Go ahead, melt your mother’s heart on your way to some other universe


She’s wearing hand-embroidered badges on a vintage sweater with knitted-in blue strawberries. (I think that’s what they are!)

To my secret sorrow (well, not so secret any more now, is it? Hi, kids!) my daughters have never been all that keen on making stuff.

Knitting? Meh. The older one made a luscious merino & cashmere scarf for an old boyfriend, and that was the sum of her knitting interest, at least for now.

Sewing? The younger one mastered basic machine skills when she tackled a cotton tank top, but the rest of the sewing projects she planned are still uncut.

Weaving? Both of them have spent a week at my summer weaving camp, but neither one is begging me to bring home the vintage 36″ LeClerc counterbalance loom and wedge it in the spare room.

So you can imagine my delight when the younger one, loafing around the house on a week’s school vacation and binging on episode after episode of a British TV show featuring the 10th and 11th incarnations of a certain Time Lord, decided she was also going to make some nifty little badges. Just for the fun of it.


Like this one, which actually sums up this particular child’s toddlerhood pretty well.


And this one, which describes her now, in more ways than one.

She found my stash of wool felt and safety pins, I dug out the box of embroidery floss and showed her how to separate the strands, and then I did the hard part (for me, at any rate).

I went away and let her figure it out.

That, I’ve found, is frequently the most difficult part of teaching somebody to do anything at all. You have to use as few words as possible to convey the essentials. And then you have to stop talking and let your student do it—without a shred of hovering interference.



Thank you, Dr. you-know-Who-you-are. You’ll probably never know it, but you did something amazing in this corner of the universe.