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I admit it! I’m an embroidery-aholic.

EmbroideryI love the stuff.

Spiritual Embroidery

I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to embroider, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best in the world. The problem with embroidery is that the more you learn the more there is to learn!

But how is embroidery spiritual? Well, ever seen the beautifully embroidery accessories worn by senior members of a church? How about all those gorgeously completed alter-cloths? And those prayer cushions? Through the ages, women (and men – who were the professional embroiderers for centuries) have created stunning items of art with fabric, needle and thread. Much of the finer styles of embroidery (white worke, etc.) were reserved specifically for religious use. Whether it’s embroidery on the alter cloth, a tapestry embroidered for the wall, to be worn by an officiant, or to be draped over a statue or alter rail. There are very few cultures that do not give the best of their efforts for their “God’s House.”

Embroidery can be spiritual in another sense as well. Most of us have heard stories of nuns who stitched late into the night, working with a candle and a bulbous glass bottle (if you put the bottle between you and the work, it acts like a magnifying glass so you can see the work better) creating alter cloths and decorative items for the Church. Women who were living very ascetic lives would produce wonders of detail and beauty.

Embroidery can actually be a form of meditation. Especially for repetitive works such as black work, lace making, lucet (making cord), voided ground work, counted cross stitch, and many more, it is very easy to move into a meditative state.

A lot of folks are meditating when they are doing embroidery without even realizing it. I found “the embroidery meditation zone” while doing cross-stitch. Stitch-work, while keeping your hands busy, allows your mind to be free. There’s a point where you are so focused on the work that you don’t hear the kid’s music coming from the back bedroom, you don’t hear the blaring of the TV or stereo, the rest of the world slips away and you find contentment and peace in that moment.

Granted, this doesn’t work for everyone. If you hate embroidery, you aren’t going to really want to get into Spiritual Embroidery!! However, whether you’re and experienced stitcher or someone who doesn’t know a hoop from a frame, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to have years of experience with embroidery to do Spiritual Embroidery work. It really is easier than it sounds. Embroidery by its very nature requires you to be still of body (although I have seen those that can stitch and walk at the same time). By being still of body (although aligning the chakras when meditating is helpful, the lotus position is not required for meditation) you’re half-way there. By focusing on the work before you, you are able to allow the cognitive part of your brain to release some of its control on the consciousness. As you “get into the grove” of the repetitive motion of “needle up/needle down” you can allow the chitter and chatter of the consciousness fade back, allowing your inner voice a chance to come forward. It’s a great way to sit down and have something to do with your hands while you allow your mind to settle.

Over the years I have found that the easier and more repetitive the embroidery, the easier it is to get to the point where the world slips away and your hands are moving on automatic while you and your inner self “have a conversation.” Well, at least it works that way for me. Your mileage may vary and more complicated works may be what you need to pull your focus in tighter.

Another advantage to spiritual embroidery is the release of negative energy. Never underestimate the pleasure of poking a piece of fabric repeated with a sharp pointy object to work through a good mad-on! Seriously! It’s a great stress reliever. And it really is a great way to take negative energy (whether it be hurt feelings, anger, or just frustration) and make it into a positive. I’ve found that a terrible day can be turned into a wonderful evening by pouring my frustration out onto a piece of fabric.

Because most serious embroiderers already understand the spiritual connection of creativity within embroidery, all the supplies and equipment are at hand for them. However, if you’d like to give “spiritual embroidery” a try, we have a kit for you to give it a try. Including the background fabric, needle, floss and stitching instructions, it’s everything you need to start a piece of Spiritual Embroidery. (Contrary to popular belief, embroidery doesn’t have to be done with a hoop, it can also be done “in hand” where you hold the fabric you are stitching on in your hand.) The intent of this work is for you to try it out and see if you like it, so the projects are small and simple to execute. The kit will include floss in the color of your choice to complete a bookmark. You don’t have to be an embroidery officiando to complete the bookmark, it’s actually very easy and we’ll give you instructions all along the way. There’s no “pattern” to follow. You will be given a selection of shades and hues within your color choice. The order you use them in is entirely up to you! Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing a spiritual embroidery kit.