#ThankStitching No. 39 with Martha MacMillan

Martha MacMillan

Instagram: @ladycamelopard


My gratitude for needlearts is two pronged. Firstly, I am an extremely visual & tactile person, so the fact that knitting & embroidery can be experienced with both the eyes & the hands makes them insanely pleasant to my brain. I didn’t realize just how important working with some sort of needle & string was to me until 2014, when the index finger on my right (dominant) hand swelled up for no reason from March until July, when I had to have surgery to remove the swollen tissue. It feels much, much longer in my memory because I nearly went completely nuts. I did Sudoku, crossword puzzles, studied neuroanatomy, & even tried to just sit & watch television in my evenings, but the longer it went, the more on edge I felt myself get. I would sit & be bored when I was supposed to be decompressing. I became a rather cranky person. I began knitting again 8 days after surgery & the first few stitches were like those first few bites of your favorite ice cream. Now I have arthritis in both hands & I live in fear of the day it is too painful to stitch anymore. So far so good, though.

The second prong has to do with two of the most important women in my life, whom I haven’t had in my life for many years now. My grandmother did all sorts of crafting with my brother & I as kids, but one of my favorite projects (which I still have) was an embroidered version of a coloring page; a kitten sleeping in an armchair. I did all the back/stem stitching & she did the knots & daisies. The other woman was my great aunt, who would cast on stitches, let me knit & purl for however long I wished, then cast off & use my misshapen swatches lovingly as dish rags. Her knitting room was one of my happy places as a child & the handwritten instruction page for knitting & purling is one of my dearest possessions. They both passed many years ago, now, but I am so grateful for what I learned from them & even more grateful that I can maintain a connection with them through these crafts. I am thankful for the fact I’ve continued to improve in both knitting & embroidery & for the mental relaxation they afford me. Lastly, I am grateful for the new connections these crafts have helped me make with other stitchers, that I may learn new techniques, see their beautiful works, & be able to share my own.

#ThankStitching is a project to collect and curate reasons why stitchers worldwide are thankful for their particular needle craft. Look for daily posts in November with hourly posts on Thanksgiving Day.