There are certain tools you reach for over and over again. In my case these are the daily tools. I tend to use the same hopp for eveything, even when that is not easy. It is just my favorite one. I like two pairs of scissors, so I can have one on either side of me! The pewter needle keeper is handy for laying a needle down and not losing it. And, hey, safety first. We don't want the cat to eat a needle! The silver and lavendar pin cushion, that used to belong to Grandmom and then Mom, is now loaded with nothing but embroidery needles. The silk ribbon needle book, made by Mom, houses a tapestry needles, larger needles for crewel, etc. And I use water soluble markers for transfering and when that is not enough, or not quite right, I get the pencil and add whatever detail I need.
The other thing on the table is the orts jar. Orts is a word of Germanic origin meaning scraps or leavings. Originally referring to leftover food, people who sew use it to refer to leftover bits of thread. Apparently, such collections of threads were thought to confuse and ward off evil spirits. I started this one last year when we were not throwing anything away. But, I have discoverd that many folks keep an orts jar.
New Jersey artist Erin Endicott uses hand embroidery stitching on vintage textiles that she stains with walnut ink. The walnut ink goes into the fabric to create the organic outlines of the stitching. The series is called the ”Healing Sutras,” as the process of adding hand embroidery to the walnut ink stains is a metaphor for healing physical and psychological wounds.
I just really like the abstract, organic shapes and the red on the white.
Boro is the Japanese art of mending and the term boro is literally translated as rags or scraps of cloth. Boro is also used to describe clothes and household items which have been patched-up and repaired many times. This textile tradition comes from northern Japan, a poor region with a harsh climate.
Boro textiles were usually sewn from nineteenth and early twentieth century rags and patches of hand loomed indigo dyed cotton. Older boro pieces were made with fabric made from bast fibers (foraged local plant materials and hemp) then patched and quilted together with second-hand scraps of cotton garments. Boro garments were the work garb of both men and women working as farmers, lumberman, and fisherman. Boro techniques are also found in other household items, especially futon covers. A family futon cover might incorporate elements from clothing used by generations of family members.
As fabric was scarse and expensive, boro used patchwork quilting and sashiko stitching to mend and extend the life of all the pieces of worn fabric in a household. Sashiko, literally translated to “little stabs”, is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching, usually running stitch, for areas on clothing that get a lot of wear. No fabric would be thrown away, adhering to the concept of mottanai.
While frugality drove this textile tradition, the aesthetic sensibilities of the women stitching created beauty out of the materials at hand. These patched and heavily stitched articles of daily life are cultural textile treasures.