The Meditative Quality of the Running Stitch

In conversation with Jill Moffatt from New Zealand

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live?

My name is Jill Moffat. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with my husband, teenage son and 10 month old spaniel cross puppy. I was born and raised in rural Dumfries and Galloway where my extended family still live. I work full time as a Health Improvement Adviser at the regional public health unit.

Do you have a crafting/stitching background?

Arts and crafts have always been a part of my life. Drawing and crafting were favorite pastimes in my childhood. Over the last couple of years I have started drawing again. This has been buoyed on by being part of a wonderful Dumfries based online community called Drawing for Enjoyment and participating in Inktober challenges. I am new to stitching.

Is there someone significant to your stitching journey/who taught you to stitch? When and how did you find 52 Stitched Stories?

My sister, Karen Auld, is a textile artist and member of the 52 stitches community. She encouraged me to start stitching and participate in the postcard challenge.

What did you like about it? What attracted you most?

When my life gets busy I don’t make time for the things that I enjoy doing such as arts and crafts. I am goal driven, so the weekly postcard challenge appealed to me as a way of embedding an enjoyable pastime into my life.

How has it helped you? For many of our members the regular contact and stitching has been a great help during our lockdowns in the UK – is that the same for you?

New Zealand hasn’t had the same experience of lockdown as the UK. However, this is an incredibly worrying and uncertain time. I find that stitching is a great mindful activity to help manage stress, anxiety and support relaxation.

Where do you find your inspiration for your postcards?

I am fortunate to live in a lovely seaside suburb surrounded by beaches and parks. I find lots of inspiration from the local flora, fauna, shells and sea life.

I take lots of photos when I am out walking so have a huge image library for future reference. Colour is also a huge source of inspiration for me.

Do you plan your postcards/ do you use a sketchbook?

I usually spend a little time planning out my postcard, with a quick sketch and by selecting a colour-palette. I really enjoy this part of the process and would like to take more time to create a more detailed visual diary/sketchbook.

How many postcards have you made so far? How have they developed from the first?

I have completed 16 postcards. My recent postcards are less ambitious than early ones; they have less stitching on them in order to make the weekly challenge more sustainable and enjoyable.

Have you thought about what you might do with your postcards? Some popular ideas have been a wall-hanging, photo book, made into cards, stored in a box etc.

I like the idea of creating a textile book – a stitch diary of 2021.

Have you taken part in any of the open calls/challenges/online exhibitions?

Not yet.

Do you have a favourite stitch?

I love the meditative quality and versatility of the simple running stitch.

Have you had any stitching disasters that you managed to turn into successes?

I have had stitching disasters and have become very adept at unpicking.

Any advice for new stitchers or those just joining the project?

The most important advice I would give is to enjoy the process, have fun experimenting with stitches, colour, shapes and textures. Stitching doesn’t need to be complex; you can achieve amazing results with a simple running stitch.

Thank you to Judy for interviewing Jill and to Jill for taking part in our festival, a lovely member story.

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