Use for the Leftovers

The other day I was watching an episode of Quilting Arts TV. The host, Susan Brubaker-Knapp was interviewing Mark Lipinski. For a couple years, I’ve heard of his “Slow Stitching Movement.” I don’t know much about this iconic quilter, but I suspected what he was talking about was hand sewing. Slowing down and enjoying the stitch.

Well, it turns out I was half-right. His concept isn’t about doing hand work, but it is about slowing down and experiencing the process. I’ve been a similar journey for many years, I know it as being mindful and present in the moment.

PatchesIt took watching this program, to realize that I could, and should, be applying the same concepts to my sewing. One concept Mark addresses is taking inspiration from things around you. He says that each day he takes a photo that inspires him. In the land of cellphones and iPads, this is pretty easy to accomplish. I’m trying to do this. I’m not so faithful about doing it everyday.

Another thing, Mark says he does is sew mindfully for 30 minutes, twice, everyday. In his demo he was just sewing strips of fabric. As he was doing it, he was paying attention to the sound and motion of the machine. It put him in the present moment; mindful. Brilliant.

I’m still in my little rutt, but doing what I can to keep the creativity flowing through my veins. Last week I tried Mark’s sewing technique. For the past 6 years, I’ve been collecting the interesting cut-aways from my quilts. These cut-aways are the pieces that I remove when I square up the edges after finishing a quilt. Last week, I trimmed these pieces into strips of various widths and then randomly stitched them together to create colorful quilted panels. I have a couple ideas about how to use them.

These panels inspire me because they show a bit of my history. I know where each piece came from. Some of the original quilted fabric were deconstructed from artwork that didn’t quite make it the first time around. I think I’m going to do more of this. Instead of piecing fabric, I could do free motion stitching 30 minutes each day. That could be fun and now I’ve found a use for the leftovers.