Meditative stitching.

Meditative stitching.

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

Claire Wellesley-Smith

Boro stitching is a popular method of visible mending today. The method has a long history, this is from the V&A


14 thoughts on “Meditative stitching.

  1. It’s fabulous and so pretty! The little pieces of fabric add so much interest to the delicate stitching.

    Visible mending is popular and rightly so – thank you for that link to the V&A.

  2. Lucky you, that charity shop linen sheet was a great find!
    I’m also a big fan of meditative stich and loving the way you’re approaching this piece. It will be interesting to see what you do with the centre.

  3. I agree that stitching can be very meditative, Marie. Your piece is lovely and the mix of colors really brings a lot of interest. I look forward to seeing what else you might stitch, either on this piece or a new one.

  4. So simple, but so lovely. A linen sheet was a very lucky find. I need to get back to some stitching. It is calming. It looks like you stitch freehand, without a hoop, do you have any problems with tension?

    1. Thank you Ann. Yes I stitch freehand, I have tried a hoop, but it does not feel very comfortable, although I am on the lookout for a tabletop one – charity shop of course! I am conscious of the tension as I stitch, and I feel that so far it is OK.

  5. This reminds me a lot of visible mending! I love the stitches, the colour it adds to the pristine white linen. It’s making me want to go back to mending a jacket I have 🙂

  6. This is really beautiful Marie and a very restful read. Your stitching is so even and I love the colours. That sheet ( great find) found a new life in your very creative hands.

  7. Marie,
    I am terribly behind in my reading posts and responding to my fellow FFS friends. I do apologize and will try to be more diligent. Thank you for sharing Boro stitching with us. It was new information for me: I had seen the stitching, but didn’t appreciate what it represented, and how far it goes back. So I definitely appreciate this post.


    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Capi. You have had a very busy time so please don’t worry if you miss a post of mine. I am just glad that your life is more peaceful now.

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