Every morning I can, I start the day with my stitching. Are you the same? I don’t feel right unless I stitch early on. It’s the way I calibrate things. It’s also a little gift to myself. I don’t always manage it, but I definitely feel better when I do.
Imagine it. Smoky grey darkness making the room seem a bit hazy, the central heating turned on, and knowing that in ten minutes warmth will begin to bloom all around. Making tea, usually a bright blossoming Hibiscus in a blue stripy mug from St Ives, and then settling down at a table by the window. In winter, like now, the light is usually grey and a bit patchy, so as I like to stitch in daylight, I choose a simpler project with a lower count. My morning project. I keep my stitching in a little wooden tea tray covered by a white pillow case and in the mornings pull it towards me and uncover it. It’s like a little treat every day, a gift that doesn’t seem to grow old.
I like the quiet of mornings as I live on a busy street. There are a few dog walkers trotting past as I sip my tea and unfold my project. They bounce to the pace of their dog, all padded jackets and wooly hats, bounce bounce bounce. A few cars ease down the road, some still winking lights, but its pause time here, calm before the storm of school children and employees, early morning shoppers and delivery folk.
Reaching for my stitching is instinctive now, this hand on cloth, the moment when my emerging thoughts about the day merge with floss and needle and the lovely row of stitches I make. It’s a nod towards balance, this pressing of ‘pause’ before the day begins to roll away with its own needs and demands. I used to fall into domestic tasks as soon as I could, but when I started to stitch, while sensible, such activities also seemed terribly lacking in joy.
We are living through hugely difficult times and it seems that the act of stitching which stills us, quiets us, and bring us joy, is needed more than ever. That’s the way I rationalise it. Yes, I can take twenty minutes early in the day to stitch for in calming my system through the meditative act of marrying needle and thread, I am enabling an activity that centres me. There are lots of things in the world that could crush us. In 2022 where things seem constantly designed to upend us, the act of stitching is a stolen treasure, a quiet space where we may find a joy that soothes us, easing the stress that activates our reptilian knee-jerk brains. Morning stitching allows us to find synthesis, a way of putting ourselves back together again. It is an act that encourages mindfulness, and in that allows us to orientate ourselves before we face the day.
So, the wonder of the morning stitch continues. It’s something I look forward to, a space where I can fall and be cushioned. It’s also ballast in times of stress, for when encountering problems in the daytime, I soothe myself with the truth that in nine hours (or five or twelve) I will be past this issue and instead sitting at my table holding linen and counting. I will be sipping Hibiscus tea and making little crosses to the background burr of winter-perky dogs and a light that is transforming the sky from grey to milky to a flushed silver blue.
If you haven’t tried a bit of morning stitching, I invite you to do so, knowing that it’s a very good way to start the day. The word ‘soothe’ is rooted in the word for truth, ‘sooth’, so maybe by taking time for morning stitching to soothe our frazzled minds, we are also allowing ourselves to quieten to our inner truths (instead of automatically responding to the hither-and-thither demands of our crazy world)? I would love to hear your morning stitching stories here. How do you greet the day as a stitcher? What makes morning stitching special for you? And if you haven’t tired it yet, give it a go, and let me know how it makes you feel. Better by far, perhaps?
Companionably, Lee x