Hand-quilting can be refreshingly quiet if you let it. In the absence of noisy machines and fast-moving needles, thoughts – actual thoughts – have a chance to spring to life, take a breath, grow, and fully develop in the mind as you stitch away.
This may sound a little kooky, but when I’m hand-quilting, I feel like I’m communing with the souls of all those women who’ve ever worked to make their homes pleasant and their lives richer using only the simplest of tools and materials. I’m in awe of their industriousness and talent. Even today, women the world over do not have the luxury of powerful tools like I do, nor the wealth of fabrics available. They rely on ingenuity and the hard work of their own hands. They work with what they’ve got. Yet they make works of timeless beauty. That reminds me to be grateful for what I’ve been given. It inspires me to work simply. To see the potential in the materials that come to me freely. And craft with them as best I can.
And sometimes it’s an escape, pure and simple, from the relentless dish-washing, craft-blogging, clothes-laundering, email-reading, kid-rearing that is my life. Do you know what I mean? The naturally measured pace of hand-quilting is my personal rebellion against efficiency. There are times when the urgent notion that says: “You must get this done NOW”, can be folded up and tucked away for a bit. Deadlines are man-made fabrications after all. And I know that my world will not come to an end if I don’t mop the floor, shoo away the dust bunnies or even (gasp!) respond to email this very moment. So I choose to savour the easy rhythm of hand-quilting, watch the up and down motion of the tiny needle, and infuse into every stitch of my quilt a little Michele-love.