Míriel taught him backstitch first, because that was where you started, and because he asked. She kissed Fëanáro’s forehead, watching over his shoulder as with determination in his small face he hooked the needle back over the cloth, finding with the blunt tip of the tapestry needle she’d selected for him, the entry point of the stitch before to finish the next.
She’d drawn lines with chalk across the material, and selected thick and bright pearl cotton so he could see what he was doing. His breathing was steady, his small lips pursed in concentration. At first the stitches were uneven, and at first she almost thought he might throw the hoop away from him in frustration. But he carried on. There was a trick to finding the entry hole of the last stitch, she showed him that. However there was no trick to getting each of the stitches even in length, that was something that you had to learn through practice and she told him that when he demanded she show him how she had made each of her stitches so precise and identical.
There was something, Míriel observed to herself, almost beautiful in the unevenness of Fëanáro’s stitches, that her neat, perfect line of backstitch did not have.
When he had done three lines of backstitch paralleling hers, she taught him fly-stitch to his endless annoyance because it was simply “wonky backstitch Emmë!”
“Yes I suppose it is,” Míriel agreed, kissing the dark curls near her mouth again and settling Fëanáro’s weight against her thighs, “now remember to keep the thread under the needle.”
The shade-sails that Finwë had designed for her garden meant they could enjoy the light of the trees without her burning. Fëanáro was a warm, heavy weight, and she leaned back into her wicker chair, content to watch him figure out the trick to making his stitches flick gently off to one side.
She taught him chain stitch after that, which was far more enjoyable for him because he could see actual shapes in his stitches now, and his mouth curled up in delight, sometimes his links becoming too long on purpose so he could see the effect. One more stitch, though he protested to call it a ‘new’ stitch, was taught; detached chain stitch, and she shushed his protests, unable to stop a small giggle at his glare, and rearranged his hands, drawing shapes with centre lines for him to fill in.
The warmth of Laurelin had overcome the garden by the time Fëanáro finally yawned widely, and the hoop trembled in his hands and then fell onto her lap. He rubbed sleepily at one eye with a closed fist, and reached for the hoop with the other. Míriel took the hoop and gently tipped him back against the crook of his arm. He was not too large yet to do this, and she stroked his forehead and his cheeks lightly as she hummed, and watched his eyes glaze and half lid in childish reverie.
She should have gotten up then, and taken him inside. She should have put him in a proper, comfortable bed. But his weight, though easy yet for her to lift, seemed immeasurably heavy all of a sudden in her want to remain where she was, and at long last she leaned back herself into her chair, filled with contentment, and took a nap herself.