Slow quilting

September 28, 2013 § 21 Comments


It’s been kind of a crazy last couple of months.  My father-in-law passed away in August. Then my sister-in-law and I had our planned trip to New York to celebrate our birthdays.  And it feels like it took us all summer to recover from our kitchen remodel.  (installing the rest of the flooring and putting up door trim & baseboards)  Now the rains have returned and it feels like winter. Well, autumn. But the leaves on the trees aren’t really turning color so much as just falling off.  I just feel like settling in and nesting for the winter.  Knitting, fires in the fireplace, pumpkin goodies and homemade soup.  I don’t have much of desire to quilt.  There are things I need to finish but I just don’t have the enthusiasm to do it.

Last week someone asked me what I was working on.  Not much really.  At first I thought that it may be because it’s been a crazy couple of months.  But the more I think about it I think it might be more than that.  I’m afraid to admit it, but I’m not that inspired by the whole quilting world at the moment.  I’m not that crazy about the celebrity-ness that quilting has taken on.  I read a recent quote from a well-known designer where she called her quilting a “brand”.  Not that I don’t love what people are making and doing. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of fabulous things being made.  I’m just not in that same place.


I feel like I need to slow down and find my own voice. Or explore other aspects of quilting rather than quilts that will be made into the next pattern.  (I do have a few patterns that I need to finish and there are a couple of people patiently waiting for me to do that!  Sorry I’m so slow about it!)

I admire people like Folk Fibers whose quilts are hand-dyed and hand quilted, speaking to a past time when there was more of a story to the making of a quilt than the latest hot pattern on the market.  I’m fascinated by ‘slow quilting’, however that might look for me.

In the mean time, I am sewing a stitch or two on the many ongoing projects in my sewing room.  Plus, tomorrow I’m starting a new decade.  It’s a good time to start down a new path, evaluate where I’ve been and where I want to go, and let life be more than just the next project.

There, I said it.  I’m in a slump of sorts. Or at least a crossroads.


Quilt Details:

* The blocks are from my 2011 bee group on Flickr.

* The sashing fabric is an old Amy Butler that was in my stash.

* The binding is an old fabric that I inherited from my hubby’s Aunt Pauline when she passed away several years ago.  I didn’t quite have enough and had to add a dark brown piece at the very end.

* The backing is a seersucker from JoAnn Fabrics that I found on sale. I had wanted a pink denim for the back but couldn’t find anything at the time and this seemed like a good option.

* I intended for this to be our picnic/beach quilt.  I finished quilting it in May but didn’t get the binding finished until August. Now it is September and the rains have returned.  It won’t be until next year that we get to try it out on the beach or for a picnic.

* Finished size after washing approximately 68″ x 70″.

§ 21 Responses to Slow quilting

  • nicolette says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve lost the quilting groove. I love slow quilting more and more even though I join in a quilt-along every now and then.

    I can so relate to your feelings. I long for the days when I was introduced to quilting and quilting blogland and most blogs were inspirational. A lot of them have only become about sales. Patterns, books, blog-hops, book reviews and stashes of fabric. We are lured into buying all sorts of stuff.

    I quilt for the sake of keeping me sane. I tried the Art Quilt path, but it wasn’t mine. I hope you will find your creative path, whatever it may involve!

  • Irene says:

    Today’s weather in W WA can do things to one’s outlook, I fear. But, I do hear what you are saying loud and clear and have similar feelings about “the Quilting World” out there. Maybe time to make some small gift projects using some of your many designing and sewing skills to get some immediate gratification as well as fill up the gift drawer or shelf, whatever you call it at your house. Pet that adorable kitty and keep warm; a time out is always a good thing, I think.

  • *karendianne says:

    Really appreciate you sharing what’s true. I imagine you’re not alone. I’m happy to read how you’re making peace with where you’re at. Good things can only come from this. *kd.

