mental health · mindful stitching · Sewing · slow stitching · Stitching

Stitching without purpose

I started slow (mindful) stitching this week.  The aim of mindful stitching is to be more ethical with your stitching materials and to be more aware of/concentrate on the movement of your needle rather than the item you are stitching.

So with this in mind I rummaged through my fabric and thread stash for materials I could use.

My daughter’s old toddler clothes provided plenty of fabric, some of which were conveniently cut into squares.  These I stitched together by using a zig zag stitch over each join and creating a new piece of fabric.

I have been given thread from people who are no longer able to stitch so I chose some cotton thread in cream, beige and light brown.

For someone who already finds stitching calming, mindful stitching has been a big surprise.  It felt very ‘wrong’ stitching a piece of fabric without having a specific project in mind – it was a waste of fabric and thread and seemed pointless and extravagant.  My first attempt at mindful stitching was very uncomfortable with feelings of guilt.  As a friend pointed out stitching makes me feel calm so why do mindful stitching if it doesn’t give me that same feeling.

Good question but further attempts at mindful stitching have been easier and more pleasant.  Stitching may make me feel calm but it is clear I feel more comfortable with a specific project in mind; which isn’t very relaxing.

With further mindful stitching I have had fleeting times when I have just been aware of my needle moving and how it goes through the fabric rather than the stitch I’m doing or what I’m making.  It has been relaxing and I’m sure the more I do it this time of awareness will increase.

Instead of my usual meditation of concentrating on my breathing I am now concentrating on the in and out action of my needle; what I’m doing or what is going on around me isn’t relevant.   I will continue and keep practising (and as an added bonus it is very easy to transport this stitching and minimal stitching equipment is needed.)

And what of my guilt of using precious fabrics and thread without a specific end project of a stitched item?  Well I can always stitch all my mindful pieces of fabric into a quilt at some point so may be in 10 years time there might be a stitched item 🙂


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