Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A Love of Stitching

I love cross stitching.  I mean, I really love it.  It's such an enjoyable, varied hobby.

One of the things I love most is the way I can just shut out the rest of the world while I stitch - it's a way of switching my brain off.  I can focus on my stitching - on the counting, on the pattern, on the repetitive nature of bottom-to-top (left to right) bottom-to-top (right to left).  It doesn't matter what else is going on in my life - whether I'm stressed about work or Theatre, whether I'm angry or annoyed or upset, whether I'm lonely or sick or happy or excited - as soon as I start stitching that all goes away.  It's amazing how much stitching I got done when I was stressed about my job overseas, or when I was meant to be studying for exams!
Stitching in progress
Another thing I enjoy is that it keeps my hands busy.  From a sensory processing point of view (I'm an Occupational Therapist) I'm getting tactile (touch) and proprioceptive (joint movement) feedback while I stitch, which means I can sit still longer.  I'm not one of those people who can sit down and watch TV or watch a movie without doing something else at the same time - not enough sensory feedback to remain alert!  I'll get all edgy and twitchy and want to move around.  Unless I'm exhausted or have a massive headache.  So I tend to stitch or play on the computer or iron (pfft - as if!) or something.  Usually it's cross stitch.  I get really fidgety in the cinema too - love going to the cinema, but I just wish there was enough light to stitch by!  I had a house-mate once who was very similar to me - she'd take her knitting to the cinema and knit while we watched the film.  I've also been known to stitch during meetings or conferences - again, it's a way of keeping my hands busy so that I can concentrate on what's being said.  Don't knock it - it sounds bizarre and contradictory but it honestly works for me, and for a lot of the kids I work with.

Cross stitching is light and portable - packs away in the suitcase nicely without taking up too much space or adding too much weight.  With snips or pendant cutters, I can even take my stitching on the plane!
Clover's thread cutter pendant - portable and safe to take on the plane.
And so much more stylish than an empty floss container!
And I don't get car sick when I stitch.  This really is a bizarre one, and one I can't explain, even with sensory processing.  I can't read in the car.  I can't sit in the back of the car when we travel on winding roads - in fact I often need to be driving because the front seat is not better.  I've been known to get car sick when there are too many speed bumps in a row.  Yet I can stitch without any worries.  I can read a pattern, find my place on the material, stitch and count, thread needles, identify colours, and all the other things I need to do while riding in a car.  It was such a lightbulb moment for me when I realised I could stitch in the car.  Finally I had something to do to while away the long hours we spent in the car on family holidays.  My mother's family were a 2 day drive away (and I mean 2 days -  18 hours of straight driving, or 1450kms south, spread across the two days); my father's family were 7 hours north (over 650kms north).  We spent a lot of hours in the car as kids, travelling to see family, or driving around Queensland on camping holidays.  For years there wasn't much I could do in the car except listen to music or audiobooks.  Once I knew I could stitch, those drives passed so much faster!  I probably fought a lot less with my brothers too, although you'd have to ask my parents about that one.

All this without even getting started on the variety of patterns (themes, size, colours), the fabrics, the threads, the adaptability, and the options of designing your own patterns!
Day of the Doctor in progress
I really do love it.

Happy stitching!!

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