one simple act at a time

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.

When I am quilting, I am bathed in the grace of one simple act at a time.