Miss Maggie and the golden thread.
Once upon a time there was a little spider who spent many days spinning thread for her neighbours. One day she found out a secret: if she pulled the thread through a vernal pool bathed in sunlight, her thread would become golden.
Our little spider kept spinning and spinning thread, drawing the fiber through the little pools she found. As spring gave into summer, this proved difficult to do but she managed by using puddles of water in the deep furrows of burdock or rhubarb leaves.
She was very happy with her discovery though she did not know what would become of her many skeins of golden thread, all her industrious neighbours seemed to have use only for white thread. Just looking at her golden collection made her happy.
As summer gave into Fall, our little spider kept busy, spinning away. To pass the time she decided to ply the thread with another one, to make a thicker yarn. But she decided this time to pass the fiber through water collected on the crimson red maple leaves. Lo and behold, her thread would come out in all shades of red: rusty, mournful, copper. Our little spider was delighted at her scientific discoveries.
She still didn’t know what to do with her thread, but kept thinking the time would come for her to decide what to do with it. She knew of an industrious doll maker, who lived in the house beyond her field. Sometimes she saw the curious creature, prancing around the yard with a very big black gadget in hand, looking through it at all the vegetation that grew between the house, the meadow and the patch of green belt, where our little spider had her home.
She had another idea. Why not donate this now cumbersome collection of threads to her human neighbour? Perhaps she could do something with it. This idea grew stronger in her little mind. She decided to do it.
She wrote a lovely note, explaining to the dollmaker how she had achieved these wondrous colours, and how long it had taken her to spin the thread. She hoped the material could be useful to dress some of her dolls, or even her children.
The dollmaker discovered the note and the generous package under the unruly rose bush in her backyard. She felt immensely grateful to acquire such a present and got to work right away on a beautiful cardigan for the doll that was occupying her hands: Little Maggie.
Maggie was very curious to hear all about spiders, spinning, dyeing and the “gift that keeps on giving”. The dollmaker told her many stories about giving economies and how they make the world much nicer. She mentioned it was her absolute pleasure to work her hands through materials that were bestowed upon her and she always felt so happy to pass on the gift to another.
She mentioned that making dolls, although it was her profession and livelihood, was also a gift. Not just to herself, but to many others. Because when you share of yourself, of your imagination, your passion, your interests, your thoughts, the things that are important to you, that make you laugh and cry and feel happy to be alive, when you share all that, that is the gift. She explained that through doll making she had found a way to make bits of that gift into physical form.
For example, she said: “When I spend time choosing just the right buttons for your shoes, that is my gift to you. When I make tiny stitches so your arms are strongly sewn and you can play, and get dressed, and have a long and fruitful life, that is also a gift. A gift mostly of my time, but also of my care. For you, for the person that needs you in their life; I pass on the gifts bestowed on me by Mother Nature allowing me the chance to use these beautiful materials in your creation.”
Generosity of heart. That is the one thing that inspired this doll, because the person she is named after was a very generous person. She knew nothing else but to give her time and soul to anyone that needed it. No questions asked, nothing hoped for in return. How a gift should be given.
I am very happy to have received such a generous gift from my little friendly spider and I took it upon myself to knit with it a magical set for Little Maggie: to keep her shoulders and arms warm (if she ever visits less temperate weather); a knitted bonnet with lots of bobbles, she seems to like them; and a little pair of maryjanes to match her best friend.
Some of you might know I bought a beautiful Japanese book of knitting stitches when I was in Portland, back in February. I have tried to learn how to read the charts and little by little, increase my knitting repertoire. It felt only fitting to break my brain a little more and honour the gift of my spider friend by incorporating a partial chart of those beautiful designs (by Hitomi Shida) onto the hem of my cardigan for Maggie.
We spent quite an afternoon deciding on the treatment for the neckline, she finally decided on a simple 2-by-2 rib, which we used again on the sleeves. We used paired increases for the raglan sleeves and a 5-stitch garter stitch button band, which again we used for the lower hem. The chart was all sorts of fun and we had to chop it quite a bit so Maggie’s cardi wouldn’t get too long for her. Three wooden buttons, a matching bonnet and here we are. Ready to finally send her home.
Sweet Maggie, I hope you go home and make your Mom very happy. I hope you remind her of all the good times she had with your namesake, of how lucky she was to have had her in her life and to know that a generous heart is the best gift in the world. I hope she sees in you some of that and that your beautiful eyes and your gentle smile bring her much happiness. Having you both in my life has been also a gift, so thank you both!.
Maggie, short for Magaly, is a natural fiber art doll, 17” tall, made in my Figlette pattern. She is a custom doll and will be traveling to her home soon. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, for reading my doll’s stories and for your encouraging words as I work through the gifts of Mother Nature.