Needlework as Meditation

by Gail Sirna
Originally Published Summer 2002

A Teachers’ Certification candidate (Anita McIntyre to be specific) wrote that she likes “the almost meditative quality of stitching.” I am so grateful she put into words what I have been thinking for years. Periodically people (usually relatives) will suggest meditation for me to cope with what seems like (to them anyway) the very stressful pace at which I lead my life. Gee, that’s just what I need: another time consuming activity to fit into my already frenetic schedule. Years ago I realized that the repetitive nature of stitching is a form of meditation; it calms the mind and quiets the soul. It gives one time to work through problems and to think about solutions. And when one is fished she has something to show for it!

Literally hundreds of times I have had students claim that “needlework is my therapy!” Obviously others, too, find curative value in this beloved activity. Perhaps this is why women of all ages have willingly plied the needle, not only to produce something useful or beautiful, but to add some tranquility to their lives.