The start of my novel. Opinions please?
She laid out the colourful skeins of embroidery threads in systematic rows according to colour, shade and depth, until the surface of the table was covered in gleaming silks. An inch of pale oak separated the groups of assorted skeins so the table was now a luminous patchwork, the blocks of colour vivid in the shabby room. In the corner, her mother, still agile, was kneeling hunched over the shears as they sliced through fabric, faded soft cotton-lawn pyjamas, crisp cotton skirts long since outgrown, the fronts and backs and sleeves of her dead husband’s well-worn shirts, confidently cutting triangles, rectangles, squares and diamonds, all by eye. Her mother did not cut curves. The overall design and pattern was achieved by arranging precise geometric shapes only. If a curve were required she would combine rectangles, triangles and squares, overlapping where necessary (which only added substance to the quilting) to give the clever illusion of a gradual arc. But the component parts were always precisely cut angular shapes. She was not an artist. She couldn’t draw a likeness with pencil or paint but she could work coloured threads and fabric expertly by hand using tiny stitches meticulously placed with the dual purpose of joining together the small pieces of fabric in pleasing colour combinations by means of intricate hand quilting on the reverse that was decorative and unique.
They worked silently, concentrating on their tasks. The only sounds the steady familiar rasp of the scissors’ rhythmic action and the gentle hiss and crackle of the ray-burn stove, it’s humid warmth permeating the room. Daisy, the daughter, wants to be only that - her mother’s daughter, at this moment, on this day. Today, and over the last few days, she is seeking a return to something she has lost. Her mother instinctively knows this – there has been little conversation between them – and the stillness is comforting to them both.
Having finished sorting the skeins of thread, Daisy sits gazing at all the myriad colours laid on the table. She takes her time choosing three toning shades of crimson and tucks them swiftly up her sleeve. She rises and pads across the worn flagstones to the door at the far edge of the room. With a fleeting glance towards her mother she snibs the door quietly shut and tiptoes up the stairs to her room. It is not really her room but the room where she has recently stayed, here, at her mother’s house. Now, because it alone is unchanged in her life, it feels more familiar to her than any other room, anywhere.
The bed with its cold iron frame could remind her of school, but doesn’t - the quilt, chequered with brilliant azure and blues from duck egg to clear turquoise, trellis-stitched with hundreds of deep blue diamond-shaped pillows, removes any association there might have been. She wonders if her mother knows how fashionable the room is now, the original time-darkened boards varnished and scattered with two well-worn rugs. A pine chest sits under the sloping planes of the window recess, and on it stands an old French mirror, framed by ornate gilding that is chipped and flaking. Daisy opens one of the small drawers and pulls it fully out till it meets the stop. She bends her wrist upwards to stretch her fingers towards the back, feeling for the tapestry needle and the small pair of needlework scissors, stuck to the underside of the top of the chest with sticky tape, that she had hidden there years before. They’re still there, as she knew they would be. She puts the needle between her teeth and with the scissors dangling from one finger, lifts the mirror and places it on the floor to one side of the window recess. She puts the scissors and the three skeins of silk next to it on the floor. Crossing over to the bed, she tugs at the quilt and drags it across the boards to where daylight floods the room. She lays it carefully on the floor and, sitting cross-legged, drapes the quilt over her knees and now she’s inside a cosy envelope. She takes the needle from her lips and places it carefully on the floating table of multicoloured silk that tents across her knees. Her hair is tucked behind her ears in a swift unconscious movement. She shifts forward to where daylight hits the mirror and peers at her image as, one by one she begins to remove her piercings.