Pick me, pick me!

Alison Hyde wrote about a fire in her county that caused her concern. She didn’t have to evacuate, but it did start us talking about what to take. There are givens: the documents needed to pick up one’s life, computer back-up, personal medications, the cats and their accoutrements.

High on my list would be the sewing/embroidery machine and the serger. My sewing machine is only a distant descendant of the treadle machine I used in high school home-economics. How far we’ve come! Frankly, when we were young newly-weds, we couldn’t afford to purchase a car with an equivalent price tag.

Yarn stash shouldn’t be left behind, either. It wedges in so nicely around suitcases and all – packs it securely in place, eh? You think I’m being frivolous? Let me tell you a Katrina story that any needlewoman will understand.

It was September, 2004, about 3 weeks after Katrina, when I was shopping for a new pattern in the cross stitch shop in Baton Rouge, LA. A lady came in, looking for something to work on while she stayed with her daughter in Baton Rouge. She seemed a bit dazed and unfocused, as so many did after that trauma. As we suggested our current favorite designers, more and more of her story came out. She had had to leave all her craft supplies behind, and all was lost…not just her embroidery thread, but her floor-stand Dazor lamp, her scissors with a beautifully embroidered fob, everything! Shock set in for all of us as we priced a new Dazor, and compared that to what we had originally paid. Replacement was out of the question.

The patrons in the store rallied with suggestions: clip-on magnifiers found at Michael’s, working at a larger scale, a pattern that would entertain without purchasing an excessive number of colors. The lady just needed to be able to set her hands back to the familiar motions, and loose herself in the embroidery.

What would you pack for your mental health?


  1. Marion said,

    July 25, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Luckily I have my computer backed up with an on-line company. So that would save my family tree and many of my photos. I’d make a dive for the rest of my photos, all the important documents, my dogs (they are important to my mental health!), my knitting stash, needles, and pattern notebook. I would also get my grandmother’s quilt, my husband’s grandmother’s quilt and the quilts my mother and aunt made for me. It horrifies me to think of losing my house and everything in it. I know it is just “stuff” but I would be a basket case.

  2. AlisonH said,

    July 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I totally forgot at first that I might want to actually pack CLOTHES. Duh. The fire was just back from the road I take to the post office. All I could think of was, yarn and projects and how to balance the two.

  3. Jennifer said,

    July 25, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Hmmmm. This is an interesting question and one that I’ll be pondering for the next few days. I guess I’m glad for the blog and ravelry because if I can’t take all my knitting with me, at least I can look at it online and remember it fondly. That would give me comfort.

  4. Birdsong said,

    July 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    A thought-provoking post, living in ‘fire country’ as I do… the animals, photos and docs, something to work on (most likely two current projects), maybe my spinning wheel. I have loaded the car a few times over the years as a precaution, but probably should back up the computer, put more photos on my memory stick AND DVDS and online… I am tempted to stay up all night.

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