Guest Blog: Mindful Stitching by Mary Broddle Embroidery

Embroidery. What do you think of when you hear that word? Tapestries of kittens? Tray cloths with crinoline ladies sewn on them? If so then you may have missed that needlecraft is en vogue and it was before embroidery had an appearance in Bridgerton. Look at Tom Daley and his knitting getting so much coverage at the Olympics.

In this pandemic afflicted world we have all had a moment to pause and take stock. Many of us would rush around our lives cramming in as much as possible: work, family commitments, social engagements, etc. Our minds left buzzing to such an extent that we find it hard to relax at the end of the day. I know that most of my friends reach for a glass of wine/beer/g&t to help unwind in the evening and we all know that daily alcohol intake isn’t recommended.

Embroidery is the answer. And better for body and soul. The mindful action of pulling thread through fabric helps calm the thoughts and lets you relax. The bonus being you have created something beautiful. You don’t need a dedicated craft space, a seat on the sofa with good lighting is all that is necessary.

Studies have shown that partaking in crafts aids wellbeing; from reducing cortisol levels in the blood, to engaging the reward centre in the brain and giving one the space to contemplate one’s thoughts without being overwhelmed. Learning new skills boosts self esteem and creates new neural pathways, thus helping brain health. With embroidery there is always more to learn, so participants can start on a continual journey. Not only does embroidery help one relax, it can help one feel productive during down time too. I know this because that is my lived experience!

I had a successful 20 year career in Rail Engineering. But my worsening health meant I reached a point where I had to accept I couldn’t keep going as I was and I left my job. Whilst working out what to do next, the pandemic hit. Life has changed for everyone, but perhaps less for me. I’ve been in ‘lockdown’ before, unable to leave the house for weeks on end. Everyone is now living my normal!

Embroidery has helped me cope with chronic illness and increasing disability, being housebound and changing circumstances beyond my control. That is why I am passionate about sharing the skill of embroidery and its benefits with as many people as possible.

I’ve come across a lot of people who are nervous to try embroidery, worried that they won’t be able to do it well enough. That doesn’t matter! We don’t have to be perfect in all our endeavours. Just try, and learn as you go. That’s what I did and am still doing. Inspired by traditional Japanese and Indian techniques, my Mindful Stitching concept is about the process of hand embroidery rather than an overall design.  Letting your needle and thread move through the fabric without overthinking its path.

You can even do it in-front of the telly in the evening. The calming effect this has is a form of mindfulness, aiding relaxation and reducing stress. In fact it helps to nourish the skin you are in!

I have also been teaching children over Zoom in recent months. I have really enjoyed watching their perseverance at trying something new and their pride in what they have made. A lesson for us all!

If you are interested in giving it a go take a look at the Mindful Stitching kits available on my website www.marybroddle.embroidery,com/shop

I also have new summer themed children's kits available too, which come with links to comprehensive instructions videos. After all everyone loves an ice lolly. Why not make one that doesn’t melt? How FABulous.

If you are curious about how to start your embroidery journey, then feel free to drop me line. Here's my Instagram link too. i look forward to hearing from you.

Mary x