Sewing Class Teaches Me More Than Stitching

A Winning Journey

On June 17th, I won some pretty fabric in a draw at a sewing class. While this is a great prize, like so many of the things I’ve won, it’s often the journey to winning them which is interesting. The prize itself would not merit a blog post. Thus, I pose this question to you: have you ever really enjoyed something you weren’t that good at? Well, that’s how I feel about sewing. In the last five years or so, I’ve taken some classes. I’ve made some projects on my own; the most ambitious of which was a dress for my niece. These endeavors have had mixed results. However, I continue to keep sewing. Consequently, this is what led me to sign up for a strawberry-themed tea and sewing class on June 17th.

A Strawberry-themed Sewing Class

My best friend joined me for what began as a group of ladies sipping tea and munching on delicious scones around a small table at The Stitchery. This is a new Port Moody business that specializes in sewing classes and renting access to sewing machines. It was all very civilized and relaxing, but I knew what was coming next: a strawberry-themed sewing project. My best friend decided to make a strawberry purse, whereas I chose the strawberry pin cushion. I knew that my level of ambition should be in line with my level of ability!

Slow Progress

Then, I began. As usual, I started with lots of enthusiasm, which quickly devolved into a bit of confusion. I needed to ask for help midway, and at the end when a tiny hole emerged at project end. I was also slow. The senior ladies in the group finished their projects very quickly while we hurried to finished before the next group of people were due to take their places at the machines.

Life-long Learning

So, why do I continue to do this? I think it has a lot to do with who I am. I hate to give in to my own weaknesses. I’m not a hands-on learner, but I want to improve my capabilities. I know I’m not very patient, but I want to be. It’s easy for me to sit in front of a computer screen and write, but I want to be more than a wordsmith. And, hey, five years ago I couldn’t operate a sewing machine or even sew on a button by hand, but now I can. So, I’m not going to give up. I refuse to be discouraged. I’ll give it my best and I’ll be better for it. And also, who doesn’t love a pretty piece of fabric?

 

We Fell in Love With SFU

On January 1st of this year, we went home. We moved to UniverCity at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The university really is like a home to Ryan and I. Not only are we SFU grads, but we both worked for the university, and most importantly, met one another there.

This connection with the university and our recent move inspired me to submit our story to the “We Fell in Love at SFU” contest launched by the university’s alumni association. In fact, I didn’t actually know there was a contest connected with the call for submissions. I just wanted to share our experience.

My SFU Story

Well, it turns out there was and we won an amazing prize package, which I will describe in detail later. However, the focus of this post is on our love for SFU itself.

I attended SFU from 1994 to 1997. Every time I stepped on campus, I took a deep breath. Anyone who has spent time on top of a mountain knows what I’m talking about. It’s so refreshing, and the view never disappoints. Also, the smallness of the campus always appealed to me. It never took very long to get anywhere and there were always opportunities to meet people outside of your own faculty.

Two Amazing Instructors

My major was English and my minor was political science. I had some great instructors. A couple in particular have always stuck with me. Dr. Sheila Roberts taught Medieval Literature classes. She began her lectures by playing music that had a connection to the works we were studying. In one of her tutorials, she brought in a medieval feast she’d made, and I remember being so impressed that she’d baked authentic medieval bread! Sheila always knew how to create a classroom atmosphere that was conducive to learning and stimulating to the imagination.

Dr. Jerry Zaslove taught a course focused on the works of Franz Kafka and stories inspired by him. In my early 20s, Kafka made a huge impression on me. I don’t think any work of literature influenced me as much as The Trial. What Jerry did when teaching Kafka’s powerful novels and short stories was encourage us to engage in critical thinking, and discuss contentious ideas with one another in a respectful way. To this day, I still keep the “Team Kafka” button he had made for each of us.

I have other fond memories of my time at SFU too. Sitting by the pond, feeling the sun on my face as I studied for exams; going to the pub basement and getting a mammoth vegetarian sandwich for only $2; watching foreign films at Images Theatre with friends. Not surprisingly, the list of reminiscences is long, and sometimes I wish I could relive those years all over again.

Ryan’s SFU Story

SFU Sweatshirt
Ryan Wears His Winning SFU Sweatshirt

Ryan wanted to share some thoughts about his time at SFU too, so I present them here:

SFU was where I met some of my best friends and learned vital skills, and a lot of that happened in the Computing Science Student Society’s (CSSS’) common room. That narrow, cramped space, still in use today, had a video terminal you could check email on, a cheap pop machine, and some of the smartest people I have ever met. The conversations I had there were as educational as most of my courses. In an even odder turn of events, I was briefly the president of the society.

Our SFU Prize Package

SFU alumni prize box
SFU Prize Box

So, it’s time to talk about the fabulous prize package! The $150 box of delights included:

  • Two bags
  • Two sweatshirts
  • One USB
  • One sweatshirt blanket
  • Two glass tumblers
  • One very nice card from the alumni association

Thank you, alumni association, we are loving everything and are so happy to be back at SFU!