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Stitch. By stitch. By stitch.
Sewing is healing. It is a gift from my ancestors. It is a way I create a slower more mindful life.
Stitch by stitch.
Word by word.
Breath by breath.
A life is created.
And yet at times the slow stitching is forgotten
For the fast pace of another world,
Another way of being.
Which one holds my heart more?
Which one soothes my mind?
Which one invites me to enter the expanse of dreams and visions once more?
the front of the tablecloth that I am working on
One thing you may or may not know about me is that I love to sew. It is one of my happy places. I have sewn since I was a young girl. My Mum was/is my inspiration. I personally believe she was a creative genius. Whatever she saw in her mind she was able to create - whether she drew it, painted it, sewed it, cooked it or expressed it in her Monet style garden.
She used silk, clay, acrylics, oils, graphite, cotton. She used her hands and at times the sewing machine. She used herbs and spices, old recipes and new ones. She dug deep in her garden and knew how to companion plant.
My Mum would literally “create something out of thin air.” She saw it in her minds eye and then, without much fuss, it was there in the physical.
One minute she was chatting about it, next minute (sometimes, yes, it took days!) it was there in front of us all to admire and partake in.
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When I was a little girl I would sit on the lounge room floor with her as she would cut out the fabric patterns of the things she was making - usually something for us children, or beautiful shirts for herself and or Dad.
I can still hear those huge dress makers scissors opening and closing, opening and closing, as she cut through the material and then tore the fabric in straight lines.
I have inherited those scissors. So big that at times it takes two hands to use them!
I would continue to then sit by her side as she used her old singer sewing machine to sew those pieces together.
Did I mention that she also loved music? Mum played the guitar and listened to music all the time. (I am definitely no musician!) However it was the sound of her sewing that was, and still, is my favourite music. It is this sound that I relate to her. Her unique sound. The sound of those scissors cutting fabric, the sound of tearing material, the sound of her singer sewing machine.
Mum also hand sewed patchwork quilts, bags, cushion covers, soft toys…
I still have one of the toys she made me. She made it with 100 + year old heirloom ancestral lace on top of modern calico fabric. Miss Dolly. She is brown with age now. She sits on my dresser. Maybe she is 30 years old. Maybe, and possibly, older.
When I was gifted with her I appreciated her, yet now as a slow stitcher I appreciate her so much more.
Each stitch I know is a stitch of love, patience and unspoken words.
My Mumma died nearly 7 years ago now.
Miss Dolly is her reminder to me that when life is too busy, I can stop, and have a hug from a woman who slowed down, and who wove love into all she did.
Me, I prefer hand sewing. Embroidery. Cross stitch. Mending - or as some friends have described, creating tailor made bespoke fashion.
I never really thought of myself as a creative like my Mum. She was, and still is, in a league of her own! I can however proudly say that I have inherited her sewing skills (and cooking skills!). Her patience with the cloth and needle, her eye for colour and maybe her flare and confidence in wearing something unique and creative.
Sewing is slow.
Hand sewing is even slower.
It is a conscious
the back of the embroidery
At times it brings out the obsessive nature in me.
When the back needs to be just as good as the front.
Other times though, it brings out the hippy in me, the one that doesn’t mind the loose ends, the multi colours, the peace words on jeans.
At times it brings out new talents that I never new I had. Like the time I undid and lengthened - because there was extra material tucked up inside - the arms on a woolen 50 year old tailored jacket. It was my Dad’s and he was passing it on to my partner. My partner has longer arms than my Dad. I was so nervous and so focused I couldn’t even talk. My partner now wears this jacket often. It makes me, and my Dad, smile!
Sewing for me is healing.
It is slow.
It requires concentration.
When I sew a lot my finger tips become rugged.
There are times when tiny drops of blood fall upon my work.
Stitching is moments of mindlessness and yet mindful moments.
My mind is focused on some colour, some stitch, some measurement
and at the same time it is given space to be free and expand.
At times I know that I am holding my breath.
At times I feel as though my room is holding its breath too.
At times I feel that even the wind outside is holding its breath.
And then a gentle exhalation can be felt.
the silence falls again like a warm blanket on a cold night.
And then the expansion comes
A gentle expansion.
that extends beyond my little circle,
to the room,
to the house
Healing too is like that….
stitch by stitch
breath by breath.
True healing allows for the ancestral beauty to come through while at the same time honouring the new colours and styles that make me and you who we are.
True healing takes time.
True healing is drops of blood and pricked fingers
True healing is creative and ordinary
True healing is powerful and real.
True healing happens
Stitch by stitch
What holds your heart and soothes your mind when the daily sounds over take you?
What brings focus to your daily moments, while at the same time expanding your energy, your dreams and visions?
What is something that you enjoy doing that has been passed on to you by your ancestors?
NEXT WEEK I WILL WRITE MORE ABOUT “HOW SEWING AND HEALING GO HAND IN HAND”
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