I began this needlepoint back in March, while I was still in hospital. I had managed to teach myself to knit again, but it was very tiring for my left hand (and brain) and I could only manage a little at a time. So I bought a kit for a needlepoint cushion, and when I found myself unable to knit, I picked it up. All my left hand had to do was steady the frame. It felt good to at least be doing something.

As a non-taxing activity that I didn’t have to think about, this needlepoint became very important to me over the next few months. I stitched indoors and out. In Spring, when the weather was nice, I took it to the park, and worked on it there. While sitting on my park bench with my stitching, I met a lot of dogs who seemed to be having a lot of fun. I decided that it would be nice to have one of my own.

Then my sister came to see me. When she saw the needlepoint, she remembered that my maternal grandmother (who taught me to knit, and who died in 1994) had a needlepoint cushion in her living room just like mine. It was curious – I bought that particular kit because there was something evocative for me in those tent-stitched fuschias, and when Helen mentioned it, I could immediately see my Grandma’s fuschia cushion in situ in her house on Heywood Road. Perhaps Grandma stitched herself a cushion from a similar kit design, I don’t know.

As time went on over the Summer and Autumn, knitting became much easier for my left hand, and I put the needlepoint aside. I took it up again a couple of weeks ago, finished the stitching, and got out the sewing machine (for the first time since February). I shall be gifting the finished cushion to my Ma for Christmas. (As she is wending her way here now from deepest Lancashire, I can show it to you).

It is just a needlepoint cushion. But the ten most difficult months of my life, and many memories — good, and bad, and some associated with my wonderful Grandma that I didn’t even know I had — are stitched all the way through it. I think my Ma will like it.