Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Art of Taking it Slow

Tom Hilton via flickr.com Creative Commons

I'm been thinking a lot about sewing. Shocking, I know. Specifically, I've been thinking about patience and how important it is. About going slowly. About taking time to do things the right way. And about how this does not come naturally for me. In sewing or in the rest of my life.

Let's see: I drive aggressively. I rarely dawdle. My husband does, and it drives me nuts. I walk with a purpose. He jokes that our honeymoon in New York City was a week of me walking one block ahead of him. It's a joke, but it's kind of true, too. I go through life -- through the grocery store, through making a recipe, through a sewing project -- with urgency. Always. I want to get to the finish line, the next item on my to-do list, the next intersection, whatever -- and I want to get there quickly.

This is why sewing is an odd fit for me. Odd, but also good. I need to slow down. I need to learn to focus on intricacies, on finding joy in the process of making something with my two hands.

I tend to pick projects I know can be completed quickly. But even those test my need for speed. My stitches always start a little out of control. I have trouble finding the right pressure with my foot for nice, even, slow, steady stitches. When I do find it, I must constantly focus on maintaining it. Going stitch by stitch, keeping my seam allowance correct, ensuring all the layers are still perfectly aligned -- if I lose focus or patience, as I do on nearly every project, I'll try to get around doing these things. I'll speed up, then stop, see the damage and reach for the seam ripper.

I skip other steps, too, in my pursuit to hurry. I sometimes don't pre-wash or iron my fabric.  I sometimes don't pin. I sometimes don't measure and cut as carefully as I should.

I used to fall into these traps more often. I've learned that while they might slow me down for the moment, they'll speed me up overall. Because not taking the proper precautions results in messy finished products. Most of the time, anyway. Sometimes it all works, even in my hurried state.

So, I'm getting there. I'm learning to enjoy and appreciate and yes, give in to, the process. Sloooow down, I tell myself, over and over.

OK, so why am I sharing this? I'm hoping that you maybe think these things, too. Do you struggle with finding patience when it comes to sewing? Are you bad at going slow, too? What do you do to keep your pace steady?


  1. I struggle with finding patience with everything. ;) Thanks for stopping by today. :)

  2. I pretty much relate to everything you just said (about driving,walking fast, trying to finish projects super fast, etc.) I am exactly the same way. I can't do anything slow. Patience would be a good thing for me to work on too...

  3. I'm super impatient and I started quilting last year (perfect hobby for fabric addicts)! I'm still impatient, but I've definitely been learning to enjoy the process.