Stitch Meditation – Day 5 and 6

So far, I have been able to keep up with stitching quietly twice a week. It is difficult to quickly select the fabrics and thread for each square. I am spending more time in the selection process than I would like.

Doris lovadina-Lee`s stitch meditation day 5 green cotton, hand dyed metallic linen, sari silk, perle cotton thread
Hand dyed cotton and metallic linen, recycled sari silk, hand dyed perle cotton

Doris' stitch meditation day 6 white linen, purple and blue silk cotton and rayon thread
Linen, silk, rayon and cotton thread

Stitching french knots on the meditation square for day 6 took longer than I thought it would. I chose to do running stitches on the other side because it suited the piece and also because it was faster. Now that I look at this piece, I don’t think it is complete and I may go back and add more stitches to the linen. Also of note, I’ve used both sides of the beautiful silk scrap above. Don’t overlook the other side!

Stitch Resources

  • blog: Stitch + Meditation = Inner Peace post by Pamela Penney of A Stitch In Time Saves
  • Pinterest: Follow and contribute your stitch meditations to 100 Day Stitch Meditation Challenge
  • Instagram: follow the #stitchmeditation2019 tag to see what others are posting, don’t forget to add this tag to your posts

Have you to tried a new pattern, technique, hand sewing needle? Take this opportunity to keep practicing – one stitch at a time.

Stitch Meditation – Day 3 and 4

There are many reasons for stitching mindfully and more importantly when this is going to happen. I was asked if I had planned when I was going to practice my stitch meditation. My plan was to stitch two evenings during the week – Tuesday and Friday nights. This is already a change from the response I gave the person asking! It’s important to be flexible in your practice. Life happens and you can easily and without guilt make accommodations.

stitch meditation day 4 five inch square silk and hand dyed cotton embroidered in fuchsia and green perle cotton Toronto artist Doris lovadina-Lee
Shot and hand dyed cotton, perle cotton and rayon thread

Linda McLaughlin has been creating daily and weekly stitch meditations since 2012. Linda was already taking photographs daily and posting them online when she read a few blogs about daily stitching projects. She began because she wanted to see if she could commit to creating daily. Linda found she enjoyed having something waiting for her in her studio every day. Interestingly, Linda doesn’t always start her projects at the beginning of the year, they feel too much like resolutions which she fails at! Linda blogs about her progress at Linda McLaughlin: Notes from Studio B.

Linda’s second project began without a plan. She committed to creating daily using 4′ square blocks and stitching them with black perle cotton. After a few months, Linda showed some friends the blocks she had completed and “we all decided that I should sew them together, after that it just seemed like what I was suppose to do.”

Linda McLaughlin: Sixty five Days to 65 Project (2012)

Linda’s first stitch project was:
Sixty five days to 65” to celebrate her 65th birthday. She was going to create an applique, or stitched or embroidered circle every leading up to her birthday, with the last one stitched the day before her next birthday. Her parameters:

  • 3 different sized squares, 9″, 6″, 3″
  • applique or embroidering circles
  • using fabrics and materials already in her stash
  • posting on her blog as she works on them
  • having all her supplies selected at beginning of project
  • assembling squares into a wall hanging at the end
Sixty-five circles quilt for her 65th birthday by Linda McLaughlin 2012
Sixty-five Days to 65 by Linda McLaughlin

Photo Courtesy of Linda McLaughlin

Linda McLaughlin: Weekly Leaf Project 2018

Linda begin her weekly leaf project in January 2014 and has continued to explore this theme. Linda has used leaves in several of her projects. In 2018 she began her stitch meditations with eco printed leaves on silk, attaching these to canvas and added embroidery stitches. She did not know what she would do with them when the project was completed. One thought is to attach them together to make an accordion pleated book.

Linda McLaughlin's weekly leaf embroidery 2018
Week 1
Photo Courtesy of Linda McLaughlin

Linda has multiple projects on the go and is amazed at what she accomplishes even when spending as little as ten minutes a day on a project. Being organized and preparing the fabrics, threads, tools ahead of time are key. Linda has made it portable taking her stitch mediations to Europe, China, Canada and all around the US!

