Three 16 year old friends are sitting around a table in the needlework classroom of a secondary school. The teacher is telling them the items that they will need to make in the next two years in order to get their A Level: an outfit for themselves comprising of a jacket and at least one other item, an item of children's clothing incorporating hand embroidery and a soft toy.
The girls search through a Simplicity sewing pattern book for inspiration. The smallest of the group sees something that takes her eye. Something that will fulfil the last criteria and give her the opportunity to customise it to show off an extra sewing skill. In order to make life much more difficult for herself, she decides to make the base of the toy out of cordoroy which will prove very difficult to work with and cause endless frustration trying to line the fabric up with the pile going in the right direction and all stripes of the cord matching exactly. She will also choose to do hand sewing to make the major part of the toy, trying a technique she has never used before. Something that seemed a good idea at the time, but will untimately reduce her to tears as the teacher looks at it and says 'No, I can see your stitching. Unpick it and start again.'
After finishing the items and passing the exam, they will be packed up and put in the loft. They will be transported during each future house move and each time she will be quizzed 'Are you sure you want to keep this?' and she will reply 'Yes, I spent HOURS making that, I'm never throwing it away'. For it does not only represent an exam project, it reminds her of the hours spent in the company of good friends, chatting, laughing, sometimes crying, discussing hopes and dreams for the future. It holds such memories of two years of growing up from a school girl to a young woman. And one day, someone will encourage her to bring down that toy and share it as part of Storytelling Sunday.