Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Eye of the Needle

Grandma Rice used to have quilts set up in her living room. Mother would go over and help her sew, not tie them, while we sat quietly underneath and pretended to be in a little neat tent on some wonderful adventure, sort of a magic carpet upside down. Mother used to sew fabulous quilts out of something soft and satiny, but she was always good at threading the needle. For the purposes of today's blog, we are just talking about Grandma, for reasons I'll explain.

Grandma also used to embroider pillow cases, and crochet the edges as well. She taught me a little bit about it, let's say she tried. The most fascinating part was trying to tie those little french knot stitches. Hers were nice and tight. Mine were like blobs of ink. The concentration was such that you stuck your tongue out while trying to get them to work.

The point of all this is that she reached a time where she couldn't see well enough to get the thread through the needle and would just ask me to do it. That was cool, but in the back of my mind, I thought: "It's right there, big as the sky. How can you not see it?" It took me all of two seconds to thread it and hand it back to her WA LA. She had one of those little gizmos where you somehow attach the thread to it, shove the little pointed metal thing through the eye, and there ya go. I never even tried it out, why bother, being Miss Eagle Eye?

Tonight I sat down to do my yearly mending, hemming a sleeve that had come undone on a blouse and lowering the hem on a pair of slacks. I dug out my "sewing box", which in a former life was a Christmas cookie container. It's a pretty thing and I can cram all my sewing stuff into it, seeing as I don't need all that much. I had left a needle and thread all ready to go from last time, so fixed the sleeve in a flash. Then I had to "refuel." My goodness, you'd have thought little elves had come in the night and fused the eye shut!

I tried it with my glasses on. I tried it with my glasses off. I even stuck out my tongue for effect! It was ridiculous. I moved my arms around like a conductor trying to thread that needle and finally accidentally got it through, a big relief. But then, I ran out of thread again! I wasn't as lucky the second time...other than my grandson came by for a few minutes...so I pretended to be like Grandma and asked him for help.

The most wonderful thing happened. He couldn't do it either! We decided the eye of the needle was much too small, the thread was probably poor quality, and the lighting wasn't good from that dumb lamp.

Apparently it's a genetic thing.

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