Harry woke to the smell of frying bacon and yeast bread.
"Oh no," slipped from his lips, and he got dressed quickly, and sped quietly down the stairs.
"Good Morning," Miriam greeted as Harry came into the kitchen. She was reading the paper, a cup of coffee in one hand, the paper in the other, and she turned the page with a tentacle as she smiled up at Harry.
Harry blinked, "Um," he said, staring.
"Have a seat. Do you take coffee, or do you prefer your milk straight?" Jezbet asked.
Harry startled, didn't quite squeak, "Coffee?" he asked.
Jezbet walked over with a cup a moment later, "Cream's on the table, I left space."
Harry wrapped his fingers around the warming cup, and sat, watched as Jezbet pulled a round, flattish bread from the pot on the stove, let it drip a moment, then put it on a plate. She pulled an iron plate on a handle from the skillet, turned the bacon, and put it back on top. She patted and pulled another ball of dough, then dropped it into the pot where it sizzled.
Harry smelled his coffee, took a sip, and burnt his tongue. He looked at the table, and found the pitcher of cream. He poured enough in to cool his coffee, and turn it a pale brown. Much better.
He watched as Miriam again turned the page of her newspaper with a tentacle.
"Oh, that's right, sorry," Miriam said. She set her coffee down, turned her head a little to the side, and pulled her hair up. She wiggled the tentacle, which tapered from a thick base at the top of her neck to snaky slenderness, "There's another one on the other side."
"Oh," Harry said, "That's kinda cool."
"Watch this," Miriam smiled, then turned green, then woodland camo, then blue, red, and back to her normal color.
"Wow. Magic?" Harry asked.
"Chromophores, just like an octopus. The tentacles were inspired by octopi, too, but aren't as obvious a copy."
"You two ready to eat?" Jezbet asked, picking up a largish tray
"Always," Miriam purred.
Harry blinked, then blushed from his hair to the neck of his shirt.
"Miriam," Jezbet scolded, gently.
"I'm sorry Harry, I wasn't teasing you," she paused a moment, "I could if you'd like?"
Harry looked at her, eyes wide, "Please don't."
Miriam laughed, and Jezbet chuckled.
She set a plate in front of Harry first, then Miriam, then her own plate. She set down a covered basket, a pot went on a trivet, two shaker-top containers, and a plate of bacon, then returned the tray to its place beside the stove.
"The confectioner's sugar is good on the fry bread, particularly with a little cinnamon," Miriam said, grabbing the pot and ladling out a scoop of something with a savory smell onto her own fry bread, "I prefer the green chile stew, myself."
Harry gingerly sprinkled powdered sugar and cinnamon onto his own bread, and ate a piece of bacon. There are three eggs on his plate, too - one boiled, and cool, one glistening, the yolk yellow and liquid, and one cooked hard, the yolk popped after it was flipped. Harry ate that one first.
Jezbet, he noticed, also poured stew on her fry bread, which she then tore pieces off of with her fingers to eat. She pulled the lid off the basket, and offered it to Harry, "Another?"
Harry said, "Please," and took the top fry bread, dropping it onto the egg with the runny yolk.
He watched as he ate the bread he put sugar on. Jezbet and Miriam smiled at each other, didn't really talk, but ate quickly. He licked his fingers, picked up the pot of stew, and served himself two ladles full.
It was very spicy, burning his mouth, making his eyes water and his nose run. He used his knife and fork to cut up his fry bread and eggs, and used them to mop up, and tame, his stew. He alternated bites with drinks of his coffee.
He looked up, noticed that his cup is almost empty, "Please."
Jezbet poured, then slid the cream over to him as she returned the pot to the warmer.
"Here," Miriam held out the basket of fry bread.
Harry took another one, and tore it into pieces to mop his plate, wiping up the last of his stew and egg yolk.
Jezbet pushed the plate of bacon over near his plate, and Miriam had left the basket of fry bread. "Eat," Jezbet said, "We're going to be teaching you why things work, so that when you're in magic school, you will know when there is an easy way, and when you have to do it the hard way."
"Oh?" Harry sugared another fry bread, and transferred a few pieces of bacon to his plate.
"Yep. Jezbet'll teach you how the sewing machine works, then we'll make you some clothes."
"OK," Harry said.
