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Coat of Shoulds


4.25 x 8 x 7” as shown, 65 inches fully extended

Embroidered poem on hand dyed cotton, bound on an antique spool

I’ve lived most of my life ruled by what I thought I should be doing to be a good sister, a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother, a good citizen or a good friend. If ever there was a conflict between my own desires and what I thought I should do, the ‘should’ won.


As I saw how much this robbed me of my freedom and my life, and how pervasive and insidious it was, I simultaneously worked to shed the ‘should’ and learn to honor myself and choose ME.


Hand stitching is a meditative process and over an extended period of time it allowed me to contemplate and integrate the message of this poem with each stitch.  When I’m not ruled by ‘should’, a whole world of possibility and wonder opens up. I created this spool book not only for my own healing, but also to share the power of this message with others.


This spool book is hand stitched on hand dyed fabric on an antique bobbin. It contains the poem Yet Another Layer by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.

Yet Another Layer

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Steeping so long

in this coat of should

I forgot it was on

’til, slipping out by accident,

I see it hanging separate

while I stand bare

and strongly now,

wondering what this naked

soul can be.

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