Redefining the way we look at things

I’ve been thinking about the things that I love to do more than anything else. And hand stitching is one of them. When I was very young just learning to use a needle and thread, I stitched wild and free – and it was fun. I stitched with no goal in mind and sewing two pieces of cloth together so that they didn’t fall apart was an achievement.

Then I was told that I was doing it wrong, and I was taught how to sew perfectly – using perfect little stitches spaced evenly apart, perfectly aligned and symmetrical. I was taught to do it this way because that was the way my mother was taught and probably the way her mother was taught. And for years I did it this way and never really thought that much about it. I still enjoyed sewing, and it wasn’t that sewing “perfectly” was a bad thing. But something got lost along the way and I didn’t even notice.

What happened was that it became automatic and mindless. Stitching became a means to an end and my focus was always on the end result of what I was making – the finished product. I can see now that if only I had focused on the actual experience of stitching – the process – I would have had less frustration and discovered more fun and joy. It’s only a slight shift in perception, but it makes a world of difference to the experience.

These days I love to redefine things and look at things in a different way. I like to deconstruct how I would have done something years ago, take it apart, and then sew it back together in a brand new way. I’m currently working on a stitch sampler, redefined in a slightly more creative way. This little stitch sampler booklet is about 3″ x 2-1/2″ and is part of a Fragment that I’m currently making.

Fragments: Redefining how you look at things

Couching is normally done using strips of fabric, ribbon or cording, sewn onto a piece of fabric in order to create a design or patterned embellishment. Does this look like couching? It does to me.

Fragments: Redefining how you look at things

Running stitch and cross stitch – not quite even and a little imperfect, but infinitely more interesting.

Fragments: Redefining how you look at things

And does a button really have to be sewn with a knot on the underside? Not necessarily.

Fragments: Redefining how you look at things

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