I travel with an old French sewing kit my friend Thora gave me.
Which, on the face of it, is ridiculous. I love this kit (antique! French! useful!) and would be heartbroken if it were lost. Even though I don't pack it in my carry on, all it would take would be one overzealous or light-fingered TSA agent to decide it was dangerous contraband (small red box full of sharp things?) and it would be Gone Forever.
Here's the inside:
See the cunning little scissors and the darling awl? And the thimble, which I never use? Why on earth would I risk losing this to satisfy the government's desire for Security Theater?
I bring this kit with me for two reasons: first, because I do more sewing in hotel rooms than I have previously cared to admit. (The way it goes is, Erin decides to make new skirt at last minute. Erin does not have time to do hand-hemming of said skirt before packing it. Erin throws appropriate bobbin into sewing kit, stays up way too late in destination city hemming said skirt and watching what is always available on every hotel TV in the land: reruns of Law and Order. Limit one per trip.)
Also, if I left this kit in a drawer at home, I'd probably never use it. I have multiple pairs of new, sharp, ultimately disposable scissors scattered around the house. Ditto seam rippers. (And we all know I don't use thimbles.) The box would sit in a drawer, being kept "safe" (next to all the jewelry I never wear) and that would be tragic. Tools are meant to be used, and every time I use these I am another woman in a line that probably goes back more than a hundred years. Every time I use these little scissors I think fondly of my friend Thora, who is a remarkable person.
Most importantly, every time I use these I enjoy using them. Their beauty somehow improves the mundane work of hemming — it seems to go faster with this little box open beside me. So much of sewing is about enjoying the process (if you don't enjoy the process, it's not worth doing), and this box makes what could be incredibly annoying (hemming a skirt in a hotel room in poor light with the TV blaring — most hotel rooms have two volume settings: mime and football stadium) a small and quiet pleasure.
Here are the scissors and awl out of the box:
If you have a chance, do something with your favorite tools today — write something with your favorite pen. Cook something in your favorite pan. Take a minute to acknowledge the pleasure of good tools …