Stitch Resources

  • Website: Linda McLaughlin: Notes from Studio B. Daily stitching
  • Pinterest: 100 Day Stitch Meditations and Stitch Meditation board
  • Blog: Kit Dunsmore’s Blog post: Stitch Meditations: Don’t Box Me In
quilted circles in red on grey and white background made up of 365 squares
365 Days
Photograph Courtesy of Linda McLauglin

I think I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve stuck with it for so long and still love doing it. This will be my seventh year! I’m also a bit surprised about some of the things that have happened because of daily stitching, like being invited to do Quilting Arts TV back in 2013, and also doing some talks for guilds and ladies groups.

Linda McLaughlin
Day three hand stitch meditation with running stitches and French knots by Doris Lovadina Lee
hand dyed cotton, silk fabric, perle cotton, rayon thread

Linda also says not to “expect perfection if you are trying something new, the more you do it the better you get”. So I encourage you to try a new thread, stitch, colour combination and keep practicing – one stitch at a time.

Stitch Meditation – Day 1 and 2

I am so happy to have people express interest in following along on the 100 Day Stitch Meditation. I have already added a few more threads and fabrics to the box :). I look forward to seeing what you are making. Share your stitch meditations on Instagram and Facebook using: #stitchmeditation2019, #100daysofart, #slowstitchmovement or leave me a comment below.

A couple of people who were thinking about participating were having difficulty with the idea of creating just for the sake of creating. They felt they needed a goal to work towards. Two textile artists: Lisa Call and Linda McLaughlin have engaged in daily art projects with parameters around making with end goals. They have participated in daily, weekly and 100 day challenges. Each artist has their own reason for starting and continuing their projects over the years.

stitch meditation day 1 a blue indigo dyed 5 inch square with white running stitches by doris lovadina-lee
Indigo dyed cotton, perle cotton

Lisa Call: 100 Days Project 2016

Lisa Call is a textile artist living in New Zealand. Her website is: Lisa Call Fine Art – Contemporary Textile Paintings. She began her first 100 Days Project shortly after moving to New Zealand from the United States in 2016. Lisa participated in this annual 100 Days Project which culminated in a Pop-Up, so she would set up her studio and begin creating. Her parameters for the project: create textile paintings that would finish at 6×6 inch (15×15 cm) and use monochromatic colours from her hand dyed fabrics.

Lisa Call: 100 Days Project 2017

Lisa continued her 100 Days Project in 2017. This time her parameters were to make textile paintings that finished at 5×5 inches (13×13 cm) and explored mark making on fabric. Her palette was limited to black and white. She also knew that to keep herself motivated to finish this time, she needed to have a goal at the end of the 100 days. So, Lisa contacted the Tutere Gallery and spoke to the owner. The gallery owner, an artist herself, along with Lisa and four other artists committed to the 100 Day Project and to hold an exhibit at the end. The photograph below shows Lisa’s artwork on display in the gallery along with the artwork of textile artist Sara Boland at the Tutere Gallery.

Artwork by Lisa Call and Sara Boland in the Tutere Gallery, New Zealand.
Lisa Call (fabric, paint, thread on canvas) – left
Sara Boland (stitch, fabric, mixed media on paper – right
Photograph Courtesy of Lisa Call.

Lisa Call: 100 Days Project 2018

For her 2018 100 Days Project, Lisa continued her exploration of mark making using pencil, ink and charcoal on paper. Each piece was 5×5 inches (13×13 cm). She also considered finishing the drawings and making them available for sale. At Day 50 of the project, Lisa decided to not worry about selling the sketches and this gave her freedom from the pressure of creating for others. As well as participating in the project, Lisa was leading a group of over 50 artists from around the world in their own 100 Day practice. Each artist set their own parameters around the project and their progress was shared on Facebook. Lisa has written a blog post about her feelings and experience around 100 Day Projects. She found that making one piece of art every day was not realistic for her lifestyle. Lisa changed the parameters around creating in order to make it work for her, she says: “I will complete 100 textile paintings by the end of the 100 days – working on the project every day that I am home, which will be most days.” Now Lisa finds that the project has become a habit, where she consistently sketches, not everyday, but as a part of her art practice.

stitch meditation day 2 a five inch square fuchsia, blue fabric stitched in pink and indigo blue perle cotton embroidery by Doris lovadina-Lee
Snow dyed cottons, hand dyed perle cotton, rayon thread

Purpose for Stitch Meditation

  • create a finished piece to offer for sale
  • create a series of works to display in a gallery, coffee shop, library
  • create a small piece daily that can be combined into a one larger piece at the end of the 100 days, or five pieces smaller pieces, or …
  • create a sampler as a reference for your stitches
  • create small pieces that can be combined with other mediums to create mixed media artwork
  • create to focus on one technique and play with variations
  • create to have a teaching aid of techniques
  • create to explore a new product, such as fabric paint
  • create for the sake of creating something you love

Stitch Resources

In the next post I discuss the daily and weekly projects of Linda McLaughlin.

