I picked up some embroidery of late. I used to do a lot of hand work when my babies were small. It was so much easier then starting something larger that I had to stop doing a million times during the day. Embroidery is portable, it is peaceful. I love how the after a few stitches the needle dances in and out of the fabric or in this case the felt. I love the rhythm of handwork and the romance. -Is it weird to be romanced by a needle and thread. I imagine it to be as rewarding as painting is to a painter. My aunt came for a visit yesterday and asked if I used a thimble and while I own a nice leather thimble I only use it for hand stitching quilt binding. For free-hand needle work I just sew taking the needle pricks for the team.
A few years ago I had to stop doing embroidery because my thumb hurt in the worst way- I was sure it was from all the hand sewing. It made me grateful that I could just stop. It made me think of all the women who had to hand sew from sun up to sun down just to make a living. So many of the hobbies we have now for relaxation were once done for the sake of survival of both mind and body. Quilting is one of those women in the 1900's quilting was both practical for warmth and for the sake of the heart. For many it was their only way to visit with other women. I think of the women on the prairie some who died of loneliness in their mud huts during harsh winters. When the snow stopped they got together and pieced a quilt. That fascinates me.
Of course there is also the underground railroad. Quilts meant survival. Last weekend Troy and the boys and I were at an antique shop and Everett spotted a quilt he says mom look that is the North Star pattern. My eyes lit up "how did you know that?" I asked him "If that quilt was hanging outside the people who were escaping the South knew they were at their final destination to the North" he tells me. I must remember to thank his teacher - what a cool lesson to learn.