Thursday, September 02, 2010


Quilting and needlework may not be a highly physical activity in one sense.But there is no doubt that there are certain body parts that we would like to insure for a million dollars, because without them we would be lost.
Our eyes, for instance........... not only to see what we are doing, but to be able to admire the work of others, and to see the wonderful world of colours, textures and design!!
Even our mouths are important. I mean you have to hold them the right way sometimes when you are trying to create a particular effect with your needle. You hold beads and buttons against your lips, and the tell-tale coolness lets you know if they are made of glass, and not plastic. Spit comes in handy too - to wet the end of the cotton you are struggling to thread through your needle, or to quickly dissolve the little bloodstains that have appeared after you have pricked your fingers.
Which brings me to the subject of hands and fingers.
My friend Robyn once had her hands featured on a Norfolk Island postage stamp featuring local crafts.

Now Robyn has quilted many quilts by hand, while I have usually preferred to use the sewing machine. But I have done some handquilting over the years, and have usually refused to wear a thimble, because they interfere with my sense of touch. I am the same with gardening gloves. I start off with good intentions, but after a while, without even thinking, they get whipped off.
Now the reason I am writing about this is because of fingerprints!
A few years ago there was a much publicised murder here on Norfolk Island Island, and for many months, the who, how, why and where of the case proved quite a mystery. There was a tiny piece of forensic evidence relating to fingerprints a piece of black builders' plastic that had been wrapped around the body. Norfolk Island residents were asked to volunteer their fingerprints. It was more a case of ruling people out than in, because this piece of plastic had probably been handled by a number of people at different times.

I duly turned up and went through the process.

But when I went to put my signature on the sheets, two officers were in deep discussion about my prints! I heard one mention "chemical damage." When I questioned them, they said that one of my prints showed considerable interference with the normal pattern. It was the tip of my middle left finger, and it puzzled them.

The damaged prints!!
I quickly put them out of their misery, and explaned that I was a quilter and needleworker, and that this was just evidence of many years of pricked fingers on someone who did not use a thimble. The gentlemen said that certain sports people, such as golfers, have distinctive markings, but they had never struck this before!
Well - you wouldn't would you? I don't think many craftspeople or artists would have criminal inclinations. We tackle life's difficulties in a different way, and are very positive and productive souls! But we do work with a number of sharp implements and tools - pins, needles, scissors, stitch unpickers, awls and rotary cutters, so it is a good thing we are a calm and peaceful lot!

Anyway, because the fingerprints were voluntary, we were promised that they would be returned to us at some stage, and that they would not be used for any other purpose. And yesterday, almost exactly eight yeares later, I received them back!!

No doubt May and Annette have unusual fingerprints too, after years of stitching! But you certainly would not believe they had a criminal disposition, would you??

1 comment:

Karen said...

Interesting Mary.

Related Posts with Thumbnails