Stitching with my eyes closed 

Some of you will know that I have been participating in the #365handstitch2017 challenge where people are asked to stitch a minimum of a thread a day for a year. I thought it was time to show you the progress so far.

The ‘front’ of the piece 

As you can see I’ve already added several pieces of cloth together and am working on melding them together.  I made the decision up front to ‘stitch with my eyes closed’, (a process I have been using since I first started this blog). Working this way has meant that I do not visually self-censor. This choice has removed from me the necessity of neatness. I also find the process of leaving the decision about which thread and which stitch to use, until the moment I pick up the work, really freeing.  

Other people online have asked some very pertinent questions about the direction the work is taking. This has made me think about a number of issues, in particular whether I have a specific end in sight – no; and how much bigger the piece might become. 

So I have decided that the current size is where I will leave it (at present). The obvious question of what to do when I run out of space to stitch, was equally quickly answered -work on ‘the back’. I have started this process and not looking while I stitch has helped a lot. It is so hard not to be precious with my work.

The ‘back’, with two new areas of work in cretan stitch and herringbone stitch.

You can see from the photo above that the reverse side of the stitches predominantly resembles small running stitches. That’s why I’m currently adding some strongly coloured lines of stitching. You can see from the following photos that the reverse of even strong colours is not very intrusive. 

Blue herringbone stitch is quite strong when looking at the face of the stitch

The reverse of the stitch is quite unobtrusive

The ongoing challenge will be to stick with the process. It may be difficult to ‘spoil’ this work, but working against an established aesthetic is hard.


      1. Yes, I believe that is a great observation, and I can attest to the truth of it myself, I mean, for me and the way things seem to come to me, so, I felt immediately a kinship with what you were doing.

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  1. I have been enjoying watching the progress in your Instagram pics, and was looking forward to seeing the whole piece. It looks wonderful, it has a unity of its own. The sense that it has almost created itself, yet is definitely yours makes for an interesting outcome. Having the ‘back’ an equally important element adds to the interest too, and working directly on to the back will unify the piece even more. Its something you could continue for a long time, working layers of stitching over one another … so many options!

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  2. I’ve had a go at blind stitching this weekend for the first time, so hard not to look! I did it whilst watching a Cary Grant film and somehow was attempting to stitch what I saw. Thank you for the idea, I will carry on with it and see what I end up with in 6 months’ time

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    1. Yes it’s hard to get started. I do have a bit of a peek if I realise the thread has tangled, but I still get snarls etc. I will be interested to see how you find it. Was saying to the other half last night that I think you can recognise faked naive stitching but I love the results from this approach.

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  3. the work is rich and powerful – just from photos on the net…. I can imagine what it means for you to look at it. It has been tracing yr life, or am I wrong?

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    1. Hi Astrid, thanks for your kind words. I certainly didn’t try to trace my life in this piece. Indeed I was using it more as part of a daily practice in parallel to meditation. I didn’t start with preconceived ideas. I started every day by picking up the thread that caught my eye and then using the stitch that appealed to me at the time.



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