I hope reading about Lisa’s experiences with her 100 Days Projects will give you some ideas for your project. How are you feeling about the project? Are you enjoying just playing with colours and stitches to create something pleasing? Are you stressing about it being perfect? I encourage you to keep practicing – one stitch at a time.


Stitch Meditation – a journey

2019 will be a year of slowing down and being more productive. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but my hope is that planning, prioritizing and scheduling will keep me motivated in creating artwork and spark some new ideas.

3 samples of stitch meditations by doris lovadina-lee

I have been rushing my projects to meet deadlines and not enjoying the process. So, I decided to begin a 100 day Stitch Meditation Challenge for myself. Twice a week for the year 2019 I will sit quietly and hand stitch.

stitch meditation on a five inch square of hand dyed fabric with various hand stitches created by doris lovadina-lee

In the past few years, I’ve seen creatives embark on their own year long projects and wishfully thought about joining in. Realistically, I didn’t and still don’t feel I have time to work on a creative project daily. I certainly daydreamed about how that would look for me. But, the reality of sitting down to incorporate a daily project into my routine only caused me to become anxious and stressed.

green, black and yellow hand dyed fabric held together with running stitch by doris lovadina-lee

As daily and 100 day projects popped up on social media recently, I decided to see how I could realistically commit to a year long art project. 100 days sounded more doable than daily. Then I calculated that 100 days in a year works out to twice a week. I certainly could fit two sessions of 20-40 minutes into a week!

box of supplies for stitch meditations by doris lovadina-lee

I researched what other creative people did for their daily projects and have listed a few resources below. 100 days of Stitch Meditation is tailored for my life and my schedule. I want this project to work for me. I invite you to create your own year long practice. It can be machine stitching, drawing, painting, singing, whatever makes you happy. I’ve set out an outline of my project and will experiment with what works and what doesn’t, changing and editing as the year progresses.

100 Day Parameters

  • 100 days over the year – therefore twice a week or whatever works for you
  • spend between 20-40 minutes
  • any size – I am choosing 5” square
  • keep a curated collection of supplies in a container so it’s ready to go
  • don’t focus on the outcome, be in the moment of creation
  • experiment with new ideas, supplies, techniques – stitches, thread, and fabric combinations (insert your medium)
  • will share on Instagram with hashtag: #stitchmeditation2019 and #100daysofart2019
hand stitching supplies for stitch meditations by doris lovadina-lee

Stitch Resources

  • Video: Stitch Meditations with Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution
  • Podcast: Liz Kettle explains Daily Stitch Meditations on The Slow Stitching Movement Podcast
  • Essay: Swinnerton, Emma Louise. Mindful Stitch: Generating Dialogue In and Around the Threads of Wellbeing. 2014
  • Blog: Wellesley-Smith, Claire. Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art. London: Batsford, c2015.
  • Website: 1 year of stitches by Hannah Claire Somerville
five inch square of hand dyed fabric with french knots and running stitch by doris lovadina-lee

This is only a brief list of resources available. As my year long stitch meditation journey unfolds, I will be sharing photos and more resources. Are you planning on joining me? I would love to hear from you. Share your favourite photos, websites, and books with me.

3 samples of stitch meditations by doris lovadina-lee

I hope you take time this year to really enjoy the process and to create what makes you happy and feeds your creativity. Let’s being the journey!

Self Portraits

How do we see ourselves? This is one of the questions I needed to answer in order to create a series of self portraits for a photography assignment. There are so many ways to answer the question!

We often define ourselves by our work and our family. There is truth that we see ourself in relation to others. We are multifaceted and depending on the day and the person we are interacting with, who we are changes.

I changed my mind a few times during the process of photographing this assignment and I finally submitted a total of seven photographs, four of which I am posting. 

dyed hand holding blue hand dyed rayon linen scarf by doris lovadina-lee

hands stitching a fuchsia red scarf doris lovadina lee

hands holding coffee cup with moka in background by doris lovadina-lee

hand caressing a young boy's head by doris lovadina-lee

Artist Statement

Creating a self portrait is a daunting task. How much do you reveal of yourself?

