Stitch A Book of Shadows

CQJP JULY

There are a number of stitch journal projects out there on the internet and the blogosphere.  It is very inspiring.  Some are very structured and they keep track of the names of stitches learned and practice.  The journal becomes a reference book to consult again and again; and it’s also a way to track the progress of your skills.  One of my favorite of this kind is on Mary Corbet’s Needle n Thread.  As awesome and cool as it is, it’s still a lot like a school blue book or copybook.  Sometimes I can’t sustain that kind of structure.  I always want to veer off track or color outside the lines.

The Crazy Quilt Journal Project is also incredible.  At the beginning of each year, people sign up to create a journal by doing a crazy quilt square each month for the whole year.  I didn’t sign up but I’m on the mailing list and I get emails with pictures of some incredibly beautiful crazy quilts.  Plus, several of the bloggers I follow, write about their journey.  The next favorite thing for a stitcher to do after stitching is a handful of M&Ms and writing a blog.

One of the most inspiring is a blog post on Million Little Stitches.  She has been doing fibre journals since 2008 and last year she participated in CQJP.  She shared her final journal in this post.  In two fabric pages you see what happened to her each month stitched on one side and her crazy quilt on the other.   What a fabulous way to journal or for a Wiccan to keep a Book of Shadows!

I didn’t realize it had inspired me so much until I was in the middle of a meditation during our Full Moon in Virgo celebration this past weekend.  It came to me that I needed to journal my meditations more faithfully and find a way to express the wisdom I was gaining.  The the picture of this wonderful journal showed up in my meditation along with the pattern for the wisdom of the meditation.  I’m almost finished with it and will post it when I am finished.

I’m not sure what will be in this Book of Stitchy Shadows.  I’m making no promises to faithfully transmit all the ritual meditations or whatever.  I am participating in a wonderful monthly stitchy sampler program by Rebecca Ringquist at Dropcloth and those will fit in nicely.  We shall see at the end of the year when I put it all together.

 

It is called The Craft, you know

 

Shop Till You Drop Quilt by Gail Wood.

Shop Till You Drop Quilt by Gail Wood.

Today, I started an offshoot blog to The Rowdy Goddess blog and it’s called The Rowdy Goddess Crafts.  I do a lot of sewing, quilting, and needlework and I like to talk and write about it.  Often people don’t want to hear about it or read about it, so I’m doing an off shoot.  Last fall when I was being care-giver to my mother, I found that my normal coping mechanism to tune out stress, reading, wasn’t working.  Because of the situation, with its constant interruptions and worry, I couldn’t concentrate enough to follow a story line.  Since I was at her house, I didn’t have access to my usual quilting toys.  What I found I was hankering for was to do some embroidery.  I pulled out my handy-dandy iPad (I didn’t leave all my toys behind) and went on to Amazon and ordered an embroidery kit, a hoop and some embroidery scissors (I have a major jones for scissors).  Thank goodness for Amazon prime.  It arrived two days later and I had something to do while my mother slept.  The embroidery calmed me, nurtured me and reminded me there is beauty in the midst of stress.

Since then, my love of hand emboidery is revived; and I’ve been thinking of 2013 as “the year of embroidery” for me; including  completing things, learning new skills, and finding new ways to express my creativity and love of the Craft.  Tom Cowan in his book, Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life, writes that once you begin a daily spiritual practice such as shamanism, you will find that the practice opens you up to other arts and that you will also begin an art practice.  I interpret art very broadly to mean any kind of way you express your own gnosis or understanding of the Universe.  Lately for me, it has been through needlework.

When I became a Pagan in the early 1980s, I was (and still am) a feminist.  I attended meetings, belonged to the National Organization of Women and attended conferences on women’s issues.  There was an undercurrent of attitude amongst these business and academic women that in order to be equal, feminists should eschew traditional women’s arts and crafts.  Needlework was not so much denigrated as ignored.  There were some overt statements but these activities were not prized.  Even among Goddess women and Witches, these crafts were not valued.

Nevertheless, it is called The Craft.  And what is magic but taking the odd bits of intention, desire and energy flow and weaving them together to create a new wholeness (holiness)?  Spell work is essentially craft.  Pulling together all the various bits and bobs and energetically sewing them together to create change through need and desire.

Embroidery, especially, had been something I’ve gone back to again and again.  After spending a decade or more working full time and going to graduate school part time, I did nothing but embroider and watch tv for a solid three months.  After all those years of only studying and working, I looked to find myself again.  The graduate degrees are very prized accomplishments, but I think the embroidery helped weave it into my whole self.  I had to step away to concentrate on learning and achieving, and in order to bring those achievements into my life, I had to use thread and fabric to create the whole picture.

May the beauty and peace of what you craft help you weave heart into Be-ing.

Happy Valentine’s Day.