Life Logging

Life is full of synchronicity.  Having recently written about organising my knitting hobby, and adding a link to the cataloging of one’s library, I spotted this article on logging one’s life in general.

As you will see, it is mainly focused on how we can use technology to monitor various aspects of our lives these days.  However, it also hints at our inherent social and cultural tendencies towards habitually recording our lives in various ways.

Thinking about this from a creative perspective, I am very much drawn to Lea Redmond’s Knit the Sky project.

As she explains in this short video, the idea is that you knit rows on a scarf according the colour of the sky every day for a year, or whatever period you are covering.   I think she is very generous to be sharing this idea so freely.

Another way of recording things is through samplers.  Here is some history provided by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum about the history of samplers.  What beautiful ways of recording the motifs in fashion at the time, as well as those images important to the needleworker.


Still on the subject of embroidery, I found this practice of sewing a hand-made directory of stitches to be so wonderful.  Again, as you can see, there is generosity of spirit in the free sharing of pictures and method.  I can just imagine how satisfying and relaxing doing something like this would be – with the result of producing an exquisite heirloom.

It is not unusual for artists to aim to sketch every day to ‘keep their hand in’.  The concept of a ‘sketch a day’ is fairly widespread.  Here is one example of sketches by an artist whose work I particularly like – Sean Briggs.

One of my favourite authors, Gretchen Rubin, has said “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while” (The Happiness Project).  She also said in Manage Your Day-To-Day “day by day, we build our lives, and day by day, we can take steps toward making real the magnificent creations of our imaginations”.

In the same vein, Søren Kierkegaard said “life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”.

Keeping a log of one’s life, in total or in part, builds a record of what you have achieved.  It also helps you look forward, deciding what to do next.  In some cases, it avoids you having to make any decisions at all because you have built logging habits that become automatic.  And so one’s life goes on.  I guess the trick is to make sure we are logging the things that are important to us, and to avoid getting accidentally drawn into areas we did not really mean to spend time on. 🙂


18 thoughts on “Life Logging

  1. I don’t knit but I love the idea of recording the colour of the sky every day in some way. Or even just lifelogging in such a creative way, whatever the outlet. Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. Liz, I can highly recommend the work of a local artist whom I know and admire. Hilary Kington daily records in all winds and weathers, and sketches and paints the wildlife off our coast here on the Bristol Channel. I think you will appreciate her Salt Marsh Diary. Hilary is due to have a major exhibition at the Slimbridge wildlife and wetlands centre.

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  3. A thoughtful post, Liz. I agree – what we do everyday adds our voice to the whole of human experience. Our creative outflow brings meaning to our lives as well as those who we connect with over the course of our lifetimes. Engagement and participation allows us to live fully and completely. I love your new blog!!

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  4. For the past ten years I have kept a diary and it has been a great satisfaction to me to write a record of some of the things I have done and seen each day. I make a note of the weather and the meals I have cooked and the places I have visited and the people I have seen. Sometimes I record the dullest things! The housework I get through and the shopping I have done. I have recently started to photograph flowers that bloom and walks I have taken and those now appear in my blog. I started the blog to prove to myself that my life is not as dull as I was beginning to think it was. I am fortunate to live in a lovely part of the country, surrounded by nature and I had forgotten to really look and remember.
    I read Amanda Vickery’s book ‘A Gentleman’s Daughter’ a few years ago in which the author used the diaries, letters and account books of a group of women living in Lancashire during the Georgian period to discover the ups and downs of their lives, ‘their struggles and triumphs’ as she puts it in her introduction. I found it fascinating.

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    1. Clare, this all sounds wonderful to me. One of of the things I have learned from my Brené Brown work is the importance of cultivating a daily mindfulness and gratitude practice. By noticing even the apparently small things in our lives – our sense of satisfaction at completing the housework, for example – we generate a joyful life. This can be more enduring than happiness gained from a one-off event. So keep up that journaling and blogging! And thanks for the book recommendation – it sounds v interesting. 😀

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  5. Liz! Bless you. I may not be a life logger but the Knit the Sky project gave me a wonderful idea to amuse my mother. She doesn’t knit now but I have adapted the project to a colouring one for her. And I think the sampler books are beautiful and would be just perfect for my mother to hold and look at. Not sure how I can arrange that for her but I could possibly assemble some fabric books for her. Something to think about anyway. Best of all, I have found my Pinterest account. It has been in limbo for a year!

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    1. Mandy, my heart is bursting with joy at your news! I am delighted that you have gained so much inspiration from this post. Do let me know how your mother is fairing some time please. ❤️✨💕💖

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      1. If she completes the sky chart I will ask my sister to scan it so I can send you a copy. For Christmas I gave her a colouring book about children visiting a museum. Each double page shows an important work of art. The first painting in the book is by John Singleton Copley. I downloaded a large version of the painting for her, edited out the colour and then added colour by number instructions. I also did the same for another Copley painting I found on the internet. I doubt she will remember anything about Copley but colouring in the fabric and details of a masterpiece is very satisfying. 😀

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      2. It would be fabulous to see the work if possible. 😀 And what a brilliant idea of yours – colouring in masterpieces – I bet there would be a commercial market for this! I would certainly buy that sort of colouring book!! I love fabric in art – that’s yet another subject for a future post… 😀😀😀

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