Gathering Blue

by Lois Lowry

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What helped Kira finally fall asleep in Gathering Blue ?

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Kira keeps a small scrap of cloth in her pocket, and it helps her fall asleep on her first night at her new home in the Council Edifice.

Finding herself in unfamiliar surroundings after the trauma of her mother's death and the battle with the Council to find a new place for herself in the community, Kira is anxious and cannot sleep.  She first fingers the pendant her mother had always worn, which Kira now wears around her neck.  Lifting it against her cheek, she hopes to "rcapture a feeling of her mother, perhaps the smell of her: herbs and dyes and dried blossoms".  The little rock gives her no comfort, however, remaining "inert and odorless, without a hint or memory of life".

In contrast, the scrap of cloth which Kira carries in her pocket flutters as if alive where it lies near her head where she has left it.  Kira reaches out and touches the cloth, and, feeling its comforting warmth, she closes her eyes.  She falls into a peaceful, dreamless sleep, with the "wrinkled scrap of pretty fabric" beside her on the bed.

Kira had created the piece of cloth with her own hands during the final days before her mother had died.  While her mother slept restlessly, Kira sat by her side, and as she waited she

"sorted...dyed threads in her basket and began to weave them into the cloth scrap with a bone needle.  It soothed her to do so, and passed the time".

As she wove, Kira felt "a pulsing, a quivering in her hands as if they had life".  She found that

"her fingers did not direct the threads, but followed where they led...she was able to close her eyes and simply feel the needle move through the fabric, pulled by the urgent, vibrating threads".

When she had looked down at what she was doing, she was amazed to see a vibrant piece of fabric, whose

"brilliant threads crisscrossed in an intricate pattern of loops and knots that Kira had never seen before, that she could not have created, that she had never known or heard described".

Kira keeps this magical cloth in her pocket.  It is its closeness that helps her fall asleep on her first night in the Council Edifice" (Chapters 4 and 6).

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