Thursday, November 22, 2007

My bias (tape)

It's Thanksgiving, and I'm pretty sure the TV has been on all day---not football, but the "Arthur" marathon on PBS. I know it could be so much worse. "Arthur" really is one of my favorite shows--I'd probably watch it even if I didn't have kids--but I have to say that I feel guilty working in the kitchen and letting the kids watch six straight hours of TV. (Terry's been in the basement for much of the day, trying to do computer coding for his "Macbeth: The Game"--the class he's teaching this semester).

But this is life. It occurs to me right now that the TV-intensive Thanksgiving is a natural consequence of not having relatives or friends over for the holiday. In past years, my mom or my brother-in-law Tim have traveled (from Olympia WA or Milwaukee) to be with us; then we've gotten to experience the "It Takes a Village to Raise A Child" thing that we usually just dream about. There are advantages, I suppose, to having absolutely no family in the area--we have, for instance, developed close relationships with some of our neighbors--but on days like today, it would be nice to have an "automatic" sort of holiday date.

So the blessing associated with the nuclear Thanksgiving (the one with just the four of us and the TV on all day) is that, in between making pumpkin pie and apple cake, I got to make yards and yards of bias tape for the Christmas presents I'm putting together. I probably wouldn't have done that if we'd had family here. And I love making bias tape! It's always touch and go: I look at the instructions, and I think I understand what I need to do, but once I have the cloth cut out, I usually have to rip the stitches out a couple of times and reassemble the package. Cutting the sewn tube into the long, long strip is a challenge, too, as I have trouble accurately measuring the width. But I did it....I made probably 3 yards of light blue, and about 10 yards of bright red tape. It looks good, especially now that it's neatly wound around little bits of cardboard.

I remember reading that, back when most women sewed all their own clothes, there were many, many companies that *just made bias tape* for home sewers. The workers in these factories frequently went on strike, and when they did, there was major economic disruption. It's hard to believe that this could be true, but when I see how many bias tape ads there are in turn of the century (19th to 20th, that is) magazines, I realize that it makes sense.

I do use factory made (Wright's--the only brand now) bias tape for a lot of things, but when I know it's going to show and needs to be strong, I make my own.

Well, our turkey roast is ready to come out of the oven. I'm hungry.

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