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Stitch Meditation Practise

Respect your body

I don’t know about you, but I find traditional meditation and mindfulness nigh on impossible, so it was a wonderful revelation to discover stitch meditations.

What I am enjoying most about this is it allows for experimentation – what is important is the process of creation – the stitching itself. It really does calm the mind and because the concept is that you are only creating a small embroidery really just as a meditative practice there is no sense of having to make something out of it. Instead, Liz suggests that you simply allow the stitching to flow in whatever direction feels good.

Embroidery in progress

I have always enjoyed quotations so I decided to include these in my meditations – this is one I took away with me on Holiday recently, as you can see I began with a very rough outline of a couple of pink chalk circles on the left hand side. The picture above was the result after one evening’s stitching – experimenting in this way, I was combining practising my French Knots (a very new skill) and the different effect that you could find by using varying thicknesses of thread. Those simple ovals – lifted up from the background because of the thick cotton Perle – in the centre, but I worked a thinner flat floss around the edges to create anchor the flower onto the canvass. The stems were created using lovely chain stitch, and fern stitch worked well to create feather like leaves.

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The second evening I decided to fill in the circles – but what I intended to do did not quite work so I ended up doing a long and short stitch in two colours – topped off with yet more lovely French knots. This process is amazing, because when I looked at what had evolved it was so much nicer than my original idea!

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The quotation was really apt for me, I really needed to rest and when you work from home it is hard to relax so spending time away was perfect. We were staying in a National Trust cottage in Devon – rather than going to various locations – we decided to spend our days, enjoying walks in the beautiful gardens and surrounding woodland and rolling hills of the Tamar Valley. The rest of the time we enjoyed quiet afternoons with the log burner crackling away, while E read and I stitched away merrily. One afternoon I discovered a TV channel called Talking Pictures that was showing a 1940s version of Rebecca! complete bliss!

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By the end of the week, the stitch meditation was complete –  I felt completely restored by the rest and we said goodbye to the cottage taking fond memories of a wonderfully relaxing time.

Let life flow

I am still doing these stitch meditations at home and I am finding it has really helped to ease work related stress.

If you would like to know more about this practise there is a wonderful group on Facebook, just look up the words ‘stitch meditations’ and it will take you there.  You can see all the other wonderful pieces of work done by ladies from all over the world, USA, Canada, Australia and Europe.

Stitch Meditation is a process developed by Liz Kettle to help develop a creative mindfulness practice that is simple and easy to implement.

It is for those who choose to explore how to meditate with stitch, to share your practice with others, to inspire others and as accountability for yourself.

See Liz Kettle’s video explaining it all here

cotton, crochet, heart and home, learning, life lessons, projects, roses, tea cosy, WI, wool

Roses and tea

I find that wool shops can be like stepping into an artists palette, the colours and hues really do excite me. There seems to be an endless variety of textures as well as colours and after years of seeing haberdasheries and wool shops disappearing, the new wave of knitters and hookers has seen an upsurge in new wool varieties, merino and alpaca as well as denim, but I have a liking for cotton type wool and this is called baby bamboo.

Choosing colour is difficult for some people they are daunted by the sheer magnitude but I find if you look at a range you will find that the shades and colours have a harmony. Such was the case with this, there were a beautiful palette of the baby colours, blues, yellows as well as greens. The pink has come out in this picture a lot brighter than it is naturally it is lovely. Very soft to work with and gentle on the hands.

I have a sweet little tea pot, from Whittards, its lovely blue and white but was being swamped under tea cosies made for stouter pots! I felt it was small enough to practise on!

I wanted to learn to crochet but I have a terrible problem understanding practical things from books,  I wish I had let my Nan show me when she wanted to, she made the most wonderful bed covers using the granny square!

Since she could not show me, I did the next best thing and I took myself off to a local WI where a lovely lady kindly showed me the basics. I was then able to decipher the books and learn new stitches, but I still struggle to follow patterns!

So this is my little journey into playing with various stitches, made from two straight easy pieces of plain crochet and some practice frills. The roses were great fun, as usual I went off the pattern to create my own rose  but I was pleased with the results.

Crochet is so much more free form than knitting, you can make holes, add frills or simply pull and it will all come undone and you can start again. It really is the most forgiving wonderful craft.

Blake Belles, cake decorating, cake making, challenges, cheating, confidence, friendship, heart and home, insecurities, learning, life lessons, making mistakes, success

We are all a little fragile

I used to read lots of blogs, in fact I had subscribed to so many there was hardly enough time for me to write my own! I would create a new project, photograph it and be all enthusiastic about writing it up and showing the world what I had done, however, the first thing I usually did was look at what everyone else was up to. By the time I had seen everyone else’s projects mine suddenly did not seem so great. Suddenly I would lose interest in what I had done, often not blogging it at all.

We are all human as children we are grouped together and put in order, tests tell us where we are in the scale of who is better at tests, that comparisons become human nature, we do it without thinking. We walk into a room and we notice who is thinner or prettier or who has the nicest dress, we might cover it up, we might smile and engage in small talk, but at the back of our minds is this small 7year old girl who knows exactly where she stands in the group.

What makes matters worse is that we censor what we write, we project a truth about ourselves that is not entirely the whole truth. Mostly because no-one really wants to read that you found a spot on your chin, but also because we feel that we have to have it together, because it seems everyone else is! So today’s post is about not getting it together!

My friends are always giving me so much encouragement, they marvel at my new creations which really boosts me, but they also believe that I a some sort of super woman. A lovely friend of mine comes here to learn how to sew and making mistakes is part of the learning process but she told me she expects I never made a mistake! I told her I had to throw away most of what I made for years before another wonderful friend did exactly what I am doing, took me aside and very patiently helped me to sew.

So here is my little confession! Since I moved my cooker has not been getting up to the correct temperature, however this only became clear when another fault developed and I had an engineer come out. Well every time I have tried to bake cakes they have ended up flat as pancakes! They were often so bad that I did not even tell anyone I had made them! I would hide them in the bin. I could not understand why I was doing exactly what I had done for years but it just did not work.

I joined a marvellous ladies group here in the village called Blakes Belles, I had signed up for a cake decorating day and had to bring along some home made cakes! EEK! So I decided that I would buy a cake! big mistake! I did not hide the fact that I had bought my cake but what I did not realise is that shop bought cakes are very soft! Each time I touched my cake with the icing, a huge chunk would come away!

here it is!

What a disaster! It was so terrible but the teacher reassured me that it would all be ok! I watched everyone else smooth over their buttercream with envy! I found it quite funny and it made me realise that cheaters don’t win! 
The teacher was correct though! Once the royal icing was over the top of the cake the disasters had been covered up! It was a miracle! 
I have always been wanting to try cake decorating, and the day was wonderful, once it got down to making things with the icing I was fully absorbed as was everyone else. The day was wonderful, everyone went home with beaming smiles because they had made cakes they were proud of! 
and so I did finally create a cake to be proud of, even if it was a bit of a journey. Like everything in life, it was a lesson learnt – nothing really is lost, it is just a case of perseverance!