"So, we've loaded the bobbin," Jezbet said, "This is a shuttle bobbin," she popped it out of the bobbin winder, "And this is the shuttle. Current machines don't use a shuttle, I think because a rotating shuttle allowed for easier reverse stitch. You drop the bobbin in, and pull the thread under the tension spring. That done, you drop the shuttle in its cradle." She pulled the loose end of the thread from the big spool up, and fed it through loops, "This in the upper tension, and you adjust in when needed," between the spring-loaded plates, and up through an arm that moved up and down, then through a couple more loops, then threaded it through the needle.
She took a piece of fabric, and set it on the machine, "I'm going to leave the slideplates off, so you can watch it work," she slid the fabric under the needle, and flicked a lever, causing a clunk, "That is the presser foot, and it holds the fabric against the feed pawl, which moves the fabric forward one stitch at a time. For each stitch, the needle pushes the top thread though the fabric, the arm drops, loosening the top thread, the shuttle pulls the bottom thread through the loop, and the arm pulls the top thread tight. If the bottom thread is pulled out the top, your upper tension is too high, and if the bottom thread is loose, your tension is too low."
She let Harry hand-crank the machine around a few times. He did, watching the string slide around the shuttle. "That's pretty cool."
Jezbet nodded, "Sewing machines were almost as important as electricity in changing the economics of the world. Before sewing machines, clothes were a major budget item, and someone stealing your laundry could be devastating to a family. Making and repairing clothes took a good chunk of a family's, generally the women, time. Now a normal shirt costs less than a meal."
"We're gonna practice sewing straight and curved seams, then I'm gonna let Miriam take over."
"You don't sew?"
"Upholstery. Clothes annoy me," Jezbet shrugged and smiled.
"We'll start with a basic t-tunic, which is a simple, easily modifiable garment," Miriam sketched it out on a piece of paper, "Make the body shorter, it's a shirt, longer, and it's a dress, sleeves can be tight, or trail to the ground. It isn't fitted so much as sized, so it is very simple and easy to make, cut it out, and sew it down the sides."
Miriam walked him through measuring him and sizing the pattern accordingly. She helped him fold the fabric, good side in, and showed him how to pin the pattern in place.
"Fabric sheers should only be used on fabric, so don't use these for cutting leather or paper, OK? We've got other scissors for that," Miriam cut one side along the edge of the paper pattern with quick, practiced motions and long, smooth cuts.
Harry cut the other side, struggling a bit to keep all three layers even, despite the pins, and his cuts were short, leaving many jagged edges.
"If you keep it up, your edges will get prettier, but this is good enough. Now you get to sew it. Did Jezbet show you how to backtack the seam ends?"
Harry shook his head.
"Start a bit in from the edge, sew to the edge," Miriam did, then left the needle down as she lifted the presser foot and turned the fabric around, "It's a bit easier if your machine does reverse, but I still like this machine," she dropped the presser foot again, spun the handwheel, and started working the treadle quickly, guiding the seam along an even half-inch from the cut edge, pulling the pins as she went, and tugging the extra fabric along every few inches. She stopped after about half of the sleeve, "Like that."
Harry nodded. It took him two tries to get the machine going again, he messed up the first time, the treadle turning the belt backwards. He got that sorted, and sewed, mostly evenly, down that edge. He slowed down at the end, stopped a stitch past the edge, and turned the handwheel backward, stabbing the needle back into the cloth, lifted the presser foot, turned the fabric, and sewed back a couple centimeters. He cranked the wheel forward, lifting the needle out, and lifted the presser foot. He pulled the cloth gently away, tucked the threads into the cutter below the presser foot's lever, and cut it free.
Miriam nodded at him, "Nice. You keep practicing and you'll have this down."
Harry smiled, and put the other seam under the needle.
Harry wore a shirt and pants he sewed himself to lunch.
"Looking good, Harry," Jezbet said, "Better than I would have done." She buttered the flat plates of the appliance in front of her, put a sandwich in, and closed it.
Harry looked at the device, "Is that a waffle iron?"
"Yes. This one has reversible plates, so right now it's a sandwich press."
"That's pretty cool."
"They're harder to find now than they used to be. This one is probably forty years old, we got it in the '60s."
Harry watched, smelling the butter, bread, melting cheese, and ham.
"And done. First one's for you," Jezbet picked up the grilled sandwich and put it on a plate for him, "Pickle and crisps are traditional sides, but there's all sorts of things," she waved at the collection of bottles and bags on the counter.
Harry found a dill pickle and shook some potato crisps onto his plate.
Jezbet put another sandwich in the press, "Go on, sit down."
Harry sat. His sandwich was crisp, gooey, and delicious.