Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Stitched Journal Project - February

The Stitched Journal Project is: Makers from around the world creating one "page" or piece of work per month and sharing. It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn't about perfection, or getting it "just right," it is about process and perspective.

February - Hand stitching on hand dyed and recycled cloth

My February piece for The Stitched Journal Project is not anything like I had thought it would be. In fact, I had a very different idea at the beginning of the month. Then the month got going and things changed. We had wild weather, home repair issues, you know, life. Things got hectic and time flew by. There were celebrations and mile stones in our family, and suddenly it was near the end of the month.


When I started working on my piece, I wasn't sure what I was doing and it became an improvisational exercise. Bit by bit, layer by layer, I worked in almost slow motion. I felt the need to hand stitch. I sat in the antique rocking chair that The Engineer gave me when I was pregnant with Pony Girl and I started that rocking stitch. Back and forth, up and down, rocking the needle and weaving it through the cloth. The repetitive movements and the pure easy focus became a meditation. I felt the calming effect and my mind emptying of all the distractions and racing thoughts that come with everyday life. The work was just what I needed, helping me slow down and take in the moment.


It also got me out of my comfort zone. When I work on functional sewing projects I clip every thread, finish every seam; so to work with raw edges, the irregular stitches and the wonky bits was an exercise in letting go.


At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the piece, but it has grown on me. I do think I would like to give it some kind of edging, maybe a binding or embroidered border. Or perhaps it will stay just the way it is.

Edited to add: I learned some stitchy business from this piece that I thought would be good to share. 1. I am in desperate need of new embroidery and hand stitching needles. Changing your needles out regularly really does make a difference! 2. I used a thick wool felt as a backing fabric - I will not choose this again. It made for heavy work on my hands and did not give me the stitch ease I would like.


I am so very excited that this project has become something that has gone beyond the personal; that makers from different parts of the world have decided to join me in this exploration!

Below you will find links to the wonderful makers and their Stitched Journal Project pieces for February. Please keep your eyes on this spot in the next couple of days as more add their links. Be sure to visit them and leave comments!

If you think you would like to join in as well, it's not too late!  We will be sharing our pieces the last Friday of every month at least until the end of the year. We'd love to have you.

All of you wonderful Stitched Journal Project participants please link up below! Remember to add your photos to The Stitched Journal Flickr Group! and be sure to share with Facebook, Twitter, etc!




20 comments:

heikeherrling.com said...

I just love your project. What a beautiful wall hanging it would make, just as it is. Thanks for the inspiration. I really enjoyed February stitching and am already have ideas about March!
I must try something more arty, I think :)

Flaming Nora said...

Brilliant piece Lola, love the way each part leads naturally in to the next. Don't bind it though, I like the way the edges are unfinished and raw. it would detract from all your other raw edges and the delicate way they work together. You would also be introducing a new element that may un-ballance what you have already achieved. But I do agree the edges need some definition, may be some rows of running stitch in a contrast colour or a simple blanket stitch?
Well you did say you wanted to be one of my students didn't you? he he. I give good tutorial !lxxxx

Vicky Myers said...

I love your piece, it has lots of interest and gives me a sense of calm - really beautiful. I would be very chuffed if I had made it:) Almost tempted to join in:)

annewheaton said...

Inspiring! I love the way your piece has evolved but that you knew the time to stop.

Sarah said...

Pretty! February is always an "interesting" month :)

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

I am happy to have discovered this neat project! Perhaps I will join next month…
I like your stitched piece very much! Inspiring. I also have to practice at letting go, sometimes I practice with raw edges and slight unevenness too...

Frances said...

Your stitching is very calming to look at. I think that I can sense how calming it was to make it. The colors are so, so subtle, and your decision to keep the fabric edges raw works so well with the overall composition.

Bravo! And also thanks for the embroidery needle tip tip.

xo

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

The colours suggest tranquillity, but there is energy in the stitching :)

It's nice to see this project taking off, I just wish I'd had time to stitch even one stitch!

Simona said...

Nice work. I'm also not used to raw edges but I like it here and will have to try myself.

june at noon said...

Love all the hand stitching. Sometimes I feel strongly that I should hand stitch too, and it's usually just what I needed!

Sherri B. said...

Thank you Lola for hosting this. It has been just what I needed to force my stubborn little brain to get moving.
I look forward to going to visit the others.

I love that you had such calmness and the sweet memories that came with your stitching..I like it just the way it is, unframed. xo

Daisy Jones said...

ah ha so thats how the grown ups do it...a real work of Art..so lovely, the colours are divine.I have so much to learn...!!
Daisy J !

mel @ loved handmade said...

this is beautiful, hand stitching is on my 'to try' list. I love that immediately you see the incredible detail and time that's been poured into hand stitched pieces x

FROM CINTHIA said...

I love your kantha style hand stichted piece of work ! maybe the piece of wool behind wasn't easy to work with but it gives your work something thick and deep that i like. i like the way you're talking about your stitches, i can feel the peacefull break they gave you. Your post made me think about the novel i'm reading, The last runaway by Tracy Chevalier. It's the story of a young english quaker who emigrates from England to Ohio around 1850, it deals a lot with quilting, stitching and searching of the inside peace. I love the resonance of your Stiched Journal Project, i love the way it makes links between our crafty works, our vision of life, our reading, our feeling ... it's a powerfull and strong project. THANK YOU.

Jenny said...

Just beautiful

Chrissie said...

I've popped over from Lazy Daisy's place, her happy stitching made me smile...and what beautiful embroidery you've created here! I love the freedom, the texture...it is beautiful, and I can sense the calm you felt with the stitching. That's my favourite aspect of embroidery, how it makes me slow down focus, relax! Lovely, lovely project, I can't wait to see more! Chrissie x

Mel Makes said...

I love this piece, the stitching is so neat and precise!

sustainablemum said...

This is such a wonderful idea for a project link up, it is so inspiring reading what others have been up to.

Your project is wonderful.

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I posted my link but forgot to comment again and say, I got there in the end!

Josie said...

This looks great, I love stitched journals. I missed the link, really cross with myself!