I timed it to coincide with a class as I figured I might as well treat myself after driving four hours. I signed up for the Mary Apron class. I’m not a beginning sewist, and heaven knows I’ve made plenty of aprons, but this class focused on making an apron with flat-felled seams. Those are the kinds of seams you see on the sides of jeans. Essentially, one seam allowance is trimmed to half its width and the other seam allowance is folded down over it. Both seam allowances are then topstitched. Done on the public side of the work, it’s decorative. Done on the private side, it encloses raw edges. They aren’t hard. I could figure them out myself, but learning them in a class setting seemed like a good idea.
The store’s hours are from 10-6, but for classes that start at 10, they let you in about 15 minutes early to get situated. I paid for the service and got my machine back, then went to the classroom to set up. I thought it was weird that I was the only one in there. Finally, at about 9:55, another lady wandered in and started unpacking her vintage Bernina Sport 801, so of course we started talking about sewing machines. She said that she had taken the morning off to take the class and had to leave promptly at 1 p.m.
We waited. And waited. And waited. No one else came in. The teacher was nowhere to be found. Eventually, at about 10:15, the owner of the store came into the classroom, extremely apologetic, and said that the teacher had put the class in her Google calendar but didn’t get the reminder and had forgotten about it. She was on her way but it would be about a half an hour. She assured us that the class would still be three hours in length.
The other lady was all a-twitter and said that wouldn’t do, that she had to be back at work promptly at 1 p.m. and wouldn’t stay for the class. The store owner then begged me not to leave. I said that I really couldn’t stay past 1 p.m. because I had to drive back to Kalispell, but that I would stay and do as much of the class as I could.
[Look, I was a knitting and spinning teacher for many years. Stuff happens. In one of my very first TKGA classes (1999?), at the end of a very long day, someone asked me about buttonhole spacing. I tried to draw a picture on the whiteboard, but the combination of a tired brain and inherently bad spatial perception resulted in an explanation that made sense to no one, including me. As the students were filing out, one lady made a very nasty comment about my teaching skills. It serves absolutely no one to make a teacher feel worse about something she probably feels very bad about already, so I was not going to heap coals upon this apron teacher’s head.]
The teacher finally arrived at 11:00 a.m. She was very apologetic. I said that I had already cut out my apron pieces the night before—even though we were supposed to do that in class—so I was all prepared to start sewing. And it was lovely to have one-on-one help. Along the way, we also talked about the process of self-publishing patterns and I shared a few pearls of wisdom from my experiences writing hundreds of knitting patterns. She has a whole stack of vintage apron patterns on newsprint that her mother collected over the years (they lived near a Mennonite community in Manitoba, I think) and she would like to update and publish each of them. This class was based on one of those aprons.
I got everything done in class but the waistband, which I will add today. This is the back side of the apron.
Those felled seams really do neaten things up considerably.
I came home from Spokane along the northern route. I was trying to avoid a big line of thunderstorms coming up from the southwest. That route also features half a dozen thrift stores. I stopped at one in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. This store is usually very clean and well organized, but yesterday, the entire front of the store was filled with piles and piles of unsorted merchandise. The young woman at the till told me they had just received a 16-foot trailer full of donated stuff.
I picked my way gingerly around the piles and spotted these underneath a chair:
It’s a couple of floor jacks. I snapped this picture and sent it to the husband and asked him if he could use them. He said yes, if they worked, so after a bit more back and forth with him and some negotiation with the store owner, I came home with them for $10 apiece. He was happy and I am this week’s recipient of the Awesome Wife Award.
No sewing machines, but that’s okay.
I have closed my Ravelry store and deleted my Ravelry account. I am in the process of updating my Big Sky Knitting Designs website and probably also opening an Etsy store. It needed to be done and this is as good a reason as any. And nothing more needs to be said.