My Tivaevae

Blocks of time for better stitches

When you’ve been sewing for hours and can’t see straight anymore you gotta get close to your stitches. 😂 I’m kidding of course – I didn’t really sew like this.

A couple weekends ago I had the opportunity to hop on stage and share a little about the history of tivaevae/tifaifai at Heiva San Diego. Afterwards I spent the rest of the day in the village area demonstrating the twist stitch I learned last fall from Mama Mii Tupangaia. Which is to say, I spent the day practicing my stitching which is still quite messy.

I’ve been working on my quilt off and on for the last 11 months. The improvement of my stitching has been minimal and that has been frustrating me. However, doing the demo at Heiva proved to be the tipping point. Instead of working on the tivaevae for 15-30 minutes every month or so, I worked on it regularly over a period of 5 hours. By the end there my stitches were noticeably better. Finally!

Lesson learned: when you’ve hit a plateau in your sewing, set aside a few hours to break through and get better.

Melodie is the director and producer of Spirit of Tivaevae. Born in New Zealand to a Cook Islander father and American mother, Melodie was raised in the United States. Her family background gives her a unique perspective on being a Pacific Islander raised outside the culture.