A Stitch In Time

Alice - Williamsburg, Virginia
Entered on April 28, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, legacy
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A Stitch In Time

The other day I strolled into a Hancock’s fabric store to purchase embroidery floss for a cross-stitch project I was beginning. I searched and searched, but there was none to be had. “We’ve stopped carrying it,” the clerk told me.

“A fabric store has stopped carrying embroidery floss?” I asked.

“No one does that kind of thing anymore,” the clerk replied.

I was stunned. I can still remember sitting beside my mother at the age of seven as she taught me to cross-stitch; the colorful threads forming small, x-shaped stitches sewn together to create a beautiful image. This quiet, calming art has been part of the culture of women for hundreds of years. Six months ago I could find embroidery floss in any fabric store; then I blinked and found the art fading into obscurity.

The clerk told me I’d have to go to a craft store to find the supplies I’d need. As I drove along my mind began to race. I thought to myself: The world of today is not the world of twenty years ago; it isn’t even the world of ten years ago. People see the traditions they once held dear as obsolete and not worth remembering. There’s the old saying that “Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”, but more importantly when people forget and stop caring about the past they lose a piece of their humanity.

By the time I got to the craft store I was thoroughly disgusted with the world in general. Walking down the aisle of cross-stitching supplies, I spied some beginning cross stitch kits. Staring at them I wondered if they were ever purchased. Upon returning home I sat down on my couch and began to sew.

Some time later my eight year-old son scrambled up on the arm of the couch and looked over my shoulder. “What cha doin’ mommy?” he asked. I told him that I was cross-stitching. His dark blue eyes scanned the pattern and then the piece I had in my hands. “Is it going to look like that?” he asked. I told him that when it was finished it would. He sat there for a few minutes in silence, and then he asked “Mommy, will you teach me how to do that?”

Words cannot express what I felt at that moment. The next day I went out and purchased the beginning cross-stitch kit. Driving home I started laughing to myself. Society had definitely changed; I had no qualms about teaching my son how to sew! He found it interesting for the same reasons I had all those years ago; it was something important in his mother’s life that could be shared with him. Finding myself in my mother’s role gave me goose bumps. I believe that traditions cannot die as they are the embodiment of the love of family and friends. It is that love that weaves together generations past, present, and future until the end of time.