Portrait photography is a photograph or series of photos that captures the essence of the subject. Through this series of photographs I am capturing myself as a Maker.

I was told that my hands are ‘golden’, they create beautiful things. Taking ordinary materials, hands transmute them into objects that are greater than the parts. Hands produce, fashion, create, soothe, and comfort. 

The photographs reveal glimpses of how I view myself as a maker. I Placed myself in the same window with the same background and isolated my hands so that the focus was on the various tasks, some that I do routinely. Others are not tasks, but are essential to nourishing my creativity. Light plays an important role in making, as it is vital to see clearly what your hands are creating. Daylight is used to capture and highlight each image, revealing and shadowing the images. 

Finally my hands create what my mind has already conjured.


What would your self portrait look like?

Bricks, stones, facades and patina


facades as inspiration for art by doris lovadina-lee


marble wall inspiration for design by doris lovadina-lee

venetian calle texture on crumbling wallBricks

brick wall in rome italy

brick wall in rome italy photo taken by doris lovaidina-lee

honeycomb wall in roma, italia


texture of stone wall for quilting inspiration

urn and stone wall in italy

These photographs were taken on a trip to Italy a few years ago. I don’t often look back at photos, even though I always think I will do just that. Time gives me an opportunity to view the photos, with a fresh perspective.

Peeling stucco wall in Italy as design inspiration by dorislovadinalee

This of selection photographs from Rome, Venice, and Pompeii have a common theme. They are mostly monochromatic so that the texture is evident. Even the facade of the wall in Venice is various shades of a beautiful terracotta that has faded in places to a soft peach.

How often do you go back to your vacation photos and look at what you decided to record? You might be surprised at what your photographs reveal!


Glimpses of Italy 2017

A few of the photographs I took during my recent trip to Italy, are glimpses of the beautiful landscape. Archways, windows, pillars, stones and trees frame vistas.

Sirmione, Italy – Garda Lake District

Sirmione, Italy
Lake Garda from the Grotto of Catullus, Sirmione, Italy

Sirmione, Italy
View from the battlements of Scaligero Castle, Sirmione, Italy

Sirmione, Italy
View through an olive tree on the grounds of the Grotto of Catullus

Venice, Italy – Rialto Bridge

Venice, Italy
Rialto Bridge through an archway, Venice, Italy

Treviso, Italy – Historic City Centre

The Sile River through an archway in Treviso, italy
The Sile River through an archway in Treviso, italy

Verona, Italy – Giusti Gardens

Verona, Italy
Entrance to the Giusti Gardens, Verona Italy

Verona, Italy
View through the central avenue of trees Giusti Gardens, Verona, Italy

Verona, Italy
View from the belvedere Giusti Gardens, Verona Italy

Verona, Italy
Cypress tree, Giusti Gardens, Verona, Italy

Aga Khan Museum

A friend and I visited the Aga Khan Museum this weekend. A very knowledgeable and enthusiastic docent began our visit with an introduction on the design of the building by architect: Fumihiko Maki. He was given the theme of light as his inspiration. An interior courtyard brings light into the center of the building and provides a lovely outdoor space in warm weather.

Leaf from a Qur'an Manuscript North Africa, 9th-10th centuries ink and gold on blue-dyed vellum
Leaf from a Qur’an Manuscript
North Africa, 9th-10th centuries
ink and gold on blue-dyed vellum

Artifacts that are centuries old have colours, textures and designs that seem modern and timeless.

Oculus Syria, Late 12th-early 13th century Fritware, molded and glazed
Syria, Late 12th-early 13th century
Fritware, molded and glazed

The museum’s collection of pottery, glass, metalwork, and calligraphy is a source of inspiration.

Bottle Probably Iran, 9th-10th centuries Glass, wheel-cut
Probably Iran, 9th-10th centuries
Glass, wheel-cut

The mosaic tiles in the fountain can be translated directly into quilt blocks.

Fountain Syria, 16th century and later Marble and sandstone mosaic
Syria, 16th century and later
Marble and sandstone mosaic

Turquoise, blue, and gold colours found in the pottery, are some of my favourites and I imagine them in a project.

Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements
probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries
Fritware, carved and glazed

Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements – detail

More designs that can be directly translated into quilt blocks. Also Ideas for arranging the blocks in various configurations.

