I don’t know about you, but I love getting books in the post. I sometimes buy online because many textile books are not available in bookshops here. Occasionally I’m disappointed because I can only go by reviews and the limited page views online, but I got lucky with two recent purchases.
Slow Stitch by Claire Wellesley-Smith has been out of print and I have been impatiently waiting for it to be back in stock and I’m not disappointed. It is beautifully illustrated and fits my mood for slow stitching during winter. I’ve read it from cover to cover and it lifted my spirits. You could almost regard it as a meditation on the art of hand stitching and has some beautiful photography as well as quotes from well-know artists to reflect on.
I was intrigued by a reference to a “relaxation response” which, according to Harvard Professor Herbert Benson, is a measurable state created by textile activities such as stitching, weaving and knitting, and which induces a feeling of calm which lowers blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. Perhaps this is why I often prefer to do hand-stitching rather than machine piecing of quilts after a day at work. I tend to do most of my machine stitching on week-ends.
I think by most quilter’s standards I am a very slow stitcher because it can take me a couple of months to finish a quilt. I tend to stitch when it feels right and when I’m in the mood as I never want it to be something that I feel I have to do. I want to enjoy the process and the creativity. Sometimes after a hard day at work I don’t have the energy for machine stitching or quilting, but have recently found that embroidery or English Paper Piecing is just right as I can relax on the couch with “the boys” on my lap or close by, and meditatively stitch away during the evening.
Rebecca Ringquist”s Embroidery Workshop also looks fabulous and packed with projects and ideas. It is filled with stunning photography and has a modern take on this ancient art. Some embroidery books make me feel like I need to be cinched in a bodice, stitching by candlelight and a wood fire to set the mood! Unfortunately there is no Mr Darcy waiting in the wings.
I’ll add a review after I have tried a project or two. I’m hoping for some future gift ideas.
I’m not sure which I love more, books or textiles of all kinds – but why do I have to choose, surely I can have two passions 🙂 It’s my bank balance, or lack thereof, that is the problem.
What have you been reading lately? How do you get your creative juices flowing?