In this fast paced world, there is much pressure to accomplish and to produce as much as possible, as quickly as you can. Quilting has followed this trend, with lots of quick and easy patterns that you can whip up in a day, and long arm quilting to finish up your quilt the next day. This is great for gift giving and instant gratification, but for me, it's sometimes just not satisfying.
Don't get me wrong, I occasionally enjoy a quick project and adore finishing quilts. And if you follow my blog, you already know that I just love machine quilting. I have sooo many quilts in my head, and in production, that if I don't machine quilt and finish some things quickly, I might combust!
However, for a "long time quilter" (aka..."OLD gal") like me, it's kind of like eating fast food, when sometimes you just really crave/need a delicious, nutritious, home cooked meal.
I have been reading a lot this year about the "slow movement" (click here to read about it) and downshifting.
I love this quote from Guttorm Fløistad:
"The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal."
And so, I find myself increasingly drawn to hand work of any kind - beading, binding, piecing, quilting, and embroidery. I cannot adequately verbalize how relaxing it is, or how I have experienced that it changes me on a cellular level.
Here are my tips for slow quilting:
*always have a basket or bag prepared, with all the equipment and supplies needed for your project, that you can easily grab when you have to go to medical appointments, kids' sports games/practices, guild meetings, vacations, etc.
*when you get together with friends, bring along your stitching. These are the embroidery projects that my friend Pat and I are currently working on when we visit.
*never watch TV without something to stitch. I rarely watch TV these days, but when I do, it's only to spend time with my kids when they are watching something.
This was the beaded piece I made during the winter olympics in 2006. Right now I am preparing a piece of hand painted fabric that I can bead while I watch the summer olympics with my son.
*chose a portable project that is manageable for picking up and stitching in small chunks of time. You will probably not feel like stitching on a large bed sized quilt, especially if the weather is hot. But hand embroidery or hand piecing is a perfect takealong project.
*practice your breathing while you focus on enjoying the process of stitching/quilting. Be present in this moment in your life. Remind yourself that stitching can be healing, and just try to soak up the creative juices (including endorphins) that it provides. Not convinced yet? Read this article by Lesley Riley.
*remember that every stitching minute adds up over the years and before you know it, you'll have a finished quilt!