Category: 100 day stitchbook 2023

7 ideas for your 100 day stitchbook (#4 is my favorite)

sewing supplies on my messy work table for day 1 - scraps and cut pages

The 100 day stitch book challenge starts today! Please be sure to read these two pages completely before you start:

1 – Before you do anything else please read this page carefully.

2 – Find the tutorial for how to cut your pages and make the book here. We don’t assemble the book until the pages are done but it’s good to know where we are headed.

And it’s not mandatory but helpful : check out this blog post.


 

That’s it! And you’ve already done the hardest part – showing up. I’m so glad you’re here and I’ve got some tips to help make this daily commitment easy and productive for you.

1. Keep your materials easily accessible. Maybe you don’t have a permanently designated stitching area or table. I like to do my sewing and painting in the same sunny spot so I put all my stitch book supplies on a big tray so it can be whisked away when it’s time to paint. And when it’s time to stitch (usually in the morning) there is no significant obstacle to starting, just grab the tray.

2. Speaking of time to stitch, doing your 15 minutes at the same time each day can have a magical effect. Even if it’s not always possible, doing it most of the time can help get your subconscious on board. For me this benefit kicks in after a few weeks.

3. Invite the universe in. Find inspiration for shapes and marks in your day. Take a walk and see what you can see through the lens of your stitch book project. Invite happenstance, grab a scrap without looking for a place to start or splatter some paint or dye or your page before you stitch and see where that leads you.

4. Have a plan for the bad days. They are inevitable. I have lots of them. Decide ahead of time on a minimally acceptable effort for yourself. And keep a collection of inspiring/favorite scraps in reserve so if you’re stuck or super stretched for time you have an easy win. Trust me, keeping the daily commitment helps create and build momentum. It is much easier to keep going than to start. It’s also helpful to have a simple to-go kit. Last year a lot of my stitching happened while traveling.

5. Get the benefit of community. It’s so helpful. There are lots of ways you can do that. Share your pages on instagram using #annwoodstitchbook , join the stitch club community (lots of day 1 pages are already posted!) or team up with friends for group stitching.

6. There are no mistakes, only information. Having a healthy (and productive) attitude towards mistakes, failures and bad days is key to creative growth. Since I was a kid my process has begun with this direction to myself “start making your mistakes”. Mistakes and missteps are full of information and signposts towards work you end up liking.

7. The blank page can be scary and paralyzing. The idea of starting without any structure can be daunting. So give yourself a little structure but still preserve the spontaneity of the process. For example, decide to use one color – maybe just shades of red. It gives you a refreshed perspective on your stash and a place to start. You can do this with shapes too – what if you were limited to just circles for one page? I promise, circles will begin to present new possibilities to you.

a textile book with a vintage floral page and an applique chandelier

We won’t assemble the book until after the 100 days of stitching but I did want to offer a possibility for an alternative way of finishing the book so you can have it in the back of your mind while you’re making your pages. I taught a stitch book class in France last summer, a sort of travel journal. The edges of the pages are left raw and showing instead of turned in. I’m leaning towards finishing my 100 day book this way. We can talk more about how to do that when it’s time to assemble.

2023 day 1

stitch collage in blue

Good luck with your 100 days of stitching! Are you ready to get started? Let us know in the comments.

onward!

ann


support the stitchbook project

Support the 100 day stitch project and the always growing free pattern and tutorial library! The response to the stitch book project in particular has been astounding and resulted in significant additional server costs (it’s all about gigabytes and bandwidth…)  Thanks so much to everybody who has already made a contribution! This would not be happening without you.

the shimmering space between

materials, fabric and fabric scraps gathered on my worktable

When I began my first 100 day stitch book last year the plan was to be purely abstract. To commit to a “yes and” improvisational process, let go of outcome, be concerned only with making marks with stitches and responding to those marks. Create for the sake of creating.

a collection of very small fabric scraps and colored thread ends in a little ceramic dish

On the first day there was a little pile of fabric scraps and a blank page. The scraps were odd and unintentional shapes – off cuts from other projects.

The vision of pure abstraction dissolved almost immediately, representation crept in, sometimes obviously (to me) and sometimes subtly. There were boats and trees and castles and mushrooms, vessels, and lots more. My first impulse was to work to banish those recognizable images. The problem was they snuck in on their own. I didn’t plan for them. And that really was the improvisational process I had committed to.

day 6 2022

So I let them come. Sometimes they took over and sometimes they shimmered in and out as I worked. The revelation was the images I ended up liking the best, the pages where I felt like I got out of my own way (the whole point of the exercise) shift between abstraction and figure.

