they took up the embroidery of their days


Senior Member
Herb and Vera Smith went back to Pownal and took up the embroidery of their days. Herb finished a house in Durham that December. Their savings did indeed melt away, as Sarah had foreseen, and they applied to the state for Extraordinary Disaster Assistance. That aged Herb almost as much as the accident itself had done.
Source: The Dead Zone by Stephen King
Context: Herb and Vera’s son, Johnny, is a coma after a car accident.

If you take up the embroidery of your days, you engage in pursuit of what? exaggerated dramatic events of some sort, in this case paying their son’s hospitalisation never ending expenses. What is your interpretation of the phrase in bold?

Thank you.
  • Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is related to the more common phrase 'life's rich tapestry'. It is a somewhat humorous phrase that imagines human lives laid out in picture form such as on the Bayeux Tapestry.

    I fact the so-called Bayeux Tapestry is not truly a tapestry because it is embroidered rather than woven.

    So these people are 'embroidering' their lives - bringing their plans into being.
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