Running stitch

When I had no grey sprinkled in my hair
and when wearing glasses
was more of a fashion statement than a necessity,
I was given this, my sewing box.
It’s not an heirloom
(although it could be).
It wouldn’t fetch much in a sale
(although it should).
It means far more to me
than many other things I have accumulated over the years.
It was made with love.
I know that underneath the purple-patterned material
there is only wadding, the stiffest card
and hundreds of tiny stitches.
It’s nothing special, in the grand scheme of things.
But I imagine my mum,
curled over the dining table,
carefully cutting out
the hexagons and the rectangles,
placing right-sides together,
pins pressed between pursed lips
as she concentrates on her task.
I imagine her stepping back and smiling
as she places the lid on top,
the satisfyingly perfect fit a testament to her precision,
and her desire to make something for me that I would love.
It must be twenty years old, this box of delights
and it has stood the test of time.
I have stored my needles, threads, pins, zips, buttons and ribbons within,
but most of all, I have loved it.
Thank you, Mum.


photo 1

photo 2

photo 3


Running stitch


This week, in dVerse Poetics, Mary wants us dig around at home and unearth something special to write about.

A sewing box might not seem special, but like many things that we keep, it has huge sentimental value for me. I hope you enjoyed my poem, which really is quite straightforward. My mum made this sewing box for me just after I left university and I can still remember how pleased I was to receive it, miles away from hearth and home. Funny – this would suit my mum down to the ground. She has all kinds of little things secreted away – memories of me, my sister and my brother and our growing up stages. I know she has some extracts of stories I wrote when I was a little girl – filed away in The Sideboard!

Do pop over to the dVerse community and see what the rest of us magpie poets have decided to share. The pub opened at 3pm EST, so come on in!

37 thoughts on “Running stitch

  1. big smiles…what a cool little treasure…and that she put it together by hand makes it all the more special….def a tangible reminder of her…and love for you…would be cool to look back at those stories you wrote as well…

    1. Thank you, Brian. Those stories will remain hidden away for as long as possible! I had a bit of a fixation about boarding school when I was growing up – not because I hated living at home, but because I read a lot of school stories – Enid Blyton, Elinor M Brent Dyer… oh, the memories! It all sounded so exotic…

      As for the sewing box, yes, I treasure it. Definitely.

  2. Freya, I really enjoyed this. I inherited my mother’s sewing box as well. Lots of different threads (which I don’t use) and a collection of needles (which I do use) and a wonderful pin cushion – the likes of which they don’t make any more. It is nice that you are continuing to use this box, to store your own ‘stuff’ in it. Your mother would indeed be happy about this. You have written about a TRUE treasure!

  3. Sewing boxes are real treasure chests.. I remember my grandmother’s — all the buttons we could play with (today it would be considered unresponsible to let a child play with it).. Love the intricate design your mother made.. I so understand the memories it has….

    1. Don’t get me started on ‘Health & Safety’! I’m sure it’s used as an excuse to squeeze fun out of life – and to avoid the remote possibility of being sued….

      Thank you for reading – and enjoying!

  4. I inherited a sewing kit, not a box, from a member of my mother’s family but am not sure whom. It was handmade too and I wonder whether the person who made it put as much love into it as your mother.

    1. Thank you, Grace. For a while, it didn’t get a lot of use, but there always seems to be something that needs mending these days. Hopefully, I’ll get back into proper sewing soon.

    1. Ha! I did go through a teenage phase of making a few of my own dresses, and then was heading back that way with a new sewing machine about a year ago – things have changed beyond all imagining since then, so I’m not in a position to get back into proper sewing again – but hopefully soon. It’s quite therapeutic!

    1. Thank you! I do think of this William Morris quote, when I look at it:

      Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

      I think it fits both requirements!

  5. Yes, I also have one made by my mother….kind of awkward and funny looking tho…but that was her making things that we cherish…nice reflections on your treasure.

  6. A perfect choice, Freya; makes me smile while holding back tears, having lost my Mum when she was only 39; somehow I ended up with her driver’s license, and social security card; go figure.

    1. I am so sorry you lost your mum at such a young age. Something similar happened to my own mum – she was only 8 when my grandmother died. She has her engagement ring, and some photos, which she treasures, of course. It is weird what we end up with, I agree.

  7. first, that was a lovely tribute and thank you. you can tell it is very special. second, that is one nifty box; I love the way it expands when the lid comes off.

  8. Some items are dear to us, hold a special place in our hearts…they are priceless in more ways than one, and no money can compensate for their value. What a lovely tribute.

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