An Injury Lead Me to Slow Stitching
by David Martinez
I am a disabled Marine Corps veteran. The Marine Corps places a lot of importance on optimal physical condition and ability, so it can be a real blow to one’s self-esteem to become disabled as a result of military life. Both my physical issues and the medication I take prevent me from holding a job outside the house. I wasn’t going to just sit back and do nothing, though. After some urging by my wife, I decided to try out knitting, and I found that I enjoyed it.
“The act of stitching has its own healing affect mentally and emotionally”
It was a little frightening to learn something completely new when I was feeling like so much basic ability had been taken away from me. I took my time, though, and taught myself to knit from videos online. There was a lot of pausing, rewinding, taking stitches out, and starting over.
The knitted kitties are something that I really enjoyed making. Not just the finished product, but the act of knitting them. This is also why I love the idea of slow stitching. Slow stitching really allows me to focus on simply enjoying the moment of creation.
After a while, I tried doing some cross-stitch to see how I might like it. I found that I actually liked it more than I did knitting, and so I wanted to do it more and more. The simple act of making little X’s with thread is quite relaxing for me. To a certain extent, it doesn’t even matter what the project is. As long as the actual stitching process gets me from point A to point B with a little variety thrown in.
Because of my bad back, I need to find ways to stitch in a comfortable position. I end up doing a lot of stitching while reclining to rest. I can work on projects while watching TV and it really is a very relaxing experience. It took a little time for me to find a position that really worked well for me, but as long as I take breaks and stretch a bit when I need to, I’m generally okay. Slow stitching at its finest.
I’m also a big ol’ geek. I enjoy watching anything from Doctor Who to StarTrek to various flavors of anime. That also shows in some of the projects that I work on. Fandoms can be great to find inspiration for what to do with your next project.
One of my favorite pieces to work on, though, was a sugar skull. It took a long time to finish, but I really enjoyed every minute of it. Watching it grow from just a mouth to something vaguely face-like to a flowery skull was a rather fun experience. I like to be able to work on a longer tasks that I can take my time on and keep plugging away at it and watch something grow little by little.
I’ve also really loved stitching up cross stitch patterns that my wife designs. I am very much a pattern follower. It’s comforting for me to just get into the flow of going along with what someone already created. While I don’t mind following patterns made by other people, there’s something special about working on a project created by your partner.
Slow stitching helped me find some of my lost confidence and has given me skills and ability to run a business with my wife from our home. Working from home on my own schedule allows me to look after my physical needs. The act of stitching has its own healing affect mentally and emotionally.
About David Martinez
David is one half of the Craftypodes (http://craftypodes.com). He enjoys cross-stitch and video games, and loves science fiction and fantasy.
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Stephanie Hilker is a knitter and a personality in the blogosphere at Milk-Shed.com. I loved her opinions on the good and not so good of fiber blogging, her theory on stitching mistakes, and why slow stitching may be the wave of the future.
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