Wednesday, February 17, 2016

little things...

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

when i spied a little needle book made for my by my friend sherry over at "creatology" 

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!


Rachel said...

That's a great idea, and I can feel your delight in this practise through the screen!

Marj Talbot said...

I love your little leather book - it will hold so many memories.
To stitch a piece each day sounds like a great way to start your day and to bring more ideas forward. Ever wonder who and when the needle was invented?
Seems it was about 28000 BC. There's so much that can be done with this device - mind boggling!!

Dorthe said...

A new interesting way of keeping hold of ideas, scraps, papers, and all other ,able to go into your beautiful leather book. I love the paper inside, Jillayne.
And your new daily joy of stitching a piece every day , is a lovely idea, too, --30 patches stitches in a month, and in a year....... A wonderful little happy moment every day.
Thank you for your last note to me, I will also start as you said, but as I`m not that constant like you, it will be on and off, for me.
Hug from Dorthe

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I like this idea a lot!! It is so hard to find a use for precious little scraps. I covet your leather book too and someday I will succumb!

Karen Ruane said...

your book is amazing Jillayne, it will soon be crammed with gorgeous bits, cloth, paper and most importantly memories....not to mention inspiration.

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Jillayne, what a wonderful idea and something that brings great joy everyday as you stitch away. Love the book you found to hold your bits and bobs. It will truly have a story of its own as you add to it with your ideas.
I did something similar years ago with stroke work in painting and practice pages for roses. I wish I would have placed those pages in a book of sorts, but did not think of this back then. I was just hoping to finally master a stroke! haha Thanks for sharing and have fun. Have a great weekend. xo

Diane Kelsey said...

Finding a book to use on a daily basis is a real challenge, I'm still looking. What a great idea to stitch something every day just for a short time. Something like that might getting me back into stitching. I have certainly lost my way x

Createology said...

Where have I been to miss seeing your beautiful leather journal and treasured mementos you are placing within its covers. Those tiny little fabric scraps in your capable hands will be become beautiful blocks. How divine the little pinkeep is with those BLUEtful fabric scraps sewn on the cover. I am happy you are able to use it. Divine Inspiration at its finest...