The Slow Movement – Another Perspective

In June of 2014, The Slow Stitching Movement became an “official entity” on the Internet as a blog, podcast, magazine, gallery and a Facebook Group. The Slow Stitching Movement was launched by Mark Lipinski to adapt the principles of the Iinternational Slow Movement to the fiber and needle arts. You can read about it on his blog, or watch his presentation online for $19.99 through details found at

You can read about the International Slow Movement at without spending a dime, and I encourage you to do so. Four basic principles of the Movement are:

1. We need to stop rushing through life so fast that we lose track of ourselves

2. We need to stop applying the same turbo-speed to everything that we do.

3. We need to stop doing everything at once.

4. We need to slow down and find the energy to get involved with the world that we live in.

Since you are reading this post on, then chances are pretty good that you might be a hand quilter, and that you have no trouble supporting these ideas. I know I totally agree!

As a hand quilter for going on 40 years, hand quilting provides me tranquility, peace, time for meditation and contemplation, and a chance for creativity and use of my hand sewing skills. I have always said that if I didn’t have time set aside each day for some hand stitching, I would go crazy.

A hand quilter needs very little in the way of supplies and tools for his or her craft. You can get by with fabric that you have on hand! Think back to the quilts of the 1800’s, made out of old clothing, scraps of fabric left over from clothes which were made at home, and basic thread that was already in the house. You need scissors, a thimble to protect your finger, batting or something to put in the middle of your quilt for warmth, and a backing fabric of some kind. A quilt frame or hoop would be a good thing to have, but many quilters get by without one. (I don’t know how they do that, but they do!)

On July 6, 2014, Mark Lipinski posted an article on his blog called “What is Ethical Shopping, Why it Matters, and How it Benefits You.” You can find it at . He talks about:

  • Ethical Consumerism
  • Shopping from Your Stash First
  • Supporting Your Local Businesses
  • Being a Courteous Shopper
  • Buy Quality and The Very Best You Can Afford and
  • Shop Thoughtfully.

Don’t we all want to be ethical, supportive, courteous, quality-driven and thoughtful? Gosh, I would certainly hope so! I’d like to add a few points that he missed (or expand on what he said):

  • Know the difference between a WANT and a NEED. Mark mentions this, and I totally agree. I am a graduate of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and proud of it. Dave stresses knowing the difference between WANT and NEED.  When I start a new quilt project, I know what thread I NEED (because I’m out of it or don’t have that color). I also know that when I shop online, at a local quilt shop or at the quilt show vendor area, if I see a gadget or special fabric or quilty thing that I like, it is a WANT, not a need. I WANT it, but if I don’t get it, it won’t kill me. Oh, I might pout for a while, but I will survive. Do you really NEED that fancy new gadget that Tremendous Trixie the Famous Quilter pushes at her workshop? Or is that gadget just something she’s pushing to make money, and you really don’t NEED it at all?
  • Choose your quilt business wisely. Get to know the owner. Whether the business is an online or a brick and mortar (LQS) shop, if you have problems, can the owner help you? WILL the owner help you? Does the owner have the knowledge and time to assist you? Or is the shop and its owner(s) such a large corporation or entity that you are just one of a gazillion customers? Or is the owner a friend or fellow quilter who will take the time to sit down with you and help you? Many local quilt shops are closing as the cost of a brick and mortar shop is difficult financially. But it’s a different world today, isn’t it? Many of us purchase items online, but we just have to do it wisely and know who we are buying from.
  • Be yourself. Don’t feel like you have to follow the crowd. Quilters are easily sucked into trends… trends in fabric choices, colors, and patterns. You can go to any local show and see quilts with similar patterns – because groups of quilters are all working on the same pattern (often with the same fabrics!). I bet if I mention one word (just one!) you will know what I mean… hexies!


  • Every quilter is different. Every quilter has his or her reasons for what they do. My reasons are as important to me as yours are to you. I rarely buy patterns, I seldom publish them. I like to do my own thing with quilt design. I’m the same way about quilty trinkets, stencils, and fancy notions. I usually don’t buy them. I’m a pretty simple person. If you were to ask me how to create a pattern or transfer a design onto fabric, you and I would sit down together and get the task done. If you live far away, I’d walk you through it by email or blog or phone. The way that I do something might be totally different than the next quilter, but it’s not wrong… it’s just how I do it. And I’m happy to share how I do it with you, as long as you understand that.

Caron at Hand Quilting Supplies

Your “online” LQS


How do you choose which quilting project to work on?

If you are reading this blog, chances are pretty good that you are a quilter.  And, if you are indeed a quilter, you have within your DNA  a unique bit of biological information that makes it nearly impossible for you to only work on one quilting project at a time.  Rather, it renders you utterly indecisive. Let me help you understand by giving an example.

I have many projects in various stages of completion. 

1) Redwork Owl DSC02875
2) My own Jane Stickle variation IMG_1915
3) Barn Owl

(Yes, I know, there is no owl there… yet. Leave me alone!)

