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,