It has been over 5 years since I began my stitch journal an (almost) daily stitching project. Writing about it in 2013 I described it has having 'No rules, no projected outcome. A record of days, but not a daily record.' I also wrote about it in my book as part of an exploration of textiles as a daily practice. Over the years I've continued to stitch, sometimes adding new sections of cloth, sometimes overstitching previously worked areas. My favoured threads are still the ones I dye myself, another way of making a personal place-based connection to the cloth. The cloth as a whole piece is now over two metres long, no longer the portable project it was when I began. On days when I've been evaluating projects, writing funding bids, sitting in meetings and all the other administrative tasks that go into arts project management, I find the simple act of choosing thread and beginning to stitch very restorative.
2018 has been busy for me with two long-term socially-engaged art projects I coordinate, Local Colour and Worn Stories: Material and Memory in Bradford 1880-2015. This means that I have less time for my own making practice than I would like. However, I am using both projects as fieldwork for my doctoral research project with the Open University. My research is about engagement with textile heritage and asks whether involvement in slow textile projects can craft resilience in post-industrial former textile communities. Alongside my PhD project I have begun a new section of my stitch journal and I am using it as a creative method to chart my research and allow myself a different way of thinking about it. I find that these wandering stitches are helping to embed my thinking as I work, a way of thinking-through-making. I am planning to continue to chart the course of my studies this way, using my stitch journal as an ‘embodied and open-ended investigation’ (Kwon, 2013, p. 30).
I regularly post images of my stitch journal in progress on my instagram account alongside updates from my other projects. It is also very inspiring to see other examples of textile journals and daily textile practice there.