Aunt A. was a remarkable needle-worker herself and had made beautiful clothing for my mother (and her dolls) when my mother was a child, and had moved on to afghans and pillow-cases and crocheted lace Christmas angels as she grew older. She never did anything less than her best work.
I would work next to her with my crochet hook or embroidery needle, and from time to time look for her approval. She was always gentle and kind; the worst thing she ever said was, "You didn't do a good job."
I hear those words now as I look at a crooked seam, a split stitch or a sloppy join. They don't always make me go back and redo my work -- sometimes it isn't worth it -- but they always make me think.
First, that I should always do my best work, that there is no excuse for that. I try to remember that and, if I am tired or just don't feel like sewing or knitting, stop.
Second, that kindness and gentleness go far in this world. They go farther than we can ever know. I try to remember that and moderate my words and tone whenever I speak. This is very hard.
Aunt A. died before she knew of the influence she had on my life. I tell K stories about her while we sew together, and I hope that K will know some of the goodness and richness that my aunt brought to my life.