woman's work 

It's been an unusually domestic week - mostly because the sun suddenly came out and my strongest wish was to sit quietly outside watching the fishermen cast and reel on the lake or listening to the radio in the shade of a tree. Both provided the perfect accompaniment to sewing.

First, I stitched up some little stones for Jude's project. I loved the process of setting the pleasingly imperfect stone shapes onto tiny squares of linen and could have carried on for ages. Only the thought of Jude's heart sinking as she gazed upon mountains of my stones made me stop. Then I tried a little freehand embroidery but the heat sapped any creativity and I set aside my hoop with not a little irritation.

So it was that I gave in and got domestic. I cut down some outgrown patchwork trousers to shorts for Joel and then spent a frustratingly long while unpicking the excellent stitching that held all the separate patches together. Still, I now have a tantalising stack of colourful squares to work into a floor cushion or rug for his room. I finally patched up the pockets on my favourite 'hot evening at home' Antik Batik kaftan. I sewed swimming badges onto Joel's pool towel. I even fixed the hems on John's cricket trousers such was the domestic goodness of my heart. And remembering Anja's beautiful checks, I cut and hemmed up some extra large gingham napkins to use on picnics. Oddly satisfying; all of it. 

Though the tranquillity of sitting happily outside in the heat contrasted uneasily with the sense of dread that always accompanies the bowel-shifting grind of the low flying chinooks that are busy in the sky this week. There is something about the simple, homely sewing that I'm doing now that makes me think of all those women - stitching, mending, running a home - in places and circumstances where tranquillity is a distant memory. And thinking about them doing their best in intolerable situations, I feel - yes - gratitude for my quiet days but also such impotent outrage for the too many lives that are far from ordinary.

* Kate

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Reader Comments (6)

I found your beautiful blog by following from a comment you left on a mutual friend's blog.

I am looking forward to reading your post.

I would love to follow your blog but am at a loss, as there is not the "blog follow" button
May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Tilston
yes, often such simple work can be complacently shrugged away. but it is a sign, that we are free, peaceful, and CAN do it. so of course we shall.

and how industrious you have been!
May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Love that photo of you! Weren't those days great walking home at dawn across London...
May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte
hi kate, the stones project sounds beautiful. i love judes slow cloth. i am increasingly wanting to handstitch and slow the pace for my textile creations. i linked to a beautiful article on my facebk page this morning about textiles and healing which i know will resonate with you. you seem to have disappeared from my timeline though so i will link to it here If you look around the site you will also find some other inspiring articles.
Hope you have a lovely half term and if you would like to meet for up yoga when school returns let me know X
June 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersweetmyrtle
Hello Helen, I've now included a little link to the RSS feed to the blog. I look forward to you stopping by now and then - thank you!

Monica, that issue of choice is key when it comes to these domestic tasks. Choice and freedom that I know I'm lucky to have. Don't forget, these things were spread out over the week ;)

Charlotte - those days are probably even better in my memory than they were at the time ...

Ginny, thanks for the lovely link. And yes - yoga! Have a peaceful time with the girls and hope deadlines don't intrude too much x
June 1, 2012 | Registered Commenterlittle house
Oh, so glad you've added the RSS feed!

Did you do the fabric printing swap? Did you have fun?
July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

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