It’s seems like so many of my blogger friends are feeling the way I am – off-kilter, unlike ourselves, and generally unsettled. But Juliann asked a wonderful question this morning: What brings you energy? And my answer (right now, anyway) is: needle and thread. I’ve been staying up a little too late every night thanks to my stitching projects and waking up easily each morning knowing that I have a project waiting for me.

I know the “w” in wife has a mistake – I’ll fudge it to make stand out a little less 🙂

A lot of us are finding comfort with needle and thread and stitching away. Isn’t it amazing how soothing it can be? I’ve only picked up my A Plump Wife project once or twice this week, but I’m heartened by how much more natural the act of stitching in hand has become.

Do you stitch in hand? Or in a hoop or Q-Snap? I only learned about stitching in hand about a year ago and it has revolutionized cross stitching for me. My threads would always knot and pull out of the needles when I tried stitching with hoops or q-snaps and it was endlessly frustrating. Stitching in hand has become a meditative and quiet process that has served me well over the last couple of weeks.

I’ve spent my evenings with either knitting or a cross stitch projects and watching FlossTube videos by some of my favorite stitchers. Two of my favorites are Lori Holt and Crosshatch Quilts. They both live in Utah, which I have a secret obsession with. So I sit on the couch, stitching, and imagining what life would have been like as a pioneer traveling west in a covered wagon (as problematic as that time was). I think of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her older sister, Mary, stitching through the long and cold winters on the prairie. And I think about how lucky we are right now – to have inspiration and tools easily at hand.

And I’m making some progress on my Flower A Day project. Like I said last week, I don’t actually finish a flower every day as the project is intended, but that’s okay. This project has taken the place of my morning journaling. I set a timer for 10 minutes and work until the timer goes off, but usually keep stitching for a few more minutes because it’s hard to stop. I try to set myself up for success everyday by preparing the next morning’s first stitch. I make sure the needle is threaded and the first leg of the first stitch has been made and the second leg is set up so that I can just pull the needle through as soon as I sit down. It’s a great gift to myself each morning!

I’ve been knitting, of course. I finished my DRK Everyday Socks (Rav link) that I knit with Sarah’s handspun yarn. Friends, the yarn is delectable – she does such a great job! I’m worried that I’m going to wear a hole in these socks as soon as it gets cool, but I think I have enough yarn leftover for another pair.

I’m enjoying a couple of rows a day on my Veranda Shade Shawl (Rav link) – knit up with ontheround Nimble Sock in Bayberry and Sugar Cookie. This is a sweet project with very easy lace panels – perfect for the moments when you can spare some attention, but not too much. You know what I mean.

And finally, I’ve made it through the third yoke increase on my Shifty (Rav link), which I’m knitting with Sarah and Mary. This is such a fun and engaging knit, but it requires a good bit of my attention so I only bring it out after the two youngest have gone to bed for the evening. It’s knit in fingering weight yarn and there are already 400 stitches on the needle (I’m knitting size 4), with more increases to go! This is going to take a while so it’s a good thing I’m embracing the slow lately.


I’m not sure what this weekend will bring for me – I never do! But I hope the weekend is full of exactly what you need. Take good care and stay safe!

17 thoughts

  1. I’m a beginner at sewing and have been surprised to find how peaceful it is to even be working on something simple. I like the idea of using a timer and preparing the next morning’s first stitch. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Awesome post Katie and such lovely stitching and knitting. Thank you so much for sharing the link for stitching in hand, that’s a great tip and technique and not near as cumbersome as using hoops. I plan to start a stitching project this weekend and will be trying this. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. I totally agree! Sometimes I feel awful about reading a lot and not doing any sort of stitching, but then the tide turns and my attentions focuses on stitching and away from reading. I think this is just what balance looks like for me.

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  3. I didn’t know you had a secret obsession with Utah! Having lived here almost all of my life, I probably take its beauty for granted, but I do love living by the mountains, especially as they’re one of the main ways I have any sense of direction!

    I think it’s been a weird year/season for pretty much everybody. I think we were all just hopeful that the pandemic craziness would be over with, and now things seem just as confusing/divisive as ever. I’m glad you have hobbies you love though — it really does make a difference to have those pockets of joy and peace to look forward to every day.

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  4. That very loud boom sound you just heard? It is the sound of my mind being blown over stitch in hand. How did I not know about this? Oh my gosh. I need to find all the videos on this and learn this new technique NOW! Thank you so much or sharing!

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  5. I am not a fan of hoops unless completely necessary. I have found that hand stitching has helped in the last month and I have just got back to knitting. Slow stitching is so good. Do try the you tube videos for Anne Brookes. I love seeing all your progress and those socks are wonderful, such pretty yarn.

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    1. Thank you for pointing me toward Anne Brookes – I’m going to add her to my YouTube subscriptions. I totally agree – slow stitching is so good! Take care, Cathy!!

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  6. Katie, I have so much to be excited about in this post! First, I never knew that there was a thing called “stitching in hand,” but that’s always how I’ve done my embroidery (I’ve mainly stitched on linen, so it seemed natural to me because the fabric is soft). And your socks! It makes me so happy to see that yarn knit up. Also, for someone who worried she’d be the last one to finish her Shifty, you seem to be the one who’s actually furthest along! I haven’t touched mine in probably more than a week, but I’ll get back to it after I finish my latest hat (I’m ready to start the crown decreases, so it shouldn’t take long).

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  7. Ok, Katie, we are on the same wavelength. I have just picked up cross stitch again this weekend myself! I think for me it was driven by lots of watching of historical dress YouTube! I will have to try stitching in hand, I like the tension of hoops but I’m finding the excess fabric a bit annoying.

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    1. Yay for another cross stitcher! Doesn’t it just feel RIGHT to be cross stitching right now??! It must be fascinating to watch those historical dress videos – how fun! I found another FlossTuber that I’m really enjoying – her channel is called Hands Across the Sea. She owns a company that reproduces antique samplers. It’s full of history and so interesting!

      I hope you enjoy stitching in hand. There is still the issue of having excess fabric, but supposedly you can roll it up and clip it back if you need to. Both of my current projects are being doing on aida, and it’s a little stiffer than linen so that’s hard to do!

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  8. I’ve been spending a lot more time with my nose in a book these days … it’s not giving me energy, but it is taking my mind off things for a little bit. LOVE seeing your cross-stitch energy AND the knitting (I’m still at least a week away from swatching my shifty pullover) and hoping maybe some of it will rub off on me!

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    1. We all need a little distraction from time to time! I’m glad you have something that works so well for you. I’m trying to be better at doing what feels right in the moment, rather than what I think I’m SUPPOSED to be doing.

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