Sewing took longer than everything else, even the making of the box. At first, I tried to freehand it, working my fingers through the bristles to pass the twine through, but that failed, instantly.
“You need a needle,” Evelyn chuckled.
“You have one?”
“Not for twine, and not long enough to get through that.”
This was a fair point. I wasn’t about to go hunting down the needlemaker—whoever that might be—to have a custom broom needle made at the moment. So we improvised with a stick. I used my dagger to whittle down one end to a pointy-ish end, and carved a little notch all the way around the other end where we tied the twine in place. An eye would probably have been better, but I wasn’t going to try a delicate operation like that with my dagger. I would’ve loved to have had the knife and pliers on my multitool for this kind of work, but they were back in my apartment. In Brooklyn. In an entirely different universe from what I could tell.
My stick worked well enough, and we passed it back and forth through the wedged bristles. We pulled them tight with each pass, straining the twine as we pulled and looping in a little knot to keep it tight. I had no idea what kind of stich it was we tied—Grammy would’ve gladly told me—but Evelyn picked up on it right away, and taking the lead by telling me whether the loop should go over or under, and where exactly the needle should go.
For it not being something she wanted, she sure took over, fast.
We added a second row of stitching. I couldn’t remember if there was only one row of stitching or two on Grammy’s broom, but thought it better safe than sorry. For that we pulled the broom up out of the box a little bit, then started again. By far this was the most labor-intensive broom Evelyn had ever made, but she worked silently, getting into a rhythm where she really didn’t need me.
After tying the handle on, she didn’t need to really hold it upright, just make sure her feet and calves held the box firmly. Our improvised needle was long enough to get to the other side of the box, easily, so it was just repetition. In a few minutes, she had finished tying off the second row of stitching.
With that, we unboxed. The natural bristles did fan out a little more than I had wanted, but they kept tight, for the most part. A third row of stitches much lower down would probably do the trick, but for a prototype, this was good enough.
“It’s a broom,” Evelyn declared. “Why did we go through all that extra work?”
I grinned, and passed her one of her original brooms, and we had a contest. She swept the dirt and loose bristles out of her little shop. I went through with my broom, and got all of the dirt that her broom had missed, which was a significant amount, and I didn’t have to work as hard at it, either.
That convinced her, but she looked the new design over as if it was magic.
“Now, tomorrow can we make some brushes for me?
“On whether you’re going to show me a better way to make them, too.”