Jane Milton

January 25, 2023

Jane shares with us the benefits of stitching and why she joined the Sashiko Stitch Club.

Video Transcript

Speakers: Jane R Milton

Jane R Milton: I've been part of a community of stitchers near and far who have been encouraging and inspiring and I've really enjoyed sharing bits of our stitch projects, bits of our lives.

What inspired you to join the Sashiko Stitch Club?

Jane R Milton: I took a half day workshop with Kate to learn a few basics and that led me to join her year long Sashiko Stitch Club in 2021 then to rejoin for another year in 2022. Stitching the sashiko patterns allowed me to blend several of my interests together and the format of the course meant that I could fit the project into a busy life and at my own schedule.

Why do you like to stitch?

Jane R Milton: I like to stitch by hand because I find it both calming and expressive. The hand of the maker leaves a trace in the piece, and the stitching tells something about the stitcher. And while sashiko stitching seems to require perfectly placed and even stitches, it still looks beautiful, with less than perfect technique. When I choose the cloth and the colors and the stitch patterns I can come up with a very individual piece.

What was one unexpected benefit you experienced from joining?

Jane R Milton: I think that the two years I've spent stitching regularly by hand has given me more than I expected. I thought I would learn a few patterns, probably use them to embellish clothing or other things I made. But I've discovered that the slow pace, combined with the consistency of stitching has been very rewarding. It's hard to describe perhaps because I tend to be resistant to anything that's supposed to improve me or my life. The repetitive motion of slow stitching though is relaxing and I do get a kind of flow going and my mind is freed up in a way.

What have you been able to achieve since joining?

Jane R Milton: Of course, there have been results from all the stitching. I'm a better, more careful stitcher for sure. I have a nice stack of fair sized samples built up and I've used sashiko stitches to embellish clothing, household items such as table mats, tea, cozy.

Jane R Milton: I've also become more relaxed about meeting deadlines if one project isn't ready because I've been busy. I'm not stressed because I didn't meet someone else's expectations. All my making expectations are now mine and I can always finish when I'm ready to. Although to be truthful, I was usually so keen to start the next pattern that I was done very quickly after the release date and I started thinking about much larger projects to do on my own in the future. I'll certainly continue doing all kinds of hand stitching.

If there’s one word you could use to describe your experience with Zen Stitching, what would it be and why?

Jane R Milton: It would have to be Open and that did just come to me, but it fits what I've already said in relation to what I've learned and achieved. And it also fits Kate's teaching. She's open in her responses and encouragement. Kate offers up the course elements with kindness, calmness that allows everyone to go at their own pace, to ask questions, share mistakes and to contribute ideas. And the stitching process has allowed me to approach a project with openness to allow the work to show me what it is and who I am as part of the piece. I think Open has to be my guiding word this year. Thank you Kate.

Produced with Vocal Video