Private stitches

A few people have asked me if I am lonely. Interesting question. Not really. I  have enjoyed the privacy and quiet- that is not to say that I am not curious about what is happening with everyone. Or that I do not care about people. It is more an issue of jealously guarding my time and my solitude.

Today I had probably the first social lunch of my sabbatical with a great old friend, K. She is one of the only people that I like to have lunch with- the conversation flows, is not forced, and we share so much in common. Both businesswomen. Both inherently private souls. Both creatively involved. And we have known each other for probably over 20 years.

We had a date at the Textile Museum to see the Blue exhibit. But the truth is that I mostly just wanted to talk. So we kind of rushed through the exhibit so we could go have lunch and sit. And it was wonderful just to have lunch together. We talked and talked and talked. About her work. And my work. Her creative pursuits and mine.

We talked about creative revisions- how we tend to work a piece over and over until it is right. She is a master poet who works with words- I am a quilter and work with fabric- but the similarities in process are amazing.
Both of us are perfectionists in a certain way- and both highly critical of the work we each produce.  K will work a draft over until it is right, and I will rip out a seam a dozen times until I am satisfied. And both of us are outwardly strong independent women who have learned to channel our private thoughts into our creative pursuits- sometimes hiding the emotions we both feel - she in words and poems, and me in colors and textures.

Hand quilting

Last night I spent 2 hours doing some hand quilting to a piece that I have been working on for a few months. It is an intense piece that was machine pieced rather quickly during a stressful period in my life- and  then it has taken me hours and hours to hand quilt the texture into it. Tiny tiny stitches that hurt my fingers sometimes- but I think that hand quilting is the closest that I will ever get to meditation. You really can not do much else when you are hand quilting. Can't watch TV, or walk, or look anyone in the face. Can't hand quilt and do anything except focus on a piece of material that is 8" from your face. And the movements of stitching can be very regular and hypnotic. So it gives me lots of time to think- and listen to music. It is the relaxing part of quilting- until your brain takes you to places you would rather not go. But in many ways it is also a release.

Most people miss  hand quilting- don't see the stitching or realize that there is often meaning in the lines. The lines on the quilt that I am working on right now are what make the quilt. They go from very tightly organized (around a square) to lines that wobble and cross each other and are out of control. And the lines mean a great deal to me, as I stitch and reflect on why I produced this quilt.