Half Chevron Stitch, TAST Challenge, and the Meditation Continues

I looked many places to find tutorials on the Half Chevron Stitch.  It is not a well documented stitch.  If anyone has any info on how this stitch was developed I would love to know about it.

I did, however, see numerous blog posts about the half chevron.  Most were in reference to the TAST challenges.  Interesting.

My approach to this stitch was to consider additional “notions of attachment.”  One person has commented on my play on words.  I’m not sure others understand the intended stitching pun!  I’m sure all stitchers understand sewing notions and things we use for attaching to fabric.  But I was also alluding to notions meaning ideas and the attachments I meant were the attachments that impede spiritual progress in Buddhism where attachments are considered the root of all suffering in life.

image of shakyamuni buddha

Buddha

For years, indeed decades, stitching has been a meditation for me.  It began when the only stitching I did was counted cross stitch.  I came to see that each stitch was the equivalent of one breath.  One half the cross is a breath in.  Completing the cross is the exhalation.  Maneuvering the thread and positioning of the hand and work is the space between breaths.  And in this way, each embroidered piece is ALIVE!  Then when you give that piece away, you are giving a very real part of your essence.

Part of traveling a Buddhist path is to look carefully for any impediments along the way to reducing suffering in the world and ultimately reaching a state of enlightenment.  There are so many ways of accomplishing this.  One of the things that is a chronic problem for me on the path is attachments, things that keep me stuck in one place, things that make me feel too strongly in one direction.  I have been successful to a large extent in giving up my emotional attachments to “things.”  For example, when the box holding my bone china collection fell in the storage unit last summer, Jeff apologized for a week as he had heard the tinkle of breakage when he grabbed the box.  I had a moment of profound sadness.  But only a moment.  I felt the feeling and then it was over.  Jeff was more upset than I was.  This summer we will open that box and toss out what is pointless to hang on to as we continue to downsize.  It will be work.  It will be a job.  That’s all.  No drama.

When traveling North and I thought that we were going to lose our truck and our lifestyle.  I was devastated.  Primarily thinking about the possibility of moving into a situation that would not allow me to keep my dogs.  I am INCREDIBLY attached to my dogs.  It is an extreme emotional response.  This is an Attachment that stands between me a living a life of Nonattachment according to Buddhist principles.  It is something I struggle with every day.

Safety Pins Attached via Half Chevron Stitch

Pinned: The attachment of addictions might look like this

Hence my TAST 2012 Attachment Quilt block that I have named Pinned, like pinned to the wall, pinned down. I began with the notion (and the idea).  Would it be snaps or pins?  With the half chevron stitch I decided safety pins would be the better choice.  After all the chevrons are spikey like the pins.  I tossed the pins and let them sit where they landed on my sketch pad within the six-inch square.  I traced the heads of the pins to capture the orientation.

Sketch for Half Chevron Stitch Safety Pin Attachment Block

Outline of how safety pins fell into place

Following the diagram, I attached the safety pins to the six-inch square of Aida cloth (14 count.)

Half Chevron Stitch Safety Pins Attached

Half Chevron Stitch Safety Pins Attached

Okay, now what?!  Color.  I decided to go with some approximation of primary colors since the attachments I have been meditating on are very basic, primal if you will.  Each of the three colors would follow a different path and end up where it began, the danger of all unexamined attachments.  See how messy it can get!  And those half chevrons, they look so prickly.

Safety Pins Attached via Half Chevron Stitch

Closer view of Pinned

Does any of this make sense to you?  Does it resonate with your connection to stitching?  Does stitching help you think or problem solve?  Or pray?

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7 thoughts on “Half Chevron Stitch, TAST Challenge, and the Meditation Continues

  1. This is a very interesting post. I too find stitching a form of meditation. And I appreciate your honesty in noting your attachments. It is the hardest part of following a Buddhist path – your experience re the bone china is very motivating.
    Never come across the half chevron stitch, but love your sample!

    • Thank you! Every time I think I’ve developed a healthier love for my dogs, one of them gets sick and I see how far I have yet to go. But I also see how much progress I’m making! Just have to stitch more!

  2. this is a really interesting blog. can i make a comment on the idea of attachment ? i’m not sure if all attachment is wrong. in the christian circles where i have mixed we’ve tried to discern between healthy and unhealthy attachment. healthy and unhealthy soul ties. if we cut off all soul ties we then lack the useful ones that act as scaffolding to help us live constructively. no hanging on to things for the sake of having for example. is it better gathering dust in my house just in case ? maybe it is, i might need it, maybe it’s presence brings me pleasure. or maybe it is better going to someone else who could use it or even going to be recycled. it’s not having that is wrong but grabbing. like with our dogs. one day they will die and we will cry. the value of being attached to them is if it is part of our healthy growth and development, meaning that we will take care of them and appreciate them. i think attachment means MINDING. there are some things where it’s really important that i mind. there are other things it is just so a waste of brain space to really mind. when minding makes me take care of things and people it is a healthy phenomenon. I’m attached to my daughters, i mind about them so i take care of them. but i mustn’t be so attached i cant let them have privacy. the other part of healthy minding/attachment is degree – if i get hysterical if the dogs get sick it is probably a sign that i had an unhealthy degree of attachment 🙂 like with the bone china – you had sufficient attachment so that you took care of your porcelain and didn’t just use it inappropriately and just break it straight away, but you had sufficient emotional detachment so that the sadness at it’s loss hasn’t left you traumatised.

    i think that like so many things attachment needs to be our servant not our master.

    i love being able to use the stitching to be able to have a brain break from the daily things that i have to think about and i can focus my thinking around it. it’s useful as “brakes” for the hurtling mind :-))

    • I understand what your point is and appreciate you posting it. From the Buddhist perspective, there is no “good” or “bad” attachment or feelings. The principle of nonattachment is hard to understand unless you also understand the principle of loving kindness. Loving kindness is the act of wishing all beings be free from suffering, your “enemies” and your “loved ones” equally. In Buddhism one follows the “MIddle Way,” extremes whether we judge them positive or negative keep us off balance. It is easy to fall whenever we loose our balance! And we may even pull others over as we fall!

      I think a lot of differences between philosophies are based in language We all want to be happy and free from suffering. An no one wants to see others suffer, regardless of their “sins.”

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