Friday, 26 February 2010

picking up the threads

Many years ago I used to sew.
My passion was to embroider replica samplers
and follow the intricate colour variations
of girls who sewed by candleight
with hand-dyed threads.

And then I was very ill
and the embroidery was never picked up again.
I really don't know why.
Perhaps I lost my ability to concentrate
or perhaps our life changed subtly
and the time for stitching got lost.

I opened the bag recently
and it was all as I had left it.
The needle was pushed through the canvas
and the silks were as vibrant as ever.

When I looked closely there was a tiny knot in the thread,
so small that I could hardly see it.
And I wondered if I had turned away
because that tiny knot
had seemed too difficult to sort out.
When you are ill,
small challenges can seem insurmountable.

It seemed extraordinary that such a tiny knot,
so small that you can hardly see it,
could act as a barrier for fifteen years
and I decided that this weekend
I will find the time to undo the knot
and start again.

for my friend, Gina


  1. I am three things- 1. most touched and inspired by the link to "ill", 2. tickled by the link beside it to "C'mon you Irish" given the weekend's line-up, and 3. going to bed now!

  2. Indeed it is sometimes a tiny thing that trips us up. Delighted to hear you will get past this obstacle and continue. It is undoubtedly from you that Master M inherited his piratical genes.

  3. oh how lovely! I haven't done any needlework for such a long time, yes a few WIPs stashed in the blanket box...maybe I should get them out? Thanks for sharing :-)

  4. Wow, meningitis ...
    I have a drawer full of threads and me too, left cross stitch abruptly as soon as Brizio started growing up. As you, I have a canvas with a needle put through, exactly as you have shown us.
    But fo rme, no plans to pick it up again anytime soon.

  5. I too have a cross stitch project still with the needle in - but mine was superceded by patchwork and quilting - perhaps as I'm still wandering in an unexpected and undesirable quilt-free zone I should pick up the cross stitch to start my stitching motor again - enjoy your stitching if you get time between the 6nations matches this weekend

  6. Stitching time equals thinking time........... Enjoy both! :O)

  7. Thank you Alice! I think you will find the stitching very theraputic and it will be beautiful when it is finished. I was moved by the post "Ill" and felt thankful that you recovered with no after effects.

  8. Oh Alice, such a beautifully written post. Yes, I think that knot has been there long enough, time to gently unravel, perhaps a gentle move onward in life. I have a Kaffe Fassett cross-stitch (nowhere near as beautiful as your fine embroidery) which is sitting, paused in motion, untouched since the birth of my son ten years ago. Your post has made me think about when the time might come for me to return to that and about how quickly such big chunks of life go by.

    Dylan had Menigicoccal Septicaemia when he was 4 years old and I still whisper thanks daily that he came through it.

  9. I'm always so excited to see anyone stitching. The colour combinations are lovely.

  10. When we sorted out M-in-law's flat for her move here, we found a tablecloth half-finished that she'd abandoned in 1970 when my father-in-law was ill. Everything was as bright and clean as the day it had been packed away - halfway through a pink flower. It's waiting now for me or my daughter to take it up.
    Hope you enjoy getting back to yours.

  11. all have knots we find too difficult to unravel. I wish the metaphorical ones were as easy as the concrete ones.

  12. Such beautiful colors!

  13. Remember, if it is that one tiny knot which is keeping you from returning to a joy, there is a Gordian solution....



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