The Joy of Stitch

Time, Purpose and Companion Pieces

Time, purpose and companion pieces

Over Easter I spend two week in Germany with my mother (who will be 85 soon) and friends.

There were  moments of dialogue and reflections.
28. March 2013, before the Church Concert
For quite some years now, I tend to have some kind of needlework (knitting, crochet and these days again embroideries) with me most of the time.

Taking work around with me, started when my son was born. Embroidery provided a practice of expressing myself, which allowed me to pick it up in any spare minute, with no need for a special place like a workshop or a studio. I realized then, how much I enjoyed working on my pieces in public. My friend Sue Dove agreed that she found Embroidery suitable for a transient life. She had been a weaver before. (More about her in an extra post)

IMG_0060Knitting in Marazion

 I regularly meet with the question:” how long does it take you to finish this?” or if I wear one of my favorite knitted triangular shawls the question is:” How long did it take you?”.

It is rare for me to be in a hurry to finish something.
Like today, in 2 hours I crocheted a gray woolly barrette, because I had forgotten to take a warm hat with me to Germany.

 I bought 2 balls of very thick yarn and a matching crochet hook and ca. 2 hours later the problem of cold ears was solved.

 It is the legacy of my mother; if we need something we make it (within reason!).
My shawls are my companion pieces; they are with me, until they are finished. It is a special comforting moment, to sit down and work a few stitch, it is quieting  the mind, creates a moment of purpose, relaxes, I breathe deeper.

 Often I am actually a bit sad when they finally come off the knitting needle.

 

29. March 2013
My embroidery piece also have become what I call “companion’ piece.

I’m writing this in my mother’s sitting room.
When my mother gave the piece, I am working on, at first glance, her immediate response was, the stitch were untidy.

 The upper stitch and the lower stitch have to face the same direction in one row.

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to create

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My mother trained in the late 1940 as a tailor/dressmaker and did her Master in the early 1950’s. After she retired in the early 1980’s she took up Danish cross-stitch and Hardanger Embroidery.

It’s intriguing to make a connection now how much this generation was in so many aspects of their life’s trained to follow the rules and things had to have an end to their means and a purpose.

 IMG_0277

The Middle One (On the train, March 2013)

Later in a Cafe
Her following questions were:
“What will it be?”
“How big will the embroidery be?
” How long will it take you?”

And all I could do is today:
” I don’t know and I don’t need to know now.”

I feel, there will be a moment, where feels right to say: ” Here I will stop working on this piece. “

 

In her honor I am now incorporating at times the “right” way of cross stitch, first the row of the under stitch and then the top stitch. I can choose between the traditions and honoring them and following my own way of doing it.

The pieces will be part of my graduation show; it feels like inviting friends round.

 

Because for these pieces of embroidered cloth will tell about all those moments they have been with me, on my travels, on trains, in cafes.

Even if I cannot relate to a particular section a certain event, they still hold the memory of the time spend with them.

 

IMG_0315

The Chinese One (Miss Peapod, March 2013)

The Joy of Stitch

Time and Stitch – Thoughts

Time and Stitch Thoughts

Time and Stitch
Time and Stitch

..,, The project ‘Time and Stitch’ is an exploration about how we perceive time when we create something with out hands, on the example of stitch / embroidery.

The purpose of My embroidery in this work is to experience the effect of a very slow and time consuming activity. The objects, the embroidered cloth are a physical documentation of time spend, mostly alone and some times in company.

The videos and photos are the documentation of the journey, of the process.

Why Stitch and Music?

My personal experience come into play; as I enjoy the activity of needlecraft, and knitting and crocheting, I tend to take it with me to most place I know. In    Penzance I am known as “the woman who knits”. I love live music; a wide range from my local Folk group, the blues my man played, to orchestral concerts and chamber music and the knitting comes along. While the hands are engaged I listen with greater intend.
This bore the idea to explore the interaction between a musician and a stitcher.
In my experience the dialog is tangible , a gentle much more internal communication .

