my hand stitching obsession

Lately, much of my work on various pieces in progress has been hand stitching. Big stitches, little stitches. Attaching stitches, enhancing stitches. Contrasting stitches, blending stitches. Heavy thread, skinny thread.

I don't know why. Except that, at least right now, it's the only way to get the look I want.

When I discovered free motion machine stitching, I leapt to it whole-heartedly. Anything to make my visions become reality faster. The stitching was one of my least favorite parts of the process, and this got me through it with minimum effort (discounting the sore shoulders from hunching over my machine)(I know, posture, posture).

But I started noticing that every one of my pieces was heavily stitched, and flattened by that stitching. And so are a lot of other people's pieces in the art quilt/fiber art world. I like the look, but I also grew tired of it.

And once I start machine quilting a piece, I can't stop with big open spaces. I just don't like the look when the little, regular, solid stitches march across my piece here and there.

Hand stitching celebrates the sense of depth resulting from using a layer of batting in the first place. I can be random with my stitches, imperfect with them, space them widely in some spots and narrowly in others. I feel like I have more control.

And hand stitching becomes more meditative. I do it sitting down at my cutting table (partly because I hate to baste), with my piece spread out before me. Today I stitched a small circle of silk to a piece with contrasting thread, going around and around to get the stitch density right. It felt right and good.

I still use my machine for other parts of the process, but for right now, look for me with a needle in my hand.


The Idaho Beauty said...

Good for you. There's so much to be said for hand stitching.

Sue Spurlock said...

Hurray! Another hand work person!All of my work is done by hand and I understand exactly what you're saying about the meditative experience--the energy and "feel" is so different on multiple levels. Keep it up!