10 Reasons to Start Stitching in the New Year

health slow living stitching Jan 01, 2024
Brown text reads

'Tis the season for reflecting on the year behind us and setting goals for the year ahead. We've all heard many of the popular resolutions: improving our health, getting more organized, saving more money... And these are all great resolutions! One goal for the year that you may not have considered, but that I think you should, is picking up sashiko or another form of slow stitching. Let me tell you why!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of any kind. These benefits are things I've found for myself, that have been communicated to me by my students, or that I have found through research. None of the below should be taken as medical advice.


1. Stitching reduces stress.

It's true! Stitching is considered a form of active meditation - sort of like walking meditation, but instead of your feet moving, it's your fingers. We can tune into the repetitive motions, tactility, and even the sounds of the stitching process, grounding us in the present moment. It also keeps us away from our phones for a little while, and it's amazing how much calmer we can feel when we aren't responding to every buzz and beep that comes through.


2. Improve your focus.

When we're stitching by hand, it's important to concentrate on where you're placing your stitches so that everything comes out looking right. Even if we just stitch in short bursts, we are practicing this focus every time we do it, and that practice adds up over time! 

As well, this article from Harvard indicates that mindfulness meditation can help improve focus, too - so stitching by hand is a two-for-one when it comes to bettering your concentration!


3. Build your self-esteem.

Everybody starts somewhere, and nobody is perfect when they just start out. The good news is, that means there is room for improvement from where you started, and when you get going, you'll learn so much you can't help but get better! Seeing yourself getting better at something is a big confidence builder. Plus, it's always pretty special to learn that you can make something beautiful and useful with your hands, and before long, you'll be seeking out more complicated patterns.


4. Creativity inspires creativity.

I've heard people say 'they wish they were creative'. The thing about creativity is that it's kind of like a muscle - it might not be very strong starting out, but you can build it with practice. Stitching is a great place to start, because you can start really small. Putting a patch on your jeans could lead to trying out sashiko, which might lead you to find other creative passions like hand quilting. The important thing is just to start.


5. Improve your problem-solving skills.

Few things in life go exactly as planned, and stitching is no exception. You might find yourself unable to find a material for your project, technology can malfunction, or you may just make a mistake - it happens to everyone! When we get creative and find ways to work around these setbacks, we are improving our problem-solving skills in a low-stakes setting, so that they are sharp when we really need them.


6. Refine your hand-eye coordination.

Sewing, by hand or by machine, requires a certain degree of spatial awareness. We need to cut out fabric reasonably accurately, along straight and curved lines. With hand stitching, we also have to be careful about where we are placing our stitches to make sure that everything is secure and looks nice. Our hands have to work with each other and with our eyes to move the needle and thread through the fabric. The more we practice this, the better we get.


7. Boost your immune system.

Did you know that being happiness is a contributing factor to your health?[1Knowing this, it's not surprising that stitching can help boost your immune system - between being calmer, improving our skills, and building our self-confidence, stitching can really act as a mood enhancer. This means that if we stitch regularly, we may become happier over time - leading us to be healthier, too.


8. Keep your mind sharp.

One of the ways that we can work to prevent dementia and diseases that affect memory and thinking is by challenging you brain - and one way to do that is by stitching. By exercising our focus, dexterity, and even math and problem-solving skills, we are helping our minds stay sharp. Plus, when we are stitching, we are regularly learning new things.


9. Manage pain.

This is one that I've heard from several of my students who deal with chronic pain. As you've read above, stitching by hand is in exercise in mindfulness, and requires a certain degree of focus and concentration. I've had students tell me that once they get focused on the stitching, their pain fades into the background. 

It's also been suggested that taking up handwork like stitching or knitting can help keep arthritis from worsening by keeping the joints lubricated and well-hydrated. [2]


10. Feel better.

With all of the mental and physical health benefits of stitching, you are bound to feel better once you start. You may find yourself feeling more energetic and in a better mood when you make stitching a regular habit. In fact, I even find it helps me sleep better! Plus, I find I feel much better when I've done a bit of stitching with my spare time rather than sitting and scrolling.

Stitching by hand really does have so many benefits, and it brings me so much joy that I just want to share it with everyone I can! If you're interested in getting started, but aren't quite sure how, I have a free guide that will walk you through everything I wish I knew when I started stitching sashiko. You can get it here - and if you have any questions about getting started with stitching, feel free to drop them in the comments.

[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/happiness-and-health
2] https://www.sosbones.com/news/needling-concerns-about-arthritis/ 

Hi, I'm Kate!

I am a strong believer in starting where you are and using what you have, wherever and whatever that may be.

Everyone should get to experience the joy of connecting to others through learning, experimenting, and creating.

Creativity doesn’t have to be expensive or wasteful. Whether we’re using natural materials, reusing materials, or shopping our own stashes first, creating mindfully goes beyond being present in the moment - it extends to being mindful of our environment and the other communities around us, too.