Thursday, 27 December 2012

The New Quilt; Straight Pins

As I sit here, working on this new project, I am reminded of a former patient, long since past.
This lady, a lovely Quaker, was one of the most amazing needlewoman I have ever met. Never even owned a sewing machine, all her work was done by hand.
I remember one day telling her about a dress I was hemming and the problem I was having. I just couldn't get the hem straight.
So she asked me to bring it on my next visit and I did.
For the following week, after giving my lady her morning care (medication, bath and dressing and then breakfast) I showed her the dress I was working on.
She shook ed her head, clucked her tongue and then pulling out the ripper from her apron pocket, she began ripping the hem out.
I wanted to cry. All my hard work. Gone.


But I also asked for her help and she was giving it. By ripping out the hem all together.
She then, patted the seat next to her and began to teach me the proper way to hem a garment.
"The secret, my girl is straight pins. You can never use too many straight pins!."
As I watched, each pin looked like a metal stitch in the cloth.
"Tiny stitches, straight lines, straight hems."
So I went home with a new assignment; finishing the pinning and do the stitching.
Tiny stitches.
Tiny stitches are slow going. You can't hurry.And yet the hem remain straight.
So, the next week, I showed my patient-teacher my work.
She smiled and patted my hand.
Straight pins. Tiny stitches.
That was almost thirty years ago.
"That is how we grow in G-d, my girl," My lady told me. "Slow, tiny stitches. When we go wrong, G-d rips out those mistakes and allows us to redo, to learn from them. Not throw the garment away."
I thought about this a few days ago when I made a huge mistake.
No, I didn't throw away the cloth; I just ripped out the stitches and redid the work.
And it looks so much better.

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