16 June 2008

Finding time for needlework

Some of you would remember that I bartered a couple of things for some fertile partridge wyandotte bantam eggs around Christmas time. Two lots of eggs were sent but none resulted in any chicks, which was mainly due to our inexperience. The second part of the barter from my side was a simple living stitchery, similar to the one on the side bar. I designed this a few years ago and had it in my home as an inspiration until I gave it away to Peggy at Hidden Haven Homestead. I think it might still be hanging in her home. Well, I've finally finished the stitchery and will post it off this morning. Hello Helen if you're still reading! I haven't forgotten you, I'm just slow. ;- )

My days are often peppered with short periods of needlework of some kind. I generally have several projects on the go at once, usually stitching or knitting, that will be used in our home or given as gifts. Right now I'm also doing a few dishcloths for the Etsy shop so I can package them with soap.

I know many of you love craft work and Renee commented recently that she could spend the whole day in the yard working, but wants to find time for her sewing as well. So how do you fit it all in? When there is so much work to be done, how do you manage to squeeze in the needlework, the work you enjoy and look forward to?

I don't look at needlework as a separate pleasure. I do find a lot of pleasure in it but I see it as part of my housework. When I want a break from more strenuous chores, I sit for a while with a cup of tea and my knitting or sewing, and I relax, regain my strength and then go to some other type of work. I believe we have to find our own pleasure in what we do. Working in your home on repetitive tasks, or physically hard work, would make even the saints among us complain. Try to structure your day with periods throughout it when you're doing something you love. That might be sewing, knitting, painting, writing or some other creative activity that you will benefit from. Taking time out from the washing, ironing and cooking with one of the gentle arts, will give you the strength and the motivation to keep going. It also gives you time to think about your day and what you're working towards.

I think some ladies feel guilt when they take time to sew or knit. They get a lot of pleasure from the doing of it so they think it's just a pure pleasure for them. That's not quite right, ladies. Yes, it is a pleasure, but it also contributes to your home - it is either part of your home making or your home maintenance. No matter how much pleasure you gain from the needles, it is one of your chores as well.

If you do get pleasure from craft work, or if it is something else that does that, structure it into your day. We talked about balance recently - this is a balance item. It is one of those things that you can look forward to during the day, it is still fulfilling your requirement to contribute in a meaningful way to your family and home, but because of its gentle nature, it will provide you with some respite from the heavier jobs.

Remember, this simple life is about finding pleasure in the ordinary and everyday tasks we all face. Don't be afraid to sit down with your craftwork. It is a great skill you bring to your family and if you find pleasure in doing it, well, that's just the icing on the cake.

When I first started reskilling myself for all the things I do here, I went straight to my old Needlecraft book. I bought this book in the 1980s and since then it's been the best guide for me with every kind of needle work. I checked and it's still being sold on Amazon, so I'll add it to my boxes, but you can very likely get a copy of it at your library. If you can get hold of a copy, it will be a worthwhile guide for you into the beautiful and sometimes bewildering world of needle craft.
The book gives excellent advice, clear guides and tutorials on embroidery, knitting, canvas work, crochet, applique, lacework, patchwork, macrame, quilting and rugmaking.

It also shows you how to recover from mistakes. I certainly needed that along the way.
For more information about the book, the link to the Amazon site is here.
And finally, it's Bloomsday! Some of you would know that my favourite book of all time is Ulysses by James Joyce. June 16 is celebrated in the book and has since become known as Bloomsday.
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