Once, when I was perhaps 11 or 12, my school took us on a trip to London’s Science Museum. I don’t remember much about that trip except that I was better than most of my classmates at hanging onto a bar like a monkey (sadly not a skill I’ve retained), and that my brain was/is extraordinarily ‘female’. There was a monitor, you see, on which you took various tests to ascertain the relative strength of the male and female parts of the brain. I think it was supposed to show that ‘male’ brains are better at spatial awareness and ‘female’ brains at multi-tasking, but that on the whole every person has a mix of both, or something like that. What the machine told me was that my brain was almost exclusively ‘female’. I was a rare bird on the multi-tasking front, but a total squib when it came to spatial awareness (with the bruises to prove it), etc, and therefore my interior processes were somewhat skewed.
Which might explain how it took me a really long time to realise that peppermint green scotty dogs don’t actually make for particularly ‘gender neutral’ fabric.
My sister is moving into a flat with her boyfriend in the spring, and so I thought a pair of homemade oven mitts would be an excellent early gift for them both, and fun to make. I popped into my favourite haunt, Sew Over It Clapham, to pick up the fabric on their Christmas shopping evening and, I don’t know, maybe my brain was addled by the free mince pies or something, but the scotty dog fabric seemed perfect – ‘Jack likes dogs’ and this is ‘not at all girly’ is precisely what my brain said to itself. ‘And look, a perfectly matching green binding with little stars on it! Everyone likes stars!’
The mitts are 9″ squares with two layers of wadding inside (does anyone know anywhere that offers a range of different wadding thicknesses?); the quilting lines were hand-basted before being machine stitched, and the bias binding was attached by machine and then hand.
It was only once I’d actually finished the first mitt that I realised. They’re cute! Not neutral and man-friendly – very cute. And when it comes to accessorising his life, Jack isn’t really a ‘cute’ kinda guy. His current home kitchen is one of those ones that’s so minimalist you can’t find any of the cupboards. The girl-brain strikes again!
Ah well. Knowing my sister these won’t be the only girly things making an appearance in the new pad. And hey, Jack does at least like dogs…
Plus as you can see my boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind having Queen-themed tea towels in our kitchen…!