While reading a favorite blog today, she reminded me of the simple act of being hands on. Her dishwasher broke a few months ago and just today, got a brand new one. She thought she would hate doing dishes by hand, yet somehow she found the joy in it.
She gently reminded me why I like to hand quilt. There is indeed something soothing and comforting about hand quilting. After a few minutes, the stitches become so repetitive that it almost becomes meditative or contemplative. When I first started quilting our boys were young. While I watched them at the playground, I quilted. While I sat with them during homework time, I quilted. I belonged to a couple quilt guilds and one group, Monday Night Quilters. We would all meet every Monday for a couple of hours and of course bring our hand work. Sometimes, I was so busy being a mom, I would bring the same wall hanging week after week and hand quilt for a couple of hours while talking and listening about quilting. Then I wouldn’t see it again until next Monday night. It was calming and therapeutic that is for sure. It was my time.
I continued to quilt for years and years. Sometimes belonging to groups or guilds sometimes not finding my niche. Right now in my life is one of those times, where I don’t feel like I fit in. Years ago, I did not know one person who machine quilted. Nor did I know one person who had ever had a quilt top machine quilted. Once for a “challenge” project, we were each given a piece of fabric then the rules said to challenge yourself and do something you had never done before. I made a quilted jacket using that piece of fabric. My challenge was that I machine quilted the fabric before I cut it up into jacket pieces. Oh my. I was quite the rebel. I was the young gal, wild with crazy “new fangled” ideas.
Fast forward twenty-five years…………………………………….. I don’t meet with one person on a regular basis that hand quilts. Not one quilt shop I frequent encourages hand quilting. It is “so old-fashioned”. I feel like I am fluttering somewhere in the middle. Yes, I have had three, going on four quilts machine quilted. They are lovely. They are finished. They are in use or hanging up finished. I say that because sometimes with hand quilting, it takes a while to complete some projects. I still love to hand quilt.
Multitasking is a word I love and I love it with passion. I love it when I am vacuuming and have the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher all going at once. Then to top it off with a bright red cherry with a green stem, I love to have an art project drying on the counter while all that is going on. Sweet bliss! I like to fold laundry while talking on the phone. I like to cross stitch and embroider while listening to television. However, there is something keen about doing just one thing at a time.
When I am hand quilting, my hands are busy and I can’t do another project at the same time. I have to be in the moment and give 100% to this one-act. Maybe I’m finding a piece of my authentic self in this simple, age-old act. I am glad for the realization.
Not many people reading this will find a kinship in my strange love of hand quilting – maybe we can agree, simply that anything that reminds us to slow down and find the present moment is a powerfully wonderful thing.