Just One Thread Over Makes a Difference

June 12, 2022

Just One Thread Over Makes a Difference


It was my Mom’s birthday the other day and I didn’t even realize it until I saw the date on something toward the end of the day.

And then, of course, I was bombarded by appreciative memories. She taught me so much. She endured so much, through a lifetime of illnesses that rendered her wheelchair-bound and then bedridden by her mid-50s and took her from us much too soon, at just 60.

But this isn’t a sad post, it’s a short reflection on small adjustments.

Mom taught me how to embroider when I was just a kid, and I really liked it. We both festooned our jeans and tops and those of others with 70s iron-on designs or ones that my Dad drew out for us, borrowing each other’s thread and needles and chatting about satin stitches versus chain stitches, lazy stitches and French knots. That’s an embroidery project of Mom’s from 1976 below, celebrating the bicentennial.

I set down my needles and thread when I left for college and didn’t pick them back up until last year.

When I was shopping for material to recover the breakfast room chairs last fall as the kitchen remodel project got started, I picked up a small embroidery kit at a local fabric store.

While the precision I used to have hasn’t returned yet, I remembered how to do the stitches immediately. I carried that first project of this era around with me for months, doing just a bit here and there, on a plane, while listening to music or an audio book, or late at night to reduce stress. It works! The picture above is my plethora of hobbies being enjoyed while in Colorado last fall.

This was the finished product.

Embroidered flowers and butterflies.

I enjoyed the tactile nature of embroidery so much, that feeling of creating something lasting with my hands, that I picked up another kit and finished it much more quickly.

Embroidery that says "Plant Lady".

It won’t hurt my feelings if you notice the crookedness of some of the stitches. I’m still relearning the precision part, as I mentioned.

And that’s where the reflection comes in.

When deciding where to place the needle, moving over on the fabric by a single thread can make a difference in the integrity of the design. I pulled out quite a few stitches and redid them, moving just one thread over, because the stitches were out of alignment with the overall pattern.

This applies to just about everything in life, large and small.

One less helping at dinner, and I lose weight.

One teaspoon of cayenne in a recipe can render it perfectly spiced rather than boring.

Changing a single word in a lyric or a poem can alter the meaning or make it more clear and compelling.

Adding a pop of color to a monochromatic room can change it from humdrum to enticing.

One person who speaks up, or stands in front of a tank, or takes an iconic picture, can change hearts and minds.

And so on.

© 2022, Glover Gardens

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