Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I was stitching this sashiko placemat at the church one evening this spring, waiting for the boys to finish their activities.  An older lady stopped by to admire my work, and said, "You must be so patient."

I'd heard that one before.

The first time I remember receiving that compliment was during high school.  I was at a track meet, whiling away the hours between my events with this cross stitch project: 

I usually ran in the very first and last races of the meet, so I had plenty of time.  One of my teammates stopped by to see what I was doing, asked a couple of questions, and ended with, "You must be so patient."

I don't think either of us knew that was a standard, ritualistic compliment for those engaging in fancywork.   She must have meant it.  I knew she meant well.  But it didn't seem quite right to me.

I've done plenty of public stitching over the years, and heard the same thing over and over, and said something like "Thank you" in return.  But I never figured out why it bothered me until that evening at the church this spring.

I don't stitch because I'm patient.  I stitch because I'm impatient.

I hate sitting and waiting with nothing to do.  D2's tee ball games were tedious when my hands were empty.  But when I took my sashiko along, the games were pleasant.  I accomplished most of that particular project at tee ball games, actually.

When soccer practice schedules keep me waiting, I need a book or a crochet project to keep me busy.  The same principle applies to church activities, traveling, even visits with relatives. (The stitching, of course, not the reading, so I can be available to converse.) 

Even at home, I need a distraction sometimes.  For example, today I supervised Rollo and D2 in cleaning their room.  This is an intensive sort of supervision to take on, as they will do absolutely nothing without specific instructions, and not much more without frequent repetition.  To keep my hands from strangling my beloved sons during the process, I wound six skeins of yarn into balls.  That's 47,520 inches of yarn.  Exactly 3/4 of a mile, as Dandelionslayer pointed out.  And yes, the room behind the balls is exceedingly orderly, when compared to its previous state.

There's something soothing about thread, and being able to accomplish something, little by little, when people or circumstances are beyond my complete control.   Or just when we're watching a video.  So, yes, I stitch because I am not patient, and it makes me happy.


  1. I know exactly what you mean! I do projects while I wait for my kids because I can't stand sitting still when I know there are things I need to be doing! Thanks for stopping by and commenting at OneCreativeMommy.com.

    Patient or impatient, your stitching project is beautiful!

  2. I love this. Working on something a little at a time, while waiting for swimming lessons and other activities, has allowed me to get so many things done over the last few years. Glad to find someone else who needs to keep their hands busy. Love this post.