Patchwork Quilt In-Progress

There is something so satisfying about quilt work. It's like making a pie complete with homemade crust and homegrown fruit or handpicked fruit carefully plucked and piled into that pretty straw basket, piece by piece. It's slow design. (You might remember this post I wrote about slow design, it changed my studio thinking.) It's the heirloom. It's the knowledge that there is absolutely a quicker way to achieve a finished product but that you have chosen the slower handmade route instead.

I started this crib quilt for my son just before he was born. I put it aside for those all-consuming newborn months and for the smaller projects that could be finished in just a few hours. But the pace of the quilt is something unique and I've just started working on it again. Slowly. I'm working slowly block by block and stitch by stitch. Now, the top is stitched and all three layers are stitched together--quilt top, flannel lining, cotton backing--and I'm working on the finishing binding. (I found this great tutorial on making binding, FYI.) 

So what is it about slow-making? About homemade pie crusts and handmade quilts? I think it's about reaching back to honor the techniques of our grandparents and our great-grandparents. But not just reaching back but simultaneously reaching forward. At best, a way of honoring the traditional while making it modern. Honoring the slow-making. Using our hands to make the object and to have the satisfaction that we took the various elements and made the whole. That we chose the long route.

By hand. That we chose the long route and made the whole by hand. Yes, I think that is the point.



  1. I think it's simply about making it right. Snipping, sewing, positioning and smoothing your heart and soul into each part, no shortcuts. I have eventually learned to slow down and not skip steps or short change the lowest layer of bricks in my wall. Besides all of this, the quilt is very nice. It is comprised of the colors I expect from you, after following your blog.
    Now, remind me of those all consuming newborn months... I have forgotten ther rhythm in the hustle and noise of an 18 month old. It's going to be a breeze, right?

    P.S. I have always wanted an Amish quilt for about 3 million reasons. One, is that their stitch count is 5 times that of (shall we say) non Amish folk. One day on our way back from NY in the throes of PA, we'll stop. I'll get that quilt.

  2. so impressive. i really love the back with that one stripe...

  3. Gorgeous quilt and where do you find the time?! There is that tremendous satisfaction you'll have when it's done and forever every time you lay your eyes on it. Store bought bias tape, blah! I love to mix patterns along the edge.

  4. I've thought a lot about this topic and don't feel I've quite pinpointed the answer for myself, but I know I crave making by hand. It seems you do too. A darling quilt, Katrina.

  5. beth: yes, one day you must get that amish quilt. i covet them every time my mama takes me to the windmill along seneca lake. gorgeous! so exciting you are expecting your 2nd little one.

    lisa: i debated that stripe across the back but it was insistent. those stripes.

    kathryn: i find the time by not finding the time for so many other things like vacuuming and dusting and keeping up with the laundry. blech. homemade bias tape is dreamy. agreed.

    denise: i don't have an answer either. not for how i draw the line between convenience and craftsmanship. but i'm glad to know you are pondering too.


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.