  • audrey says:

    Over at Be*mused blog, the author put her stitching away and started painting again. She has a very interesting post about it. I agree that the blogging/social quilting thing can get out of hand, competitive, etc. and people lose track of why they are doing it or what they are doing it for. Slow stitching is definitely one of the primary ways I keep myself in check, reminding myself of all the reasons I even started quilting in the first place.:) Good luck figuring some things out–your quilt is beautiful.:)

  • Hi Anita,
    First, I love your quilt….it’s even prettier quilted and bound. I also like using seersucker for backings, love the crinkly-ness 🙂

    I really appreciate this post. Bless your heart for sticking with your gut feelings and not jumping on the commercial bandwagon. To me, quilting is steeped in tradition and sentiment, and there’s so much more to it than getting your latest pattern in print or being movitvated by $$. For me, each quilt is a journey, and I want it to evolve from the heart, not some other influence.

    So take your time, find your voice and do whatever it is you need to do. You can’t force something that you’re not feeling. Happy Birthday 🙂

  • Joyce says:

    Hi Anita,
    I too love your quilt and you will enjoy many wonderful picnics on it. Although Sept is going out in wind and rain I do believe we will have some beautiful days in Oct, so keep you picnic basket handy. Wishing you a Happy Birthday as tomorrow dawns on your new decade. Your kitty is growing fast!

  • Marie says:

    So sorry that your Father in Law passed away…..times like these always make us reflect on what is important. On the subject of slow quilting I heard one of my quilting friends say we shouldn’t be in a rush we should take our time and enjoy quilting. If you look at quilts it is always the ones that take a long time that we are in awe of. Our lives are so full that sometimes in the haste we forget the value of going slow. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Susan says:

    do hope it is a slump and not a crossroad – crossroad may mean you go a different direction than quilting and then we loose your voice as we know it. I am at a point where I would feel better about many things in life if I finished a dozen quilts that are sitting around weather I want to or not. Someone will use them and finished would be good discipline for me.

  • Debra says:

    First up I love your new quilt, the randomness of the blocks and that gorgeous floral border, just fabulous. I must say a lot of what you said resonated with me. I’m not interested in producing quilts as if we’re all in some kind of race and I think sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves of why we quilt. For me having a creative outlet is as important as eating and sleeping. It is easy to get seduced by all that goes on in blog land I still like to see what’s going on but I’m not taking part in the race, it’s not why I quilt. I hope you can still enjoy your quilting as you re evaluate where you are heading. Good luck.x

  • Thanks for sharing your feelings about this, and sympathies to you and your family on your father-in-law’s passing.

    I think there are cycles of celebrity fascination in quilting, and we are certainly at a high point now. I DO NOT CARE whose name in on the fabric label (as long as the fabric is of high quality.) I DO NOT CARE if it’s Jo Morton or Kaffe Fassett or Denyse Schmidt or Amy Butler or any other designer. I DO NOT CARE to buy it based on name or brand or even manufacturer. I do not buy it unless the fabric speaks to me. Or if it is not aesthetically meaningful, at least it must be useful.

    I think a slump or time-out or crossroads is a good thing. It gives you a breather, a chance to re-evaluate, a chance to try something new. Think again about WHY you quilt. For all the expense, time, energy, emotion, you should feel satisfied, you should feel like it was worth it, like what you get out of it is at least as great, on the whole, than what you put into it. I wrote about this a few weeks ago.

    Why do you quilt? If you can answer that, you can begin to answer what to do next.

    I wish you peace, and a beautiful joy-filled birthday. Perhaps you can have a picnic indoors with your light-hearted quilt.

  • leeAnn says:

    Happy birthday! A slump is just an incubation time for what’s coming next. You have your own great style. Keep doing what you do– whatever brings you joy.

  • pratima says:

    A very Happy Birthday, Anita! May all your Birthday wishes and dreams come true! Your quilt is most beautiful and endearing in its colors and patterns. It is going to be a perfect companion for your picnics!

  • Our blocks turned out great in the quilt! The sashing is perfect! Love it! I’m totally with you on the quilt celebrity front. I just like making quilts, not the popularity contest!


