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Posts tagged: fabric

Stitching love, hope and prayer into fabric

     Years ago, the week before Easter Sunday, I sat beside my sister’s hospital bed watching her fever rise and listening to her struggle to breathe.
    She was so sick, fighting for every breath, and I was powerless to help her in any way. The only thing I could do was be there so she could see me when she woke up. So she would know she wasn’t alone.
    The nights were the worst, punctuated by harsh light,  the eerie, alien sounds of IV alarms and the hissing and gurgling of the oxygen.
    To keep my anxiety at bay, I brought a project to the hospital with me each day. Something to quiet my mind and keep my hands busy.
    While my sister slept I sat in a chair beside the bed and smocked cotton Easter dresses for my daughters. Smocking, is an old, old way to decorate a garment. Fabric is pleated and then tiny stitches made with embroidery floss hold the pleating in place. The range of patterns run from simple geometrics to elaborate images.
    I never really learned to sew, the finer mathmatic elements of construction eluded me, so I had a friend who always put the garments together for me. But, I could smock. I wasn’t an expert, but I could count the pleats and follow the simpler graphs. I could, building one stitch on top of another, turn an ordinary piece of cotton into a little work of art.

(Continued…)

 

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Cheryl-Anne Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement. Cheryl-Anne is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. She is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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