Hi there! Its been awhile!
I’ve been in stitches lately!! No, not the kind a doctor performs on you when you have an injury. I mean the kind that go on fabric!
I’ve been embroidering some kitchen towels for friends who have recently (pre-covid!) moved to Arizona. Hand embroidery is a slow process. You have slow down, consider each and every stitch to make sure it is in the position and the length that you want. It is deliberate, not random. You get into a rhythm and it becomes calming. I tend to think alot when I’m embroidering. In this case, I spent a lot of time thinking about the friends I was stitching this for. And then I began to think about other stitching projects I have made as gifts over the years and was surprised that there were quite a few I could remember. Most (not all) were happily accepted by the recipients.
I thought a lot about my love of stitching. Stitching is actually a very broad term. In my definition, I would include: knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, crewel, embroidery, cross stitch, hand sewing, hand quilting, and even machine sewing and quilting. If it involves needle and thread (or yarn), then to me its a type of ‘stitching’. Over the years, I have dabbled in all of those types, some more successfully than others. And today my love for stitching continues as I seek new ways to use needle and thread.
I first learned to stitch by my Aunt when I was about 10 years old. My mother wasn’t much into any kind of sewing or stitchery, but my Aunt certainly was. She was especially good at sewing and made me many dresses. She taught me how to sew and how to knit and thus began my love of stitching. I’ve tried to instill this same love of sewing in my own nieces.
As I was thinking about the broader sense of stitching, I also reflected on how each day of life is stitched to the next, resulting in a cloth (or tapestry) of our lives. Remember the song “Tapestry” by Carole King?
My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue,
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold
Along those lines, I came across a book called “Threads of Life” by Clare Hunter. I just purchased it and am eager to get started reading!
Amazon describes the book this way:
“A globe-spanning history of sewing, embroidery, and the people who have used a needle and thread to make their voices heard
In 1970s Argentina, mothers marched in headscarves embroidered with the names of their “disappeared” children. In Tudor, England, when Mary, Queen of Scots, was under house arrest, her needlework carried her messages to the outside world. From the political propaganda of the Bayeux Tapestry, World War I soldiers coping with PTSD, and the maps sewn by schoolgirls in the New World, to the AIDS quilt, Hmong story clothes, and pink pussyhats, women and men have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances.”
Imagine that! Over the centuries people like me have taken to stitching and used it for both practical purposes and as a way to tell their stories, even in the most difficult of times. It makes me feel like I am in good company when I am stitching!
I believe that stitching is not just a hobby. Its not just a craft. Its not only a creative outlet, but its an important way to communicate the stories of our lives, and in many cases to be handed down from generation to generation.
I recently saw a video by a black male Marine who is also a quilter! This guy is very macho and manly and certainly not a wimpy type. And he was proudly showing off some quilts he had stitched together! Stitching is for everyone!
I believe the world would be a better place if everyone was stitching!