The corner of the picnic table was dripping with mud, a dark puddle forming on the ground. Four tin cups sat atop the table - some cups had water, some had clumps of dirt and mud stuck to the bottom (outside and in) and they were, each of them, part of an essential experiment.
Have you ever played in the dirt with a pre-schooler? That’s what I did over the weekend with my granddaughter. I can say from experience that it’s a very muddy, unpredictable and messy activity but also one full of wonder, discovery and joy.
It would be so easy to give in to the instinct to say, no, let’s not do that, it’s too messy. Why make a mess when there is no purpose to it, right? Why play in the dirt? And why, why, why would you add water to the mix?
Well, I say, why not.
And that is as good of an answer as any as to the question of, “Why do I Slow Stitch?”
The simplest answer to the question is this: Because it makes me happy.
The longer answer to the question is that hand stitching fills me up – both my heart and my mind. I never tire of it, there is always more to explore, more to try, more to expand upon. Stitching by hand fuels my creativity and fills me with ideas that I want to pursue - and my love for stitching makes me want to freely share my passion with others.
Yes, there is a pull to be creating something useful and that has it’s place – a bag or a pincushion or a needle book or a quilt – but there is also a place for the process, for the experience of making that is just as valuable.
I also love hand stitching because it’s slow. Slowing down and stitching is generative. I can watch the colours and textures develop slowly and I can ponder my next move. There’s no rush, no judgment, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just my very next move, my very next thought. It allows me to be present and alive.
The shortest answer I have as to why I slow stitch is because it’s my thing, and my advice is, if you can find your thing, do it. If you haven’t found your thing, keep looking, keep trying new things, keep going. Give yourself permission to play in the dirt and make mud. I believe you will find your thing if you keep an open mind and heart and allow it.
As I watched my granddaughter mixing the dirt and water, sprinkling dry earth on top, watching for what happened next, playing with possibilities – this time, this experimenting – it’s priceless, it’s essential and it’s necessary.
So, I stitch because it’s necessary, because it’s essential, and occasionally useful, yes, but most importantly it’s because I am a Slow Stitcher and stitching is my thing.