Barn Owl
4) Feathered Star ESQG presentation
  5) Purple Reign Floral

It should be noted that this list does not include quilts which exist only in my brain.  I have found that QIB’s (Quilts in Brain) can be more dangerous than quilts which have

  1. emerged into semi-reality based on hours spent in Pinterest or magazine reading
  2. fabric which has been selected and is already in the home
  3. a sketched design
  4. any measuring that includes a ruler/yardstick/tape measure

And WHY, you might be wondering?  How can a QIB be dangerous?

A QIB sneaks into your consciousness at a moment’s notice.  It stays there, driving you crazy, and you try to force yourself not to think about it.  You tryg to make it go away.  But no.  You start seeing the design in your mind.  At first, you just see the shapes.  Then the shapes turn into various different color combinations.  The combinations morph into thoughts of needing more fabric.  And then quilt size becomes an issue.  If you must make it, how large of a commitment will this be?  Tiny?  Huge?  You don’t know how much fabric to buy.  Thoughts of a whole bolt tickle your brain.  It makes sense.  With a whole bolt, you will certainly have enough.

Eventually, you will begin to wrestle with yourself.  An argument ensues. 

“I really should not begin another quilt until I finish X number of quilts I have already started.”

“Yes, but this quilt will be SO FABULOUS!”

“But it will require me to spend more money on fabric that will just sit in my stash, taunting me.”

“I know, but if I don’t buy the fabric now, it might not be available when I need it.”

“Yes, but how will I hide the fabric once it is in the house?”

“I can put it in my sock drawer.  Nobody will find it there.”

“I will want to start the quilt as soon as I buy the fabric.”

“No, I won’t.  I will be strong!”

“OK, yes I will.  But this should be an easy quilt to piece/applique, and I can get it done in no time at all.”

“What about the quilt I am working on now?  That will never get finished if I start another one.”

“Yes it will.  I must finish that quilt.  But I need to start this one before I forget it!”

  “I need to find my car keys. Have you seen them?”


Yes, it seems funny.  But you and I both know there is a ton of truth here.

How do YOU stop the madness?  What is YOUR secret?

The Way We Were and Why I Hand Quilt

Do you remember Barbara Streisand singing the song “The Way We Were?”  Those four little words are stuck in my head today as I sit in my house (not at work) listening to the radio with no Internet service or cable television.  I live in mid-Michigan, where we just had a record amount of snow and sub-zero temperatures.  People are being told to stay inside and not drive, and all schools, government offices, senior citizen centers and many businesses are closed.

I am lucky (at least, at this moment).  I have power, and while I can’t get on the Internet, I do have a laptop with power which allows me to at least write this post (which will be uploaded when everything is back in working order.)  Many other people don’t even have power.  My radio is on, and my clothes are tumbling around the dryer, almost ready to be hung up. 

I snuggled in my leather chair this morning enjoying the quiet and hand quilting on my latest creation.  I thought about technology and why it is that I love hand quilting so much.  So many people wonder why anyone still quilts by hand when we have fancy, huge sewing machines designed to do just that.  Why do we applique or piece by hand when most of us own a sewing machine?  Are we insane?
We live in a busy world.  It isn’t what I experienced when I was four years old, that’s for sure.  In 1960, we did have a television, albeit a black and white television.  I had to get off the couch to change the channel.  TV shows went off at midnight with the National Anthem playing (if you lived in the United States). Milk was delivered.  Microwaves had not yet been invented, so warming up a meal meant in a pan on the stove, which took more than a minute.

In 1960 our minds weren’t cluttered up with technology.  If we wanted to listen to a song and were lucky enough to have a stereo or hi-fi, we put on a record but had to turn the record over to play the other side.  We couldn’t plug our iPhone headphones into our ears and sit for days on end before we ran out of songs.  We drove our cars down the road with very few radio stations to listen to, that is, if our car had a radio. We couldn’t talk on our phone in the car.  We didn’t have Facebook or the Internet to communicate with other quilters from all around the world. We MAYBE had a few friends in our community who quilted who we could spend our time with. 
If you were a quilter back in 1960, a lot of pattern creation was done by the trial and error method.  Patterns were made out of cardboard templates (the back of cereal boxes) that were drawn by hand over and over to make them perfect.  Quilters used a yardstick.  They didn’t have plastic templates.  They didn’t have long arm quilting machines on frames.  If you needed something quilted, you did it by hand.  And it was relaxing, and it gave you time to think.

For me, the best part of hand quilting is having the time to think.  To ponder.  To go slow.  To unplug.  Lately, I have tried turning the television off more while I quilt just for the silence.  I enjoy watching what my hands can do all on their own.  I have remembered more things from the past by allowing myself this quiet time.  I have found myself being more creative in my thinking, which I can only think will help me improve as a quilter and artist. 

