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My grandmother, Maydell Cazier Palmer, had a way with a needle. I was reminded of this on my recent visit with my mother, Irene Palmer, who gave me Maydell’s pincushion, an item I recall from childhood visits to Grandma’s house, but hadn’t seen in decades.

Maydell’s needlework is inspiring, the tidy satin stitching in the middle, the intricate crocheting on the surround, and the blue ribbon holding it all together.

My needlework is informed by hers, and I’m also inspired by contemporary artists Mary Corbet and Trish Burr.

This is a sampler designed by Corbet that I enjoyed working on. Its graceful form obscures its sampler nature, which is how sewists learn new stitches.

Our generational connection is a tiny trickle in a flow of history. Textile art is one of humanity’s oldest art forms. I love dabbling in it, knowing how far back it goes.