I never noticed how soothing the swish of thread through fabric can be. I'd forgotten the hurry-up-slow-down look of a handmade seam - long, impatient stitches followed by nice even ones, as though my mother were watching and reminding me that it's best to do it right the first time. I recall Beezus Quimby reciting her aunt's mantra: "Make your knots a secret!"
My fingers shape something out of nothing and I become one with the women of the past, whose homes and families were as well-dressed as their own diligence and creativity allowed. I am Caroline Ingalls beside a kerosene lamp, humming hymns and mending my green delane. I am her daughter Laura, stitching for pay to buy a piano for my sister. I am Diana Barry, feverishly crocheting doilies so as not to be outdone by the Gillises. I am Hester Prynne, turning shame into an opportunity for beauty.