My post this month, is about how some hand stitching can be both calming and mindful. It really does not need to be complicated, and any design element choice can develop as you work on the piece.
I am often on the hunt for fabric to reuse, and in my favourite local charity shop in May this year, I found a linen bed sheet. I could not believe my luck, not a mark on the sheet either. I thought this would be ideal for some stitching and/or embroidery, so I washed, ironed and put it safely away. This is the sheet half opened on my bed. Not the best photo, just lovely, lovely fabric.
I cut a piece of fabric that I thought would be neither too big or too small for my exercise. It did feel quite wrong to be cutting the sheet. The piece I cut measured 18 inches square. I have some embroidery floss in various colours, and I started with a running stitch from one corner of the fabric. I decided to do 3 or 4 lines with each colour, and to stitch down a little piece of cotton fabric as I went along in the manner of ‘boro’ stitching. I used 2 strands of floss throughout. A grid seemed to develop, and I marked the grid with a thread colour that I was not using for the stitching. Each square of the grid is approx 4×4 inches.
I continued around my work with the only other decision to make was the direction of the stitching on the opposing sides of the work, and what, if anything, should I do in the middle?
I really enjoyed stitching like this, I think the little pieces of fabric really add interest, and I will continue to do some meditative sewing next year. I will probably use one or two other stitches to add some variety. I really like using different colours too. This is how the finished piece looks now that it is ironed, and all the wrinkles removed. I have left the centre free for now.
There are any number of women (men too, probably) online who stitch, or who do some ‘daily stitching’, I am not in any way aligning myself to these artists; here are two women stitchers I follow on IG, or became aware of during the last year, and one article (of many) about ‘boro’.
Karen Turner https://stitchinglife.uk/
Claire Wellesley-Smith https://linktr.ee/cwellesleysmith
Boro stitching is a popular method of visible mending today. The method has a long history, this is from the V&A https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/make-your-own-japanese-boro-bag