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Friday, June 26, 2015

Embrace the Slow Stitching Movement

While attending Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis last May, I began to hear about The Slow Stitching Movement.  Intrigued, I set out to learn more.  

I have to say that once I began to learn what this is all about, it resonated very strongly in my heart.  

This is something I truly believe in!! 

So, you ask....

What exactly is The Slow Stitching Movement?

Mark Lipinski is at the very heart of this movement, and through this movement is making us aware to slow down....enjoy your stitching, and take pleasure in what you're doing.  The Slow Stitching Movement doesn't only apply to quilting and piecing...it applies to all of the needle arts whether your passion is to knit, crochet, cross stitch, rug hook...whatever the stitch.

The reason I truly believe in this movement, and I wanted to share this on my blog with you is because I feel we're all in too much of a hurry to quickly get one quilt done only to start another.  And while there are definitely projects that are and need to be made that way, in my humble opinion, there are way more that should be enjoyed slowly, taking in the sheer pleasure of skill with hand, needle, thread and fabric...all while you make something lovely and lasting.

Count Your Lucky Stars
American Patchwork & Quilting
June, 2014 issue

The quilt at the left is an glorious antique that I own and is a perfect example of a quilt that was slow stitched.  Its many pieces were no doubt cut by hand, and it was definitely pieced and quilted by hand.  

Am I saying that I think we should go "old-school" and piece in the purist style from now on?  Heck no!  I'm not abandoning my rotary supplies or my BFF Bernina!!

I'm just saying that if quick and call it done were the only quilts we piece, even two hundred years ago, this glorious quilt would have never been made.

Every Little Bit
American Patchwork & Quilting magazine
June 2015 issue
I designed and made the quilt at the right, called Every Little Bit (published in American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, June 2015.)  

It took well over a year (on and off) to piece.

It has thousands of little bits of paper pieced fabric worked into the Churn Dash blocks.

I enjoyed the entire process of making that quilt, choosing just the right mix of fabrics in each strip.

Those of you making a Dear Jane quilt have already signed up to The Slow Stitching Movement because that glorious quilt takes some time and skill, to say the least!  

And, that brings me to another reason The Slow Stitching Movement resonates with me.  Skill.  

The movement strongly encourages you to build your piecing skills.  Learn and master new techniques and take pride in your work!  As often as time allows, I try techniques I've never done, such as curved piecing and mitered borders.  I'm a novice at needle-turn applique and am loving it.  It wasn't so long ago that I thought applique was a four-letter word!

Honestly, The Slow Stitching Movement is so much more than what I've described here.  Here are a few links to educate you more about the Movement:

The Slow Stitching Movement blog ~ describing what it's all about.

The Slow Stitching Facebook page

Presently, I am working on several quilts that I've designed and am taking my sweet 'ol time making.  I ponder the fabric choices for each block and piece to the best of my ability.  I'm thoroughly enjoying the process.  Time is not part of the equation at all.  I love and embrace the challenge!

And when these quilts are complete, I know my heart will fill with satisfaction knowing I gave it my best, and all the stitches hold tiny parts of me....each slowly stitched with love. 


  1. Enjoyed reading your post! I have lots of variety in my projects...the quickie ones, and those that take the time to create more of a treasure. I love your Every Little Bit! Exquisite!

  2. I love this post. I've been saying this for a long time. I had no idea there was a Slow Stitching Movement but I'm glad you brought it to our attention. Sometimes I think there's more of a race to get as many quilts made in a lifetime and I think that takes away from the art of quilting.
    Thank you for sharing the blog link!

  3. My mom and grandmothers quilted by hand, cut fabric by hand,...what treasures. Recently found some pieces put away in a case, paper cut, hand stitched, and yet unfinished by my grandmother, b. 1888-d. 1972. I tell myself 'someday'.

  4. Several years ago I was asking a friend why it takes me so long to make a quilt and why wasn't I as fast as (insert any name here!). She proceeded to ask me why I quilt, I responded because I love it and enjoy it. Then she just smiled at me and said "think about what you just said."

  5. I recently heard Mark speak on this subject. I wholeheartedly agree with what he says. I try to be mindful in all aspects of my life. Thanks for a well written post on the subject. Happy slow stitching!

  6. I have a print on my sewing room wall that says "Enjoy the process and create art you love," a perfect reminder for me. I'm not at home so cannot give attribution to the quote, but it's not mine.

  7. I think there is truth in this. My Mom just finished hand quilting the last quilt she is going to make. I got photos of her taking it off the frames. She said she has enjoyed every minute of her quilting, but at 85, she wants to focus on other things. She was never in a rush. She machine pieced and hand quilted one quilt a year and loved the process.
    That brings up one of the reasons I don't usually like to do mystery quilts (though I have done 3 of yours). I want to enjoy what I make and love it when it is finished. If I don't know what I am making, there goes half of my joy. However, there are a few designers whose patterns I know I will love! : )

  8. For the last few years, I have made some quilts where I only make a certain number of blocks each week. It forces me to slow down. I am not in a rush - just enjoying the process of choosing my fabrics, cutting, piecing and finally sandwiching the top, batting and backing for quilting. I did not know that there was a Slow Stitching Movement.

    Sometimes though, like last week, I could not wait to finish the table topper that I was making. I was so excited about the pattern and the fabric. My workmanship did not suffer even though I spent every available moment piecing. I was anxious to finish but did not hurry the process. Does that make any sense?

    Thanks for the interesting post,
    Charlotte S.


  9. I didn't know there was a name for my philosophy! Thanks for making me aware that I'm part of a "movement" (though silently.) I wholeheartedly agree that our lives in the 21st century are too busy, and I subscribe to the philosophy that certain things need time to be savored. I machine sew things all the time, but for my heart's sake, I always have a handwork project or two in the basket beside my favorite chair. There is nothing like sitting down at the end of the day with my husband and my cup of tea and picking up beautiful bits of fabric to join with tiny, slowly-taken stitches. I don't place any deadlines out there; as I unwind thread from a spool, my mind unwinds and I relax. I'm also a knitter, and I keep a knitting project going, but the timeless pleasure of hand piecing draws me back again and again. I hope I'll have needle, thread and bits of fabric in my hands when it's my time to go -- if so, I'll have a soft smile on my face.

  10. A great philosophy. I love it. I am about to embark on the journey of learning needle turn appliqué.

  11. Interesting post, Pam. I enjoy the creative process so much and what you've written resonates a lot - sure I love a finish and some quick and easy projects but I believe savouring the moment is very important for the soul :-)

  12. I am never in a rush and never have been. I am working on several different things at the same time, leaving it up to my very mood. During the day, if I have the time, I am piecing or appliqueing. In the evening, whenever my husband watches sports and even during other programs on TV, I am lap quilting. Can't sit in front of the TV doing nothing (keeps me from standing in front of the fridge looking for something to eat). I never liked the words "Quick and easy" Birgitt

  13. I have to say I "was" one that had to crank out those quilts. Until one retreat I noticed a friend of mine was sewing slowly. She seemed to really have a rhythm and was enjoying the quilt she was working on. Sooo, I tried that and believe it or not, I love it. I'm enjoying the process of the quilt so much more. And relaxing so much more with each quilt. Laura V.

  14. I loved your post and it really resonated with me...I love the quiet peaceful process of hand applique and hand quilting and it is so nice to be able to choose how you create your quilts. Thank you.