What is it about the kitchen table that draws us to work there? I have a perfectly good, well-lit work table upstairs in my fiber studio. But when I’m sewing in the ends of yarn on something I’ve just finished knitting, or stitching that top-batting-backing sandwich that will become a quilt, I always seem to gravitate to this eating place.
In spite of our efforts to keep it clear, the kitchen table seems to collect evidence of the things we ate (maybe some crumbs) or did, or what my husband or I thought about when we last sat there. Should we finally take advantage of that thousandth offer to join AARP, even though our lifestyle is stay-at-home, and the discounts are for hotels and museums we’ll probably never enter? Which book’s pages will that abandoned bookmark move through next? Is there insecticide drift in our neighborhood?
My handwork reminds me: most of the things I make will go around someone’s shoulders, or keep someone warm in some other way, as a bed cover or sweater does. Surrounding humans, known or not, with warmth and comfort is what my work is all about. A shawl is nothing more than a portable embrace, with or without embellishments. I make these things, but I need them, too.
Sitting and working at the kitchen table by myself, there is always the possibility that my husband will come in for lunch, ask me what I’m up to, praise the finished or almost-finished work. Though my work is conceived and worked on in solitude for the most part, there’s always that time when I need to rejoin the human circle. This table is the symbol of that circle, and I have to come back to it to remind myself that I’m part of it, even though I spend so much time alone.