Box Spain 16th century Wood inlaid with bone, wood and mother-of-pearl
Spain 16th century
Wood inlaid with bone, wood and mother-of-pearl

Candlestick Anatolia, Turkey, 14th century' Copper, tin, and zinc alloy, inlaid with silver and gold
Anatolia, Turkey, 14th century’
Copper, tin, and zinc alloy, inlaid with silver and gold

The circular design in the candlestick above reminds me of the New York Beauty block. I can imagine this block on a solid background and heavily quilted with angular lines like in the background above.

Bowl Nishapur, Iran, 10th century Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Nishapur, Iran, 10th century
Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed

Two dishes in the collection look very modern. I loved the simplicity and elegance of the designs. More information for both of these pieces and many others are available on the museum website in the Collection Highlights tab.

Bowl Nishapur, Iran, early 11th century Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Nishapur, Iran, early 11th century
Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed

Flying Carpet, 2007 by Farhad Moshiri b. 1963, lives and works in Tehran and Paris 32 stacked macine-made carpets
Flying Carpet, 2007 by
Farhad Moshiri
b. 1963, lives and works in Tehran and Paris
32 stacked macine-made carpets

Although the Aga Khan Museum features historical cultural artifacts from Islamic civilizations, it also features contemporary artwork. The piece above: Flying Carpet by Farhad Moshiri is a stack of 32 machine-made carpets that has a fighter plane cut out of the centre. The artist, Moshiri, was inspired by a documentary on Afghan carpet weavers. They had been incorporating modern technologies into the design of the carpets – planes, drones and other military armaments.

Flying Carpet, 2007 by Farhad Moshiri b. 1963, lives and works inTehran and Paris 32 stacked macine-made carpets
Flying Carpet – overhead view by Farhad Moshiri

Another special exhibit on display until March 26, 2017 is Syria: A Living History. This exhibit contains historical artifacts and contemporary artwork illustrating the diverse culture and history of Syria. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in this exhibit, so you will have to visit the museum to see the collections in person. The grounds around the museum are also worth visiting – I will need to return in the spring when the weather is a bit warmer!

Look up – Ceilings as Inspiration

We don’t often walk around looking up to see what is above our heads. If we looked up more often we would see some beautiful and inspirational ceilings.

Ceilings as inspiration for:

  • applique
  • shapes
  • blocks
  • block settings
  • quilting designs
  • colour palettes
  • textures
  • layouts

Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario, cupola made with stained glass
Stained glass cupola in Casa Loma

Cupola design of Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal
Cupola in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

painted medallion in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal
Medallion in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

ceiling squares in the Cathedral: Mary, Queen of the World, Montréal
Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, Montréal

detail of wood ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

stencilled and painted wood detail from Notre-Dame de Montréal church ceiling
Wooden ceiling detail in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Stenciled ceiling designs in Notre-Dame de Montréal church
Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Wood ceiling panels hand painted in Notre-Dame de Montréal
Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Notre-Dame de Montréal painted square wood panels
Painted wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

Notre-Dame cathedral in Montréal's diamond shaped woo ceiling
Wooden ceiling in Notre-Dame de Montréal

underneath walkway with metal supports and planks
Wood ceiling

I love the colour and texture of this ceiling. It is the underside of an outdoor warehouse structure in the Port of Old Montreal.

Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain domed ceiling in hallway
Ceiling of Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain

So, look up! You never know when something will spark an idea for your next project.


Vacation inspirations

Many of us have hundreds of photographs taken during our vacations. Digital cameras have made it easy to take and store images. How often do you go back and look at them?

cement tiles in turquoise, brown and white on floor in Mexico
Mayan Riviera tile

Looking through holiday pictures can stimulate creativity. Look closely and see what design ideas are hiding in plain sight.

ceiling trusses of the palapa in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico

Patterns on tiles, floors and ceilings can inspire quilt blocks or quilting designs.

turquoise glaze on a ceramic jar in lobby of hotel in the Mayan Riviera
Mayan Riviera jar

The patina and colours found in pottery and nature can inspire unique colour palettes and applique shapes.

veins of a leaf of a tropical plant in mexico
Mayan Riviera leaf

The texture of bark  can inspire a machine or hand quilting pattern.

bark of a tree trunk in Mexico
Mayan Riviera tree trunk

fossils embedded in walls of hotel in the Mayan Riviera
Mayan Riviera fossils

Look back at your vacation photographs, enjoy reminiscing and then take a closer look at all the designs that inspire your creativity!


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