Chapter XIV & XV: A Loan From The Thimble King
DEAR me,” sighed Mary Frances. “How will I ever get so much done? I didn’t want to interrupt you, dear Fairy Lady, but I’ve gotten, you see, no further than basting the hem of dolly’s apron!”
Big tears trembled in the little girl’s eyes.
I’m not saying that I’ve never broken down in tears faced with the size of task at hand, even one that feeds my heart like dance or sewing. I have. But, Mary, I’m a little worried about. I got help and continue to get help so that small stressors aren’t met with my body serving grand extravagant reactions that are disproportionate.
”Dear child,” smiled Fairy Lady. “We realize how rapidly we’ll have to work in these lessons in order to get through before your mother comes, so we are ready to help.”
But Fairy, we’ve only just begun sewing lessons. We’re borrowing white lawn fabric to make simple aprons. We don’t even have a fabric stash! Won’t Grandma get suspicious? What if she starts asking questions. How much more IS there to sew? Why is Mary so stressed out? I know there’s a whole book of lessons ahead but what do you know, Fairy Lady?
Lady Fairy taps her Bodkin Wand and we meet another anthropomorphic cast member, Needle Book. This is Mary’s own needle book but now it walks and talks.
I didn’t have a needle book when I started blogging this book. My needles usually just lived alongside my pins thrust into various pincushions…and then I started googling and consulting Pinterest.
These are some spiffy vintage needle books.
I made my own, it’s still in progress. I used this tutorial. I couldn’t find my batting so I substituted some polar fleece instead…so it’s a little floppy. I eventually found my battin stash but it was too late.
Then I cleaned my craft room and made a new pocket organizer (which may be slightly crooked. I’ll measure and fix my next day off.
Mary takes her now-living Needle Book in stride:
“There is but one needle in the world, your Seamstress-ship,” he said, “which is called the Needle-of-Don’t-Have-to-Try, and the King of the Thimble People has sent it to you by your humble servant,” glancing proudly about. “—and here, dear Mistress, is the Needle-of-Don’t-Have-to-Try.”
Mary Frances saw a bright shiny light come from between the opening leaves of Needle Book; then slowly, very slowly, with his tiny little hand, he pulled out what seemed a needle of fire, and dropping on his knees, held it out on both arms toward Mary Frances.
The little girl hesitated. Would it burn her?
Mary, consult your R’hllor history books! That is obviously Lightbringer the hero’s needle of Azor Ahai. You need never plunge it into Mr.Emery for, after being tempered by the heart of Nissa Nissa , it never grows dull or rusty. You may need to check Fairy Lady for a magic necklace…just sayin’.
“Do not fear,” smiled Fairy Lady. “It will not harm you. The Needle-of-Don’t-Have-to-Try is loaned to you on only one condition: which is, that you will promise to sew some time every day between lesson days.”
“Mary Frances found her thimble, and threaded the glowing needle, although she feared it would scorch the thread,—but it seemed like any other needle except that she didn’t have to try twice to put in the thread.
”I wonder how it is different?” she thought as she started to sew.
Then the most wonderful thing happened. She found the needle darting ahead of her hand, making the stitches just as fast as she could touch the eye with her silver thimble.
In a minute the apron was hemmed.
In another minute the apron was gathered.
In another minute the strings were hemmed.
Then the Needle-of-Don’t-Have-to-Try stopped dead still and wouldn’t move.
“Oh! ho!” cried Mary Frances. “What have I done? What have I done?”
“Nothing, dear child,” said Fairy Lady. “But the Needle-of-Don’t-Have-to-Try cannot do for you anything you have not yet learned; so use your own needle and set the gathers of the apron into the band.”
Mary gets a magic needle that does for her any sewing technique she has already learned?
As an adult reader I think that this is meant to symbolize the ease of stitching that comes once a technique is fully learned and internalized …but it’s the only artifact of Thimble Land I WANT.
I can make a needle book but I WANT this witched needle.
Mary, when you’re back to life with your mom it is this loss you will cry over…and it won’t be an over reaction.
Chapter XV Three Little Kittens
Nothing much happens. Mary learns to embroider three kittens on her apron. I didn’t use white lawn cotton. I already know how to embroider. Skipped!
Abruptly, Grandma is home!
“Why, my dear,” puffed the old lady, climbing the last of the stairs, “I am home very early, you see. There was no regular meeting to-day because almost all the members of the Ladies’ Guild went to Daisy’s wedding. I’m home for some games with my little girl.”
“Oh, Nanny-dear, will you play ‘Piddy-Pinny-Plump?'” asked Mary Frances.”
“Yes, indeed, girlie,” laughed Grandma.
- What has Grandma done to the other members of the Ladies’s Guild that she is not invited to Daisy’s wedding?
- What is Piddy-Pinny-Plump?