Washougal -- After her mother died, 10th-grader Allison Aller calmed her "wild grief" through "embroidering intricate counted diagrams after school, learning early on what a balm for the soul stitching is. Then those colored threads danced their way through my jeans as I decorated Hippie Dreams in college; they skipped along borders of baby bumpers, and formed playful designs on quilts for my kids. Clowns, choo-choo trains in bold colors -- all that stitching made me heal and smile." That poetic sentiment has won Aller a grand prize in the DMC Needlework Memories Contest. Hundreds of entries were submitted and Aller was one of two top winners, both of whom will be sent to Paris and to Mulhouse in the French countryside to tour DMC's historic 268-year-old factory. DMC is the oldest needlework thread company in the world.