28th April 2023

A recent email from Fine Cell Work had us reflecting on the incredible power of needle and thread.

The email shared Lewis’s journey from the time he picked up needle and thread in prison right through to becoming an apprentice with Fine Cell Work’s ‘Open the Gate Programme’ upon his release.

Lewis found prison to be a place where time stood still. He had too much time on his hands and nothing to help him get through it. Desperate to find something to keep him busy and help pass the time, his curiosity was piqued when he noticed a Fine Cell Work volunteer teaching prisoners to stitch.

Unfortunately, there was a wait list for the classes, but seeing how eager Lewis was to start stitching, the volunteers gave him some material and showed him some basic stitches. Within an hour he was stitching with ease and was so impatient to continue his journey, went to another inmate in the hope he could point him in the direction of his next steps. From there, Lewis’s time in prison was spent with needle and thread. 

‘Stitching kept me calm and gave me focus.’

Whilst Lewis admits he can be a bit of a loner, stitching compelled him to interact with others and he found much satisfaction in working with like-minded people. Needle and thread helped Lewis find purpose during his time in prison.

Upon release however, Lewis once again found himself struggling to fill the time before him and felt ‘something precious had been taken away’. Picking up needle and thread yet again when he joined Fine Cell Work’s ‘Open the Gate Programme’, Lewis found the same sense of calm he’d experienced in prison as not only did he have something useful to do once more, but he was back to doing what made him happy.

Whilst our own journey with needle and thread may not echo the same path as Lewis’s, we found ourselves reflecting on the threads of similarity that exist between the two.

Like Lewis, our time with needle and thread helps us to while away the hours and we too have ‘found hope, healing and restoration’ in the meditative push and pull of needle and thread through fabric. Stitching has also allowed us to connect with others who share our passion, and it has given us a sense of purpose in perhaps the most unexpected of manners.

Such is the universal power of stitching, and after taking the time to reflect on it all over again, we couldn’t be more thankful for it.

Join our FREE weekly newsletter All Stitched Up!

Back to top