My work when pieced is machine pieced. As of late I’ve been doing whole cloth pieces that I paint so the sewing machine has had a break for the beginning of the process. When it comes to quilting the piece I definitely use a machine. I give the Amish women a lot of credit for hand quilting these enormous pieces, but I need to get the pieces done in this life time and since I’m only one person the invention of the sewing machine is a blessing.
The interesting thing is that the body of work I’m creating has a lot of hand stitching (seed stitching) on the pieces. I look at it this way. When I quilt a piece with the sewing machine it’s like running and when I seed stitch it’s like taking a long walk, or a long hike to be exact. The difference between these two methods is important because they serve two different purposes in the work and in my life.
Using the sewing machine for stitching allows me to be on auto-pilot at times. I’m very conscious of my breathing during this phase, but sometimes the machine goes so fast that I get caught up in the momentum. When seed stitching it’s about consciousness. It gives me the opportunity to slow things down and create great texture in the work. Nothing about these stitches is uniform so it’s like snowflakes, no two the same. It may take me three times as long to seed stitch on the work than it would if I used the machine, but the results are so unique that for now it’s part of the intentional marks I’m making.
There’s always a place for running, just watch me when I have a deadline. But having the capacity to slow things down, interact with the piece in a more hands on manner, and creating unique patterns makes it all worthwhile. It’s good to take time to walk…give it a try and let me know how it works for you!