Do you remember when I told you I had joined a Patchwork Group, mainly to improve my French but also to maybe learn some new skills? (if you don’t, it’s here )
Well, for the past two weeks I have been showing the rest of the group how to make one of my hexagonal étui boxes and, as the written instructions are in English, I have been talking them through it in French. There have been some mistakes made! Partly because they are so impatient and keep getting ahead of themselves before I have shown them properly how to do it but, partly because I have been making them for so long the things that seem obvious to me, like not leaving a seam allowance when cutting out the gussets that hold up the sides, aren’t obvious to anybody else. One poor woman had inserted them but they were so big the box sides opened almost flat. Of course, I’m sure none of it is due to my command of the French language.
In return I am being taught how to do ’boutis’ and, so far, I have been told off as my stitches aren’t small enough and the ever helpful Michelle kindly pulled all my existing stitches out and suggested I start again. The indignity of it. Although I do have trouble with tiny stitches – I don’t know why – I think I have become too reliant on the sewing machine. I can do them when they are ‘invisible’ such as on my boxes but for quilting purposes and, now boutis, I find it difficult. Anyway, I will do my homework and see if I can get them smaller and make her proud.
As far as learning more of the language goes……the first week I sat next to the ‘doyenne’ of the group who everybody calls ‘Mamie’ (gran) – can you imagine doing that in the U.K. and not getting a slap? Anyway, she is 88, originally Spanish and insisted on talking to me with a knitting needle clamped between her teeth. I hope I nodded in the right places but I doubt it. As far as I’m concerned, the most useful word(s) in French is ‘d’accord’ which sort of means, ‘o.k.’, ‘alright’, ‘oh, I see’ and other things along those lines. I use it all the time.