I have just been preparing (and then giving) a talk entitled ‘Coming to Textiles the Long Way Round’.
It took some time to get ready as it involved lots of visuals and I wanted to make it entertaining as well as informative. In the end it was very instructive for me, actually! I realised the extent to which I hadn’t really appreciated the ‘home-made’ clothes, so skilfully constructed for me by my mother.
I recognised that always being surrounded by fabric as a small child was probably very influential. I had to admit to everyone that I had positively hated sewing lessons at school: all that lining up to be seen and then having to endlessly unpick everything. Therefore to have come to a point where I am self-employed full-time in textiles because I am so passionate about them involved quite a journey. The talk tracked the many twists and turns along the road. In fact this great image found for me by Google summed it up nicely. (Thank you to the photographer, whose name is at the bottom of the photo.)
It was interesting to talk to the audience about the love of ‘slow’ work (some of them were hand-weavers). I have to agree; that’s the reason so many of my quilt pieces are quilted by hand, even if they are pieced (put together) by machine.
This is the most recent piece (the pattern will be ready for sale and in my Etsy shop very shortly).
It’s a baby quilt (obviously!) and will be one of a pair. The other is pink (of course) and it’s specially designed for the 21st century when the gender of the baby is often known before the birth, even though the name hasn’t get been decided on! So… time to prepare a quilt to be ready for the big day. It can be machine stitched of course, but the hand-stitching gives it a special quality.
Also, and this is a key point, hand-stitching is calming and relaxing for the maker. This was confirmed by an excellent radio programme on the BBC (Radio 4) broadcast on Monday 17 November 2014 and at the time of writing, available on BBC iplayer (www.bbciplayer.com), entitled ‘A needle pulling thread’. Many different examples of sewing were made, including an interview with a participant in the ‘Fine Cell Work’ programme. He referred to the calming effect of the “repetitive action of the needle”.