I have dabbled in most of the needle arts. I’ve knit a few blankets and scarves, crocheted stuffed animals and baby clothes and embellished a few hand towels and aprons with embroidery, but needlepoint has always been my favorite. The reason is quite simple—I don’t like to count. Needlework is what I like to do with my hands when I am doing something else. I’m a fidgety sort, you might say. I’ve never been able to just watch TV, for example. I have to be stitching or perusing a magazine or at the very least, doing a crossword at the same time.
Perhaps I am a victim of the new math taught to me in elementary school. To this day, I am confused as to why they taught us base 12 numbering and I thank the heavens above that calculators were invented. And I don’t mean those fancy graphing calculators my kids now need in school. I’m talking the simple four functions that make simple arithmetic easy.
My introduction to the love of needlearts all started with my grandmother, who we all called "Mow." Needlepoint, crochet and quilting were her favorite ways to keep her hands busy. She was the product of another century, born in 1899, but always kept up with the times. In the 70's she crocheted granny square blankets for each of her grandchildren. She also hooked and stitched a wardrobe for my vast collection of Troll dolls. As I grew older and she grew old, we spent hours on the sofa watching The A-Team, stitching canvases and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with an iced-cold Coke. Her last Christmas, she gave me an embroidered baby quilt, that wrapped her future great-grandchildren in love long after she passed.
Needlepoint became the way that we shared our time. Every summer I would fly down to Louisville, KY to visit for a week or two--just me, one-on-one with my grandparents without my sisters or brother. It was tradition for us to go...