  • Blue.Ridge.Girl says:

    Happy Birthday my friend! For your birthday I want to share with you what you have given me:

    First I’ll tell you that I found your blog while searching for quilters who love the Lord and I’ve been so blessed these last couple of years by getting to know you.

    Next, I want you to know how much I have learned from you. You have inspired me both in crochet and quilting. Because of the pictures and tutorials, and posts you have written I have learned how to do so many things..crochet beautiful mobius scarves, dare to try crocheting socks, and learn so many new skills in quilting. Learning to do these things has allowed me to bless so many people with gifts I’ve made for them because I love them.

    Finally, because of the community you have created online through your blog I have met other dear, precious people. They are warm, caring, and encouraging people and I enjoy knowing them.

    Thank you dear Anita for sharing part of your life with us. We are the richer for knowing you.


  • suzanne mcfadden says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I started quilting because I love the idea of anti-commercial idea of making something handmade from the heart, not because I wanted to get caught up in the “who’s who” of quilting and fabric design. It’s hard sometimes to avoid the latter, but I know that for me the satisfaction of quilting is both personal and communal. It feeds me creatively, but it also ties me to those I care for when I give them something I’ve made with my own two hands. Cheers!

  • bean1 says:

    I feel the same way I am not on the same page as the quilting world, the marketing in it. Look at my blog, buy my book=gag. Although your making patterns seems different. Same with Sue Garman. MAybe its not the flat out greed, you love quilting. That is the main reason I closed my blog. I not interested in the majority of “new” quilting books, I do not want to make a quilt from a MODA jelly roll. It is just not me. I think it great for some people and brings them joy. I like taking apart a quilt top from 1880, I like acquiring rare pieces of antique fabric that I plan on putting in a specific quilt. I love the new fabric too. I have been having it packed up so I now know how much I love it or how much my husband loves to treat me to a surprise. I enjoy quilts made like yours I am currently under. Maybe it a biblical thing I do not know.

    I know your slump will leave, and you will move forward. Our leaves here in NJ are doing the same thing they went from green to on the ground, no pretty colors like New England. Hugs Meredith NJ

  • Elisabeth says:

    Hello Anita, I totally agree (on quilting as a “brand” and slow stitching).
    Happy Quilting, anyhow!

  • Debby Mc says:

    Happy birthday, Anita! I’m a slow quilter, knitter, crocheter, you name it. I smell the roses, enjoy the process, get everything I can out of it. In early childhood, process over product is an important guide for teachers…I think it’s something for us all to remember…delve, experience, savor… I hope you have a glorious birthday! 🙂

  • Lotje says:

    Dear Anita, I love your work and your posts and this post, a very own voice. Hope you will find what you are looking for, and wish I could help 🙂

  • mathea says:

    Hello Anita, I hope you had a wonderful birthday. Sorry I’m so late,but I have been on a “computer break” for a while and I’m just catching up on the most important blogs.
    I turned 50 last year and went into a kind of slump there for a while. I have concluded that it is only natural to stop and take stock at such an event. I’ve been asking myself why I quilt too, and have decided that it is the creative process more than the finished object that does it for me – it’s certainly not the need for more quilts! It’s so easy to get lured into buying all that gorgeous fabric, but I go by what speaks to me, not what is most fashionable. That lovely Amy Butler in the sashing of you beautiful quilt is one of them, but I haven’t been tempted by her later lines. A famous name isn’t enough (although they are usually famous because of their great designs). Occasionally I will fall for a line and buy the whole lot, but usually it is more the case of one here and one there. I am back to quilting again, but take my own sweet time about it. As I get older I have realized that it is OK to dance to my own pipe without heeding those who try to tell me what to do – and that’s the best part of “growing up”…

  • Kathy says:

    Hi Anita! I love your quilt and I do hope the first months of your new decade have been joyful and promising and that your health has continued to improve.
    I too, after a very extended break, have been catching up on my important blogs and it has been so good to hear your voice and see your work again. Cheers and best wishes Kathy

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