Friday, March 19, 2010

slow cloth

OK--despite the title, this post is not about me grumbling about how long the quilt "endless fields" is taking though it seems like forever.  Just read through to the end--there is a point but first I must prove there is progress though not nearly enough:

I've figured out I can make ten blocks each day. No more and I'm too tired. No less and I won't get it done. You may think that's a lot--but considering  I'm working 9-5 every day that's just a bit more than a block an hour.  So so slow.

Now why you may ask. Well each block contains not one but two color ways which I have to create by cutting and piecing maybe 15-20 fabrics together. The blocks go from light until dark and each one is a different size. And each color is a slightly different palette--let's make life as interesting as possible.Why did I do this to myself anyway?

Here is just one block--and it's a little one.

Can you figure out where this piece goes in the quilt-- hint, it is already there.


Did you find it? OK--so as you've probably figured out, I love what I am doing. I wouldn't be doing it otherwise. Trust me--there's lots of easier ways to support myself. But I do love it and I love getting lost in each quilt.

Guess what, I just found there is a new movement that honors this type of work. Can you believe it? It's called "slow cloth" --see there was a point to the title of this post--like slow food but it's about people who work with fabric.  I first heard about it through this article on the web Of course I joined their FB fanpage right away. It feels like home.

There are 10 principles--it was hard to decide my favorites but here are a couple. Do read through and tell me what you think. They are from The Ten Qualities of Slow Cloth. Which one is your favorite?
This is copyright by  Elaine Lipson, 2008, 2009, 2010 and used with her permission Check out her link for all ten.

Slow Cloth has the possibility of joy in the process. In other words, the journey matters as much as the destination.

Slow Cloth is thoughtful in its use of materials and respects their source.

Slow Cloth supports community by sharing knowledge and respecting relationships.

And while you are at it feel free to check out my website too:


  1. I joined the Slow Cloth facebook group too, Ann. Which is where I found your blog!
    Like you say, it immediately felt like home and the principles epitomise exactly what I had been thinking for a long time.
    Your work is painstakingly beautiful, by the way. I really admire it.

  2. Thanks Marion. I did feel that the Slow Cloth movement embodied everything I stood for. It is so rare and delightful when that happens. Looking at your work I could see why you also joined their FB Fan page.

  3. It's so interesting to see how each person lays out their work differently. Love where it is going!

  4. Oh, Ann, I'm such a fast girl (no patience at all), but you make me see the appeal of slow anything. I'm glad you found Slow Cloth; it sounds like you!

  5. Hi Ann -
    Just sent you an e-mail -- I'm thrilled that you like my 10 Qualities of Slow Cloth. Thank you so much for your kind words! Since you've quoted me directly, I know you won't mind identifying me as the author and adding correct attribution and a link to the original text on my blog. Quoting is okay under a Creative Commons license, as long as it's for noncommercial purposes and you fully attribute and link it. Thanks.
    Elaine Lipson

  6. Note to all-- Elaine Lipson is absolutely right that in my excitement I failed to give her full attribution for this idea. I edited my blog to include her name, blog site and the fact that the ten principles are copyrighted. It was my mistake--please if you do quote these principles ask for her permission. We should be more careful of protecting intellectual copyrights.

  7. Too often for business sake I get caught up in trying to find a faster way to accomplish what I need to do, BUT I do so enjoy the process more when I work by hand vs. my machine. Thanks for the link.

  8. Hand stitchery with natural fibres used to be called embroidery, and the embroiderers' guilds were the repository of all the technical knowledge and history of stitch, as in all other traditional and historic craft guilds; and they have long been the very embodiment of all these sharing and caring ideals ...

  9. I just found your web/blogsites and your quilts are just stunning.

    What are those white squares that are underneath the blocks on your felt board?

    This quilt should be gorgeous when it's finished!


  10. Hi Janet,

    Thanks for your lovely comment. I make the quilts in blocks using a method I call quilt as you go. To do this I have a piece of plain colored fabric that is the back of the piece, a piece of cotton batting--which is often white, and then I sew the tiny pieces of cotton batting onto this block. The white is the cotton batting. I do hope this answers the question--if not, I will gladly explain again--you will have an ah-ha-moment.

  11. Anne,

    Thanks for trying to explain, but unfortunately, I have a real problem in understanding written directions. I usually need to see something being done to understand how to do it.

    Do you mean that you have a piece of base fabric that becomes the back, then a piece of cotton batting on top, and then you sew the strips of material on top of the batting?? Or are all the strips sewn together before you sew it to the batting?

    Sorry for being a pest. I wish there were art quilt technique classes at the local community college like weaving or needlepoint, but I think that we are a long way away from that!


  12. Hi Janet,

    It is the former. I did write about it or Thread magazine way back in September 1999. If you think about it, you may have an uh-huh moment--lots of people do. Otherwise, I will post pictures at some point. Don't know where you live, I will be doing the Smithsonian Craft Show in DC at the end of April--can explain then. Keep in touch--you will understand--guaranteed.