2 slow stitched collages in a textile book

Did I make the image or did it just appear?

It’s sort of like looking at clouds. Clouds don’t try to look like anything in particular but it happens all the time, we perceive an image. There is a word for it and everything – pareidolia

“ the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern. “

That was the biggest revelation and lesson of last year’s 100 days. It pointed me towards a place that feels inspiring and creative and challenging, a good place to play. The ambiguity is freeing.

Let’s talk about another word- intuition

“the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.”

The point of this 100 day exercise is to listen to yourself, to learn to feel for and trust your intuition. Really listening, connecting to your intuition and expressing yourself is difficult. Daily practice helps. What might 100 days of showing up and listening reveal about your own work, process, imagination?

The 100 day stitch book begins on January 20th and ends on April 30th. Find the details here.

materials, fabric and fabric scraps gathered on my worktable

I’ll close this post with your warm up assignments :

Checkout the stitch book I made last year- starting at the bottom of the post you can see each page over the five days and you can see the book assembled here.

Gather some materials and put them in a box. Label the box 100 day stitch book 2023. The hard part is over, you already started.

Will you join me for 100 days of stitching? Let us know in the comments and join us in the stitch club community.

textile book tutorial part one – organizing and assembling

*This tutorial is divided into two parts. This is part 1, part 2 is here. Please read both completely before beginning (start here with part 1).

book made form cotton and linen fabric scraps rest on a worn blue table with sewing notions and a pile of scraps

The easiest way to understand how this little textile book is constructed is to watch the video of the last step –  assembling it –  first.   After that we can talk about creating the pages etc.

Don’t see the video? – find it here.

I used this book as a 100 day stitch book project  last year (2022) – my first two pages are above. You can check out the finished 2022 stitch book here. If you are stitching along with me this year stitch your pages before you assemble the book. I’m sharing the assembly tutorial now so you know where we are headed. Plus it’s a really cool way to make a textile book that you could use for all sorts of things.

Learn more about the 2023 stitch book project here 

To create your pages you need 20 rectangles – 7 X 5.5 inches – you can use the page template download below to make them.  Ignore the other marks on the pattern for now – just cut the rectangles. I’m using cotton and linen for the pages

Stitch whatever you like on your rectangles, embroidery, collage, mess around, try stuff, meander. Leave about 1/2 inch margin all around the edge to make book assembly easy.

To make the book  you will need these  templates:

download the page template here

download the page chart here

how to assemble the book

Before assembling the book finish stitching on each of your 20 rectangles however you like – (I’m using plain fabric rectangles for the demonstration book today).

Clearly mark the  – right side –  of each of the 20 finished pages with its number using masking tape and a sharpie marker.

The book has 20 pages, including cover and back. There are five sections – each composed of 4 rectangles/pages.

3 sections have slots.

and 2 sections have tabs.

Use the page chart to layout the sections.  For example The first section (a slot section) would look like this.

Use pages 6 and 1 for the front and 2 and 5 for the back of section one.  We are looking at the right sides of the fabric.

And here it is assembled – front and back – page 5 is on the back of page 6 and page 2 is behind one. Use the chart and it all works out.

Below is section 2 – a tab section.

Lay out your 20 numbered pages in 5 sections following the chart and then use the instructions here to sew the slot and tab sections.

With all your sections sewn assemble the book.

assembling the book

Get set up by laying out out your pages just like the left hand column of the chart. Then follow along with the video at the top of this post.

PS – the designer of the slot tab method of binding books is Michael Budiansky – checkout the handmade books blog for more– it’s a cool site.

textile book tutorial part two – making the sections

*  The tutorial is divided into 2 parts. Please read both parts entirely before beginning. Seriously, it helps. Start here.

The book has 20 pages, including cover and back. There are five sections – each composed of 4 rectangles/pages.

3 sections have slots.

and 2 sections have tabs.

This tutorial demonstrates how to construct the two kinds of sections in the book – slot and tab. Before you begin to sew the sections please read this post on how to create and organize the pages.

You will need:

  • your 20 pages/rectangles
  • chopstick or similar
  • a basic sewing kit
  • embroidery thread

make a slot section

1. To make a slot page take two rectangles and lay them out with the right sides facing you.

2. Place one over the other – right sides together.

3. Draw a half inch margin down the right hand side of the top piece.

4. Clip the short lines on your page pattern. Fold the center section back.

5. Place it over the rectangles and mark the short horizontal lines.

6. Sew the half inch seam above and below those marks.

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