Why Sew Slowly?
It started with a vague inkling that I might like to blog. This in itself raised questions that I had to get to grips with before I could begin (just because that’s the way my mind works) and the biggest question was ‘what sort of quilter/sewer am I? I do I want to define myself?'
I found it easy enough to work out what I wasn’t: not a traditional quilter, not an art quilter, not a modern quilter. There are some great discussions going on out there on the web as people think about how they define themselves in a quilting context (you could start with Rossie's post on Mutant Quilting if you are interested) but I still haven’t found what feels like a natural place for me to settle. This doesn’t necessarily matter – I’m happy with what I am and am not going to lose sleep over this; I’m putting it down here because it was part of the process by which I came to think of myself as a slow sewer.
While I was browsing other people’s sites, coming to these conclusions, I became a bit overwhelmed by the speed at which some of them were working. In my most productive year to date I produced three quilts. I have never made a quilt using a jelly roll, or machined my binding, or, so far, even done my quilting by machine, (though not ruling anything out here) but maybe I should have been. What would I find to blog about if I couldn’t make a quilt in a week, or a fortnight, or at least a month?
But then I read something in Gwen Marston Liberated Quiltmaking that really chimed with me and I thought “I really like to quilt, in fact it’s my favourite thing to do, so why would I hurry all the time to get to the end of it?”
About the same time I was beginning to practice mindfulness, which focuses on trying to be fully in the moment as much as possible, and to read about the Slow Movement. Everything came together for me in this quote from Carl Honore’s book, In Praise of Slowness (2004):
It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible.
So I have concluded/decided that I am a slow sewer, that it is as much about the journey for me as the point of arrival, as much about the process as the product. It is a state of mind, as well as a reflection of the pace of my work, and I am happy with this label.