Sunday, May 29, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching - Muscle Memory

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching!
This week I have been thinking about "muscle memory". Wikipedia describes it as "a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition". It refers to those things you can still remember to do, even though you might not have done them for a long time... like riding a bicycle. 
Max is the hand quilting supervisor
My first experience with muscle memory happened when playing the piano again after a long time of not playing. Amazingly I still knew how to play the piano, and could easily play songs from many years ago with little effort. It was like my fingers remembered the songs, even though my conscious brain did not.
Machine quilting teachers talk about "building up muscle memory" by doodling designs on paper prior to sewing them on the machine and I have experienced this before. But this week was my first experience with hand stitching muscle memory.
Rest and renewal
I haven't done much hand quilting lately since I've been smitten by my Life is Beautiful project. But my poor granddog Max had some major surgery this past week and I have been chief doggy nurse. I needed a project to work on while encouraging him to cuddle up and be still so he could recover. And he loves quilts! Do you remember the quilt eating incident?
As soon as I picked up my hand quilting project (which is my oldest UFO) it was like my hands remembered exactly what they were supposed to do and without any conscious effort, just went to work putting in the stitches. That's muscle memory. It was so effortless, easy and relaxing.
Quilts are for cuddling
And Max's muscles remembered what they were supposed to do too, and he cuddled right up to the quilt in progress! 
I hand quilted while he rested. I got a lot done this week until the temperature skyrocketed and became too hot to have the quilt on my lap. Max is feeling quite a bit better and the quilting is put away for the summer.
hand quilting progress chart
This is the chart I made to keep track of my progress. It looks like the block quilting is almost half way finished. Slow and steady!
I hope my hand quilting muscles remember how to stitch when I take this project out again in the fall.
What are you hand stitching today? We would love to see your project and hear about your progress. Link up your blog post below...

   

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21 comments:

scraphappy said...

Glad to hear that poor Max is feeling better. Hand quilting is a perfect excuse to sit and rest with him. I'm sure the muscle memory will still be there when the weather cools down again.

Sarah said...

Glad that max is on the mend. And you got some hand quilting done in the process. Have a good Sunday!

The Cozy Quilter said...

You are a wonderful doggy nurse! He looks so content lying on the quilt while you see! Hope he is back to his perky little self soon. Take care and happy SSS!

SandraC said...

So nice that you got a few stitches done before this heat set in!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

So sweet, Max looks quite content in his restful recovery time. I am doing some binding today, and later hosting a cookout.

Frances Meredith said...

Like you Kathy I have a chart marking my progress - I need some motivation!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Nice to hear he's on the mend and love and quilting were good medicine for him :)

Design Originals by KC said...

Kathy.... so happy your hand quilting muscle memory held up for you ... I am sure it will be everpresent in the fall once cooler weather returns to you... glad your grandpup is doing well and healing :) A quilt to cuddle on should have been on his discharge orders from the vet! lol I am glad you are enjoying your life is beautiful project.. I will look forward to seeing more of it maybe next sunday :) Kathi

Stephie said...

I hope Max recovers soon, poor old thing. At least he has a wonderful quilt in progress to snuggle up on. I can't imagine what it feels like to be too hot to have a quilt on your lap...I think I need to move to warmer climes!

cozykoza32a@gmail.com said...

I hope your puppy is feeling better. It is always sad when our animals are ill. My heart goes out to them.

Kathleen Mary

Ivani said...

It was perfect days for nursering Max and hand quilting

Denise :) said...

What a lovely post! From the colors of your quilt, it looked like an appropriate piece to be working on this weekend. Hope Max is feeling better soon! :)

Barbara said...

Pretty quilt! My fingers are itching to get stitching on a quilt I'm going to hand quilt pretty soon.

Deanna W said...

Poor Max, he is lucky he has such a nice grandma to take care of him especially after the chewing incident!! I am hand quilting too and finding it too warm. Might bring up the Qsnap and try that instead of the hoop frame. Don't put the hand quilting too far away...there might be a couple cool days this summer.

CathieJ said...

Max looked quite content to rest on the quilt with your company. I am so glad he is feeling better. I look forward to seeing that quilt emerge again in the fall. It is so pretty.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

You have such sweet company to help you do your quilting! That's going to be a beautiful quilt!

Juliann in WA said...

that muscle memory is quite something - I know from playing drums that if I practice incorrectly, I have a hard time retraining! must be an age thing :)

Teresa in Music City said...

Max is too cute - I hope he recovers nicely! Your quilting project looks wonderful, but I can understand not wanting to hand-quilt in the summertime!

Nancy said...

I first learned about muscle memory about 20 years ago from my daughters' piano teacher. At the time it was a new concept to me (or at least the name was new to me) but I immediately recognized it in my typing skills.

Your quilt is beautiful! How good that you're almost half-way done.

What a great idea to keep Max still by quilting with him snuggled beside you. Our weather is almost too hot to sit with a quilt over me to work on it, too.

Thanks for hosting Slow Stitching Sunday.

--Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

Janet O. said...

Even Max recognizes the healing power of a quilt made by loving hands! : )

Kate said...

Glad Max is feeling better. Glad you got a lot of stitching done before retiring the project for the summer.