In being a hand quilter, I have restricted the quantity of quilts that I produce (as compared to what a long arm or regular sewing machine quilter can do). That means I don’t have as many photos to share on the Internet with my quilting friends from around the world.  That means in my quilt guild’s Show and Tell time, I rarely have something to show.  But I ask myself, 

What is the rush? Perhaps it is time we slowed down and got back to 
“The Way We Were.”

Note:  No cameras were harmed in the publishing of this article.

Are You Perfect?

I don’t think I know anyone who is perfect.  Certainly not me!  I’m human, just as I think you are.  I make mistakes.  Just as you do.  My day is a mixture of doing things I like to do, doing things I need to do (but don’t necessarily enjoy doing), and doing things that others expect me to do (such as things at my place of employment).  I like to think I am more than adequate in everything that I do, as I put expectations on myself to always do my best.  I assume you are much the same. Nobody WANTS to do a bad job of anything.  Nobody PLANS on messing up.  But there are some days when it seems as if nothing I do is right. 

So before anybody expects perfection from me, let’s get just one thing perfectly clear:
I AM NOT PERFECT.  You may be, but I AM NOT.  And I’m quite happy with that, thank you very much.

Oh, I feel SO much better now!  Thanks for letting me put that out there for the whole world to see.

No comments are necessary.  Unless they are nice. 

Thoughts on Fusible Applique

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Fusible web is a man-made fiber that melts when it is heated. Many quilters – especially art quilters – have used a fusible product when creating quilts that require appliqué. When placed between two pieces of fabric, the melting action of the web when in contact with a hot iron causes it to fuse the fabrics together. As a result of this process, it is a wonderful way to avoid turning under fabric to appliqué by hand or machine, and is very secure.

There is a wonderful chart that I found at Stitch em Up that lists a number of fusible products with information about each.
Please check it out!

Over the past year or two, I have frequently used fusible products for appliqué on items that will see little to no washing. I view fusible as tool and option for items such as wallhangings, purses, accessories, journals, and anything that will not be tossed in a washing machine. I have made my grandchildren a quilted calendar wallhanging that hangs in their kitchen. These 18 inch square blocks are a perfect use for fusible appliqué.

November Calendar Block in Progress:
               A fused turkeyiron

I have a concern about the use of fusible appliqué on quilts that are meant to be  saved and used by the owner on a daily basis. As I have attended quilt shows recently and viewed newly-made quilts online, I am noticing more and more appliqué quilts being made using fusible as the method of appliqué. It worries me for several reasons, but here are the two I worry about the most:

Worry 1: On the historical timeline of quilting, fusible products are babies. This is a brand new product, and we have no guarantee what it will do over the long-term in a quilt. It is an ADHESIVE. The edges are raw and exposed. It is basically glue holding two layers (or more) of fabric together. What will years of regular washing do to a fused quilt? Even without a lot of washing, will these quilts be around 50-100 years from now? And if they are still around, how frayed will those raw edges be?

I thought about this a few weeks ago as I was cleaning the basement. I came across my scrapbook from when I was a teenager. You know the kind… where we kept pictures, newspaper articles and programs from shows we attended. We held them in place with tape. I was a teenager in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. (Yes, I’m that old.) Now, a few decades later when I open my scrapbook, most of the adhesive tape has turned brownish in color and no longer adheres to the paper. My precious memories fall out of the scrapbook, and I have to tuck them back into place and close the book quickly so I don’t lose them. Will this happen to our quilts?

Worry 2: As a quilting instructor, I worry about newer quilters who learn how to do fusible appliqué and view it as THE way to appliqué. Please note that this is a two-fold issue for me.

Example: Amy takes a quilting class and learns how to do fusible appliqué. It’s an easier method than what she has seen other more experienced quilters do when they appliqué, so she makes it her method of choice. She sees a beautiful Baltimore quilt pattern and creates a lovely quilt top that is heavily appliquéd (as they all are), only hers is done using fusible products. She delivers or ships her quilt top to a long arm quilter, and a few months later has produced a stunning quilt.  (She meaning Amy.)

Here’s question number one:


What if this is how we teach young ladies how to quilt from now on? Will the techniques of quilting from the last 150-200 years eventually be lost? Will they ever learn how to do a fine needle-turn or invisible appliqué stitch? Or will they stick to fusing? Will they ever learn how to do a rocking (quilting) stitch, or will all quilts be machine quilted by someone else? (I said it was a two-fold issue).


Before my readers chime in with comments, let me assure you that I treasure modern technologies. I am a computer addict. Just ask my husband.  Give me a gadget and I go ga ga. Seriously!
In 1987 I wrote a book called
 “Contemporary Quilts
From Traditional Designs.”  

I like contemporary quilts, and I like traditional quilts. And remember in the beginning of this post I said I use fusible?      I fully understand that not everyone will want to be a full-fledged quilter and make quilt after quilt. Fusing and paying someone to do the quilting for you may be the only way some people get a quilt done. I get that.

Here’s question number two:

How do we perpetuate the tradition of quilting that our great grandmothers taught us?

Ok, one, two, three DISCUSS!
There is plenty of comment space here for everybody.