for the past few years i've been trying to keep a journal of sorts - a place to keep all my little bits of papers and ideas - instead of having little stacks of floaty bits of paper scattered around my workspace
sometimes they're a quotation, a design idea, an image that's captured my imagination - insights i've had, things to make
i move them from pillar to post and back again, every so often filing them in some random folder, or writing them down in a random notebook - quotes in one, poetry in another, my design ideas in a large sketch book, a smaller one for clippings from magazines
managing all of that gets discouraging and cumbersome and so i stop, and the floaty bits of paper start piling up again
i don't want four books - i want one
one i can take with me when we're on the road, that can easily move in and out of the house, nothing too precious nor fancy, just something soft and comfortable in the hand with nice paper inside, and not too big
i may have found it...
i bought this little leather-covered book last week and already i love it
a simple leather cord stretches around the middle - perfect for expansion of the inside if i want to staple, tape or glue things inside
the paper is of a lovely weight, handmade, complete with the raggedy edges i love
it has a soft smooth sheen, lovely for ink - not so much for pencil, and erasing is not an option
not to be a diary - rather, a visual record
a favourite image torn from a magazine was the first thing i put in...
and then fabric... in amongst all the floaty bits of paper of my work table, i had been collecting a sizable stack of little scraps of some of my favourite fabrics
they were too small for just about anything but i couldn't bear to throw them away
as i was moving them aside to work in my new journal, i realized what i was feeling was akin to what earlier people felt, back in the days when cloth was precious, and not to be wasted
i decided to sew a few favourites into my new book, boro style, and as i was doing that an idea began to brew...
i've long been drawn to the idea of a daily stitch practice
the thought of taking a few stitches each day, seeing the results grow over time, little things adding up to bigger things - well, it had a lot of appeal, but without a "plan", i couldn't figure out how to even begin
the questions "on what?", "with which thread?", "what stitches?", even "where does it end?"stymied me and so i did nothing
but these little scraps of cloth lit an idea
what about a daily stitch practice that wasn't so much about embroidery, but about piecing together these cloth-bits, too precious to me to be thrown away, but not enough for anything on their own?
why not piece them together boro-style and make quilt block foundations that i can applique on top of, embroider the surface, or even, leave them as they are
whatever i decide in the end will be fine - in the meanwhile, i've begun
a 12 1/2" square of fine white muslin for the base, and a variegated taupe thread for the stitching, one patch per day
i gathered all the scraps into a pine needle tray my mother made for me, added a small pair of scissors, spool of thread, and then looked for a needle and a piece of felt to keep it in
sweet and simple, and the perfect thing
as i gathered all the fabric scraps from both my work table and my sewing table, i realized i had several very thin strips of antique indigo cloth from japan, left-over from piecing the foundation for my kantha/boro bag
precious old cloth, some pieces just 1/4" wide
it took only a moment to decide to cover the needle-book with them
above is the full outside cover with all the strips in place
below is evidence of the stitching i did... a meandering line, but in a way illustrating my own path to this moment
the front cover, before trimming
i've since trimmed this neatly and it lays in the basket, with all the other bits and pieces
the basket itself sits neatly on a table, next to the chair where i have my morning coffee
after reading blogs and news and emails, and before coming up here to do my daily writing, i take five minutes, select a scrap of cloth and carefully stitch it in place
it's been three days now, and i already look forward to it immensely
a few minutes, every day, choosing a scrap based on either what i see out my front window, or what i feel in my mind, each month a new block
if you want to follow along i'm posting a daily image on instagram, in my own feed, and also with the hashtag #dailystitchpractice
the link is near the top of my blog, on the right hand side
feel free to join in if you like!