Tag: hand stitching

Sky Rider


I rescued these years ago.
Ten blocks.
A quarter each,
and she gave me a discount because I used the word “rescue”.


Some see tatters.


Hard times.
Worn slap out.


I see stories of resourcefulness and making do.
A special kind of creativity, if you ask me.


Stories of homemade dresses.
and flower gardens lovingly tended.


Stories of birthday cakes
and piano lessons
and biscuits with butter and syrup.





I’ve said Yes to Jude Hill’s latest stitch-a-long, and I’m thinking about doing something I’ve never done before: turning these blocks into a book for Calder Ray . . . mostly because if I make a book, the fetching back side fabric becomes a page and doesn’t remain hidden. The story is already forming . . . a boy who walks on suns and moons, who eats stars for breakfast, lassoes them in play and lets them give him a bath, even if it’s not Saturday night.

These are things my brain is thinking, you understand, plans my brain is making so it can be comfortable knowing how everything is supposed to go before I even thread the needle. Isn’t it funny that in all the trips I’ve made around the sun on this beautiful rock, my brain is always surprised to find that its best laid plans are subject to change once my hands pick up and get going . . .

production or process?


Though I love my sewing machine (It was under the first Christmas tree I put up as a married woman some 40 years ago – my husband bought it for me with money he won in a radio contest.), I prefer hand stitching.


I love the way the fabric ripples up into ridges. How the feel of the cloth changes as I go. I love having an image in mind, then fiddling and grappling to create it in cloth.


Decades ago, I would’ve been horrified for you to see my knots, embarrassed at rows of stitches that go the way of handwriting on a sheet of unlined paper. But now? I swat the air with my hand and say a hearty Pffffft.

Stitching by hand is yoga for my mind.


I don’t know how many quilts my grandmother made. I’m currently tracking them down, photographing them, building a catalog of her work. She used her Singer treadle machine to make pieced quilts from patterns. I remember the whirr, the up and down of the treadle, the look on her face as she fed colorful scraps under the needle.


I wonder if she preferred the machine for its speed. She was busy from sunup to sundown, and she moved like a rabbit – she had to to get everything done. Or maybe, it occurs to me since my husband retired, the sound of the machine formed a wall around her, giving her space to call her own the only way she could get it.