Sew, how are you?

Clare Hunter has researched a book (Sunday Times Bestseller and serialised on Radio 4 as Book of the Week) “Threads of the World Through the Eye of A Needle” and written a fascinating article in the Guardian newspaper – on how sewing can help with calming and coping with difficult life conditions, such as being in prison, bereavement, and response to trauma.  Find it here.

This is the healing power of sewing: a way to express, sometimes exorcise, pain using a tactile language scripted by a needle and thread.

In her writing, Clare is drawing on 30 years in textiles, and especially on working as a community artist, helping people tell their personal life story in stitches.

On her website Clare explains why she wrote the book:

“I have written a book called Threads of ​Life to explore
the power of sewing and why so many of its stories
have been forgotten, so much of its history overlooked.

What’s actually going on during sewing?

  • absorbing attention
  • the rhythm flow of movement
  • time to process thoughts
  • focus on one thing
  • solitude
  • freedom from multi-tasking
  • visible progress
  • creatively satisfying
  • self-expression

More on this theme

Try this post featuring Brenda Miller, in a video on this blog.

Further reading/hearing

Threads of Life: a History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £20.

There is an audiobook, read by Siobhan Redmond.  (The book itself does not feature illustrations).

Hear Clare interviewed on textile podcast “Stitchery Stories” Episode 58 here.

And also interviewed at Fiber


Try @sewcialists blog to engage with others incorporating sewing into rehabilitation.



    • Thank you – that affirmation really counts, coming from a quilter. By the way, some people have been disappointed that there aren’t illustrations in her book – but then realise that the point of the book is stories around what is made. So do bear that in mind. (I know I would have automatically expected plenty of photos of stitching projects.) Happy hunting and making!

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