The Joy of Stitch

Reflection on the converstions with Gillian Wylde and Bill Goodyear

 

Sea, Wind and Stitch
Sea, Wind and Stitch

Talk with Bill, Thursday, 17.01.2013

I talked with Bill about the tutorial with Gillian yesterday; the base line is to move on and take the activity “Stitching” on a journey.

It means leaving the church behind for the time being.

I might want to film in some of the small country churches; the spiritual environment, the quiet and the time factor,

particularly here in the South-West of Cornwall echoes with search of a point- place-moment-sequence meets in the stillness that is interwoven with a place and its sounds.

It means going outside, on beaches, rocks, moors. Gillian suggested going out for a day on a journey, for example Dartmoor, spend time stitching and later on writing about the experience.

Also it became very clear, that the video and stills act as documentation and are not the work itself.

The Work is the activity, the act of being in a place while finding the place inside, through a moving activity, the Stitching.

The Stitching becomes a “real” time documentation, tangible memory of the time spend. Each stitch holds the memory of a moment, a breath.

So much comes together for me  in this work;

⇒⇒ my search and longing for beauty (reference Satish Kumar on Beauty),

⇒⇒ my love for the handmade activity, ⇒⇒ my search in using material which are kind to the environment. (Here hemp and British Wool)

⇒⇒ working with music and sound

In talking with Bill it became clearer what I am looking for:

> in the visuals > Images in the landscape, working in the landscape

> in the sound > ambient sound of the filming

> under laying with sound from close up recordings of stitching, needle through the fabric, breathing, moving of cloth.

Also I became aware that I could only think of one “mode” at a time, which is interesting in itself.

Gillian suggests “Contrast” work as in a setting of stitching at Piccadilly Circus.

First I rejected her idea, as something I was not looking for; in the conversation with Bill,

I thought, it would be interesting to explore the idea, with the freedom to abandon it, if it doesn’t feel right.

At the moment I am concentrating on the “Calm” mode.

Working with sound and music is an integral part, as music is such a powerful tool for expression of moods and feeling and plays an important part in my life.

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The Appletree Cafe Knitting Group

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/53324522 w=500&h=281] <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/53324522″>The Appletree Cafe – Knitting Group</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user11511171″>Christiane Berghoff</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

On Thursday the 08 November I visited the Knitting Group at the Appletree Cafe in Sennen (Penwith, Cornwall). http://www.theappletreecafe.co.uk/

One of my previous students Susan Thomas (she is a retired occupational therapist) had told me about this group;

Susan likes this group because the members, to her mind, are more inventive, creating their own designs and  are more concerned about the material (quality of wool etc.) they are using.

I received a warm welcome and when I introduced myself and my intend to film them, while they were getting on with whatever they were doing, they were happy to let me get on with what I wanted to do.

It is an interesting group, some younger women, who were just beginning to learn to knit under the emphatic tuition of some of the more experienced knitters. It was a general, very animated, lively atmosphere, lots of laughter and friendly banter. 

In the middle of the table was a stack of books, some had brought along to share

At the end I talked with  the two women, who is organizing this group, Pat Furley and Jenny Strickland. 

Their business name “the unravelled sleave” is taken from a Shakespearquote: 

the raveled sleave’– a woven or threaded skein of yarn
Macbeth Act 2 Scene 2: ‘Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more, Macbeth does murder sleep” – The innocent sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care…….’

As it happens they had only recently thought about that it would be interesting to research  old knitting songs can be found.

It is known, that in a time when people, not only women would get together to spin, weave, embroider, sew and later knit that there were songs sung.

This is another thread to follow up for me!

Women like these, revive the tradition of women getting together, to be sociable, meet friends exchange knowledge, help each other out and teach the younger ones. 

There is something, where I can’t quite can put my finger on, why it makes such a difference when being in a group of women and making something with my hands, then rather sitting in a group of friends and chatting away. I am aware the the attention and mostly understated competitiveness in the groups is intriguing. To  receive praise for what is on the needles or around the shoulders is very encouraging and does makes one feel good about oneself.

But also the sympathetic support on receives when things goes inevitably wrong and some kind hand helps you to unravel the bit where one has gone wrong and helps you to pick up the stitches again. Just as we need it in life.