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Exclusive: Exposure, A Textile Tango by Rachel May

A thimble on my middle finger, to press the needle through, left hand on the cloth, laid flat on the table, to keep it steady. The thread is doubled, and harder to work with two layers of knit. I’m free handing the design because I hate to follow patterns, but I look at a picture to get a sense of how it could look. A flower with wide petals. I stitch around each petal—down, up, pulling apart the threads and tightening the one that’s caught up. This is patient work, and I am not always patient. People keep telling me to slow down, not to push so hard—look at all you’ve done, they say. They don’t know, though, that I lost twenty-two years, and now I’m playing catch up.

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