Daily Archives: June 15, 2018

What I’ve Learned Via Needlework

There’s nothing that soothes my stress like needlework. I don’t consider myself an artist — I’m far too content with copying a pattern. But the focus on making beautiful things, even following behind others, connects me with God and with others in a way that few other things can.

And I do it because I learn as I work. Every project has a lesson woven into its trajectory. My home is filled with my projects not because I’m too cheap to buy something better. Rather, each creation has a story that I remember when I see it.

Why do I spend so much time in needlework? The stress-alleviation is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, I learn so much from creating:

  1. Perfection is unnecessary.  I can deviate from the pattern and still make something gorgeous.  In fact, I have the most fun when I break the rules.  On my latest piece, pictured above, I’m A-B testing  (that’s marketing-speak) a metallic thread that’s a different composition and weight from the rest of the needlework floss.  You can see I worked one motif in lilac and charcoal, and I’m testing a glittering copper-gold/charcoal motif next. Will it work or not? I don’t know yet but I’m sure having fun seeing how it comes out. Thus far I’ve determined I have to double the thread to get what I want.  I may end up pulling out stitches if it doesn’t work. But some of life’s best results come after failures.
  2. Needlecraft anchors you to the past.  Sometimes, the very, very distant past.  When I visited Ireland two years ago, on a day trip to Kilkenny Castle,  I saw amazing tapestries on the walls. As I looked out the windows at the beautiful grounds, I imagined myself as a young woman in the 1200s, when the castle was built, stitching in the natural light streaming through the panes. When I grasp a needle, I feel a deep-down connection with women worldwide throughout history.
  3. Needlework knits generations together.  Some of my earliest and best memories are of my mother teaching me to knit, crochet, and embroider.  Unlike me, my mother is left-handed, but she managed to learn how to teach me using her right hand. She brought me untold hours of joy from that sacrifice.  I hope to someday teach younger women the craft as well.
  4. God is in the smallest details.  I once worked a crochet piece, an original amigarumi animal patterns, where I simply could not get the shape I wanted. I finally put down the crochet hook and prayed. And then I picked up the hook again and figured out the problem. What a life lesson! What other small things in life will God fix if we just turn them over to Him?

What have you learned from household crafts? (Hit the “Leave a Comment” button at the top of the post.)