The underneath of embroidered and crochet Mandalas

The organised mess of the underside of Mandala pieces

For me sewing in the ends whether it be embroidery, crochet or knit is always an unwanted part of the crafting process. There are so many pieces around my house that if are not for a commission or a gift have the ends still hanging loose and I honestly don't intend to ever sew them in! I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels this way about sewing in the ends. Part of the enjoyment of crafting is the finished piece, but I wonder, does finished mean sewing in the ends. Surely as practitioners we can make up our own rules, or am I just being lazy! However something changed this week. 

With these three Mandala pieces I felt encouraged to sew in the ends. I'm going to try and make sense on that today, because it's really out of character for me! These pieces aren't to be gifted to anybody so why did I feel like doing it at all? Using the structure of the mandala itself could be one of the reasons. Each round on a mandala is often different, but influences the proceeding round. I changed colour a lot, therefore had a lot of ends to tidy up. Did that influence me, completing each round as I went? Without the Mandala structure perhaps the loose ends wouldn't have become so clear as the beginning and the end of each round. Often there isn't this structure and all the ends get sewn in at the very end (or not!). I think on a more practical level, there was a more obvious way to sew in these ends whereas in some projects I think where do I put them so that it is tidy-ish.

Moving on to the appearance of these pieces from the back. I find it very interesting, especially with the embroidery piece, how the structure of the mandala is very clear but the stitches are very different to the front of the piece. The repetition is still there and the size of each round is still known but the pattern is different but mirrors the choices of freedom vs accuracy of the front of the piece. Embroidering a mandala without guides means you work by eye so measurements are not perfect, however adding the mix of the sewn in ends distracts from the lack of accuracy and enhances the liberty of the process.

The organised mess or untidiness of the underneath is directly affected by our choices but it's almost the opposite of being mindful. We didn't make these choices knowingly nor did we think ahead to what the back would look like (unless that's what you were intending). I think it can be interesting to look at this as an exercise to highlight decision making anxiety. We can see our right side choices, the placement of stitch, the organisation of it all, but we cannot see the underneath, yet I can say here it turned out looking just as good and interesting. There is no right side and wrong side, only right side and the other side.

I felt like this recently with decision making, you never know if it's the right path to take or not. We cannot see the future and I need to tell myself not to worry about it, (be mindful to the present moment) but things do work out. It might seem like a mess, but there's always a way to be clearly organised.


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