• P.M. Neist

The embroidery inspector

I spent part of the afternoon embroidering the package for "The Little King" an illustrated short story.

And as always, I used a very long thread and it got tangled. Using a very long thread is a terrible idea but I do it all the time so I can hear my grandmother's "I told you so" in my mind.

She could not stand long threads. She called them "lazy woman's thread" and lectured me e-ve-ry time I cut one.

I was about eight years old when she starting teaching me. She gave me scraps of fabric to make doll clothes but I had to ask and was not allowed to have more than was strictly necessary for the project. And if my work wasn't up to her standards, she would take it apart and have me redo it. I loved sewing, embroidering, knitting but I never conformed to her standards.

By the time I was in high-achoo, I was drawing my own patters. I loved disregarding the grain of my fabrics. I hand-painted my buttons and mixed knit pieces with industrial fabrics.

All these things bothered my grandmother but also, they intrigued her. More than once, she helped me, against her better judgement. In the end though, she always let me experiment in whatever way I wanted. She gave me this incredible gift of being able to experiment while benefitting from her technical knowledge and sometime grudging support.

But she applauded me too. And the very best was when she did not know what to make of my designs and just shook her head and smiled, as if, at that moment, I was the most talented, wonderful child she had ever laid eyes on.


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