One of my reasons for starting my business was to use creative immersion as a way to de-stress and create moments of calm. I’ve recently been reading about ‘slow stitching’, a recognised way to take time out to reflect and slow down and to immerse yourself in something creative.
No rules or expectations
From my research, the best thing about this crafting pastime is that there are no rules or expectations and the pleasure purposefully comes from the process, rather than the end result. You don’t need a sophisticated plan or pattern, just some scraps of material, a needle and thread and some scissors. If you can sew a basic running stitch, that is pretty much all you need to get started. The idea is that you just start sewing and allow the process itself to provide a calm diversion, also if your needle is nice and sharp you do actually need to concentrate on not pricking your finger while you sew! That said, as soon as you start Googling ‘slow stitching ideas’ you will see an extensive array of beautiful hand sewn creations, which might serve as inspiration to be a bit more adventurous.
Define your own experience My advice if you are brand new to sewing, is don’t look! Instead think about what you might have around you at home which you could use to experiment with. You don’t need to have a sewing basket or textiles collection, an outgrown or unwanted item of clothing can be cut into shapes to practice with and a plain t-shirt, old tea towel, sheet or pillowcase will make a useful background material to sew on to. This is a chance for you to switch off the from the demands and distractions of daily life and take a few minutes to divert your energies and see if it could be an activity which brings makes you happy. It should be quick and easy to get started. I haven’t read much about using this technique to entertain children but in principle the same rules apply. Slow stitching a picture, could be an equally appealing way to unplug your youngsters and encourage them to create something. My top tip is to make it about whatever they love, whether that is mermaids or Minecraft, and you’ll find them much more willing to get involved.
A more structured approach
I have also been reading about Shashiko – the Japanese art of mending fabric using visible stitches, again a bit of internet searching will reveal a whole host of ideas and thoughts. I love the idea that this process also relies on just a simple running stitch to elevate a simple repair into a work of art. I’m drawn to the way the principle is also used to create formal, geometric stitched patterns, so if you have a more logical and ordered brain, this style might well appeal to you. Try out the technique using embroidery thread on a thicker material such as denim - this means you'll need a different needle for the job (hotel sewing kits won't work) but it's a small investment.
If you would to seek inspiration or learn more, then there are a multitude of books, blogs, pinterest posts and youtube videos to explore.
This is a lovely blog with some wonderful creative ideas:
Here is a link to the queen of domesticity Martha Stewart on Japanese shashiko:
So, for me the joy is in limitless creative opportunities, which can be as simple or as involved as you need but with a simple purpose to help you create moments of mindfulness. I hope this post provides you with some ideas and inspiration and perhaps your needle and thread will have more use than just sewing on the odd button.
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