That is to say, I can at least hem them, which is about all that making a tablecloth amounts to these days. I made three on Friday night. One was black, one was white and one was grey. They’re our school’s colours. I could not, no matter how I tried, find the sort of fabric I wanted in grey. Black and white are not difficult to get in most widths and weights but grey is obviously less popular. I ended up with narrow little tablecloths that covered the trestles and didn’t flap about too much in the breeze, which is a major consideration for outdoor use; but then there’s the problem of how little they actually cover and how much people think they’re simply sheets seconded to the cause (and what’s wrong with that, I ask; though I feel obliged to point out that they’re nowhere near as big as sheets).
The difficulty with late-night efforts on behalf of good causes is that they’re rarely as elegant in terms of solutions as they might be were they done to less stringent timetables. I had off-white thread in the machine, so I used that on the white tablecloth. Otherwise, how would I have managed to get a bobbin with the right colour thread in it? I didn’t have a spare bobbin. Of course I didn’t. That would have meant lots of prior organisational thought regarding what I might be doing at midnight on Friday. My bobbins were loaded with colours I’d been using: off-white for whites and lights, navy for the dark blue things I’d been sewing and a dark brown that could be used for some of the other things.
I whizzed along the white cloth with off-white thread. It looked okay. It’s neat, there are no threads dangling or anything and it serves its purpose. By the time I’d finished that and cut and pinned a black mate and a grey one, the hour was late. Too tired to think if I had anything suitable, and knowing at some instinctive level that if I did I wouldn’t be able to use it because it would mean putting it onto a bobbin I didn’t have, I whizzed along the grey with a darker brown thread than I might ordinarily have used. I do have a lighter brown that probably would have been reasonable, perhaps even all right; but not wound onto a bobbin. The result is perfectly usable; not haute couture – remember, we are talking about a tablecloth that’s going to be used at BBQs and sausage sizzles in outdoor settings – but usable.
The black? Ah, yes, by that time – early morning by now and me fading fast knowing I had to be up again at about 4.30 – I was in no frame of mind, nor did I have the level of coodination required, to change to black thread in spool and bobbin. Off I whizzed with the dark brown thread. Again, it’s not couture but it’s a perfectly acceptable tablecloth for outdoor events, as are they all. I mean, they’re hemmed, for heaven’s sake, and they cover the trestles. What more do you want?
And, yes, of course I could – here we go with more conditionals – make three more of them tonight. We will need them next Saturday. However, tomorrow is a working day and I need to do other things tonight in order to be reasonably compos mentis come morning. Tomorrow they’re sending me to do a job that I have to set up all by myself. Technology!! AAAAGH! Mercifully, another female colleague has colour-coded all the connections. Otherwise, I’d be having a hissy fit and major hysterics and threatening to leave.
“You expect me to know which cord and plug goes where when there are all these other cords and plugs about the place that might or might not go there?” No. That’s why we have IT blokes. In their absence – and they frequently are absent – colour-coding saves the day. That’s one place where using whatever colour was available might have been the wrong choice, no matter how neat the finished product.