Friday, July 18, 2008

I Sewed Napkins--to Sop up the Blood

Backtacking. It's this thing you do with a sewing machine to backtrack a few stitches and thereby secure them in place. Forward, backward. That pretty much ties off the stitches and viola! You're done with that seam.

I sat down at my dining room table on this extremely hot and humid Friday night (just the way I like it), the last night before the kids come home after a week away with their dad. I miss them terribly, but this time alone has been good for me. I've caught up on all kinds of boring domestic stuff; I've gone running and walked the dog a ton; I've hung out with girlfriends; gone out to dinner...the list of blessings goes on. But tonight the plan was to finally really get sewing. I've had the fabric. I've had the desire. But I've had issues with my "bobbin" that, until Heide came over on Monday, I couldn't fix. Now? Now it's fixed. And I was ready to rock and roll.

I had picked out a simple--really simple--project from Amy Karol's (of Angry Chicken blog fame) book Bend the Rules Sewing. It's a fabulous book with great ideas and tips, and I love Amy's style and approach. It's all very philosophical, really: Follow a few simple, standard rules of sewing, and then do your own thing with them. The project I had chosen for tonight was to make four simple napkins. But, at Heide's suggestion earlier in the week, I decided to have them be double-sided rather than single-sided with a hem, because the latter was actually tougher to complete and would require me ironing tiny hems before sewing them. Since I just wanted to get my stitching groove on, for the sake of practice if anything--the former seemed like the best option.

And away we went, armed with newly purchased/washed/dried/ironed fabric I picked up today at JoAnn, some ribbons, and new thread that is a much higher quality than that "other" stuff I had. I ripped out one napkin, shaky with the stitches, but complete. I sewed a cute little ribbon border, and within 15 minutes the first napkin was in the bag. Not bad, considering I really hadn't sewed much since my first project a couple of months ago. I was thrilled.

And then...

While backtacking the start of the second seam on Napkin #2, I did something really silly. I backtacked a bit. Stopped. Then intended to backtack another stitch or two, but I forgot to push down the reverse button. The needle went forward instead. And right through my index finger.

In the throes of extreme pain, some people scream. Some cry. Some are rendered dumb with shock. Me? I stared at my finger, trying to make some sense as to why it was bolted to the machine. I rolled up the needle. My finger went with it. The needle was clear through the skin just to the right of the nail bed (LUCKY!) and the tip of it was out the other side, bright and shiny in the light of my sewing machine.

I rolled the needle up some more. My finger kept going with it. DAMN! I had to pull my finger off the needle as neatly as possible, to keep this lovely puncture wound from getting worse. Deep breath. I think I breathed, anyway.


Still stuck.

Shoomp again, harder.

Got it.

I made it to the kitchen sink in about 3 steps, running my finger under water and grabbing a papertowel. Then I applied tons of pressure while I ran to the bathroom and dumped peroxide all over the hole. I kept the pressure on, applied neosporin, a sterile bandage, wrapped it nice and tight in gauze, and taped the hell out it.

"DAMMIT!" I yelled. "I'm a fucking moron!"

I laughed at myself, though. My finger was throbbing, but I was determined to finish sewing. I didn't need to go to the ER; it wasn't THAT bad, and besides, there is very little they can do for puncture wounds, anyway. And my tetanus is up-to-date (I think), so ...

I sat down at the machine. "I'm finishing this, I don't care," I mumbled to myself. The dog lifted her head to see who I was talking to.

I got ready to sew again with my big, silly finger. But then I realized I would have to replace the needle, because this is what happens to a needle when it goes through your finger:

Note the thread with blood on it just above the needle.

I replaced the needle and got going. An hour later, while I listened to the Yanks crushing the A's on TV, I had ripped out these lovelies:

I love them! I still have so much to learn. They definitely look like the work of a novice, injured seamstress. But despite getting impaled, I LOVE sewing. This is the craft for me. All that yarn stuff takes too damn long. That's not what I need right now. I need instant gratification. I need cutesy ribbons. I need the visceral experience of a sharp piece of metal through my finger.

The kids come home first thing tomorrow. I cannot wait. These guys.... they had such a great, long week with their dad that was long overdue. They needed that week with him. Their dad needed that time with them, too. But I'm so happy they're coming home tomorrow. It's just way too quiet around here. I miss my silly guys:

I took the bandage off to type. It's not so bad. I poured more peroxide on it and threw on a band-aid. I think I'll live.



Renee said...

OMG. I felt ill just reading about the "needle incident". I'm so glad you are ok!!!!!
The napkins are so cute too!

Jeff said...

Glad you're okay! Squeamish Renee wouldn't let me tell her my needle story, so I'll tell you...

I was using a variety of sharp carving tools usually reserved for ceramics while working on a piece of scratchboard one night. The sharpest tool of the bunch was essentially a thick, reinforced needle intended for fine detailing.

I was sitting comfortably in my chair in slippers, focused intently on the easel with my art box resting at my feet. I used the thin needle to carve some lines into the scratchboard before setting the tool down upon the art box, letting it fall in the recess where the box's handle lay.

Then the phone rang behind me. I kicked off the art box in an attempt to propel myself in the chair across the room to grab the phone.

I felt a sharp pressure. I looked down to see the needle jammed through my foot—through my slipper—at a perfect, perpendicular angle. Shock set in. I couldn't believe my eyes. Something inside me raged against the foreign enemy that had invaded my body. So, in a reflexive way, I grasped the handle and yanked it out of my foot with one, quick tug before limping downstairs to the bathroom to access the damage.

As I slowly peeled away the slipper, excepting gallons of blood, All I saw was a little red dot on either side of my foot. No bleeding, no intense pain—just shock.

It's amazing how resilient the human body is. For now though, I think I'll try to get my hands on a chainmail glove from the butcher shop for ya.

julieb said...

boy, and i was ready to ask YOU for sewing lessons.

Milk Money said...

HAHAHAHA! Although I managed to rock out 8 napkins this weekend, I'm probably more qualified to teach you a thing or two about First Aid.....

Liam said...

Outstanding work! I was going to tell you my pitchfork/foot story, but then I realized it doesn't really compare because I was 5 and not... well whatever age you are.

Milk Money said...

Thanks. Yeah, I'm 35. And, uh, decidely against anything involving pitchforks.