It was as if I’d never touched a needle before.
In the two months since I finished my most recent hand quilting project, it seems I’d forgotten everything.
I couldn’t find my thimble.
I had no idea what quilting design to use.
The calluses on my fingers were gone so every stitch hurt.
My quilting hoop seemed like a stranger to me.
Does this happen to you? Do you find that no matter how many times you’ve been successful at a craft, you can still struggle when you begin a new project?
It happens to me, every single time. It doesn’t matter what the project is, the first few hours, or sometimes days, are discouraging.
My current weaving project is a hot mess. The quilting was a full-blown struggle. Even when I go out to exercise, I find the first 15 minutes an uphill battle.
The thing that keeps me going is that I know, for a fact, through long experience, that it will get better.
The rough edges will all smooth out, the hiccups will stop, and, soon, I’ll hit my stride, find that rhythm, and enjoy the process again.
That happens, too, every single time.
And so it has been with the hand quilting. In the course of working on this first block, I’ve been high and low, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried. And now I know I’ll be fine.
I started with this particular block because Susan B. Anthony was a key figure in women’s suffrage and women’s rights.
If you recall, this quilt was made as part of a “block of the month” project held by my quilting guild. Each month, we got directions for a pieced block and the story of an American woman who was important in advocating for women’s right to vote.
I wanted to take the project further, beyond suffrage to women’s rights, in general, and I decided to add the embroidered quotations from women (and one man). I chose quotations that appealed to me, with an eye toward variety and diversity.
Susan B. Anthony was at the center of the push for women’s rights in the United States and, so, she is at the center of the quilt and the obvious starting place for the hand quilting.
For these blocks, I want the focus to be on the words so I chose simple quilting. For the background I am using cross hatching and then just stitching in the ditch around the half-square triangles that form the borders.
I don’t usually mark a quilt with a pencil—I really hate that process and would normally just use masking tape to guide my stitches. The time, though, I was worried that using masking tape would pull out some of the embroidery stitches when I removed the tape, so I did mark the square lightly with a mechanical pencil.
I settled in, warm under the weight of the quilt. I re-introduced myself to the thimble, the needle, the hoop, the process.
One block down, 19 to go.
This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another. If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.