My mother had a Singer sewing machine just like this.
It sat in the alcove of the bedroom
and if she turned her head
she could see out over the river
and the rising fields on the far bank.
I can remember the smoothness of the hand wheel
and the heavy cast iron treadle;
the solidity of the wooden table
and the little drawer which held bobbins and shuttles
and was always slightly dusty;
the dull shine of the base plate
and the intricate lettering, gold on black;
the uneven rattle of the treadle
and the clip sound of scissors.
We played with fabric scraps while she sewed
and absorbed her experience and belief
that she could make anything if she wanted to.
In time I made clothes with my own machine;
it did not occur to me that it might be difficult.
My daughter, of the Facebook generation,
so confident with iPod and netbook,
who can even set the video-recorder,
thinks that sewing is very tricky.
I think I might have failed as a mother.