Why Quilting Artists Are Slowing Down

What do you get out of fiber and quilting arts? A pile of quilts? An expression of your creativity? A way to escape the world? An excuse to go to the fabric store?

prescription for slow quilt art
A prescription for slow stitching by quilt artist Mark Lipinski.

As quilting artists, we all have our reasons–and they're all valid.

For me, quilting, sewing, and other fiber arts serve as outlets for creativity, ways to relax and unburden my mind, and even practical pursuits (making gifts and decor).

But sometimes, the number of projects on my table–or in my head–can stress me out. I've heard other quilters say that seeing what other quilt artists are doing on social media causes them anxiety: they fell like they are 'behind' somehow. And the sheer number of tools, fabrics, kits, patterns, and supplies to choose from for art quilting can be overwhelming.

Over the years I've found that, instead of looking for shortcuts or adding more projects or supplies, the best way to approach my fiber art is to slow down and simplify.

Mindful creating, or paying close attention to what you're doing. how you are doing it, and the materials you're using, can help you regain the "Zen" of your favorite pastime. Not to mention how much better your results will be.

This is the message quilter and personality Mark Lipinski is trying to promote with his "Slow Stitching Movement." Mark has been lecturing on the topic for about a year now. Judging by the enthusiastic reception for the topic, many in the quilt community crave ways to slow down and enjoy their quilting again.

Mark makes it clear that there will always be a place for the get 'er done project or the jelly roll strip quilt. But he wants to bring back the joys and benefits of losing yourself in a project by giving it all your care and attention. 

Here are some of his tips:

Pause and reflect. Take a couple of minutes before you hit the sewing machine pedal to think about your project, what you're trying to accomplish, and to consider the tools and materials you are using. Consciously breathe in and out to prepare yourself for the work ahead.

Stitch intentionally. There are times when it's good to just practice, doodle, and play with fabrics with no particular plan. When you slow stitch, think about what you want to accomplish with your stitching and focus on it intently.

Give it 20 minutes a day. You don't have to slow stitch all the time, for every project. In fact, Mark says you may not actually enjoy your slow stitching at first: your mind will want to wander over to the 10 other things you 'should' be doing right now, how hungry you are, or what your best friend might be up to. Like anything else worth doing, you might need to practice. That's why Mark recommends giving over just 20 minutes a day to slow stitching. The goal is to make it a habit. 

There is so much more to The Slow Stitching Movement: how it can improve your creative quilt art, encourage your to create a legacy quilt, benefit your health, and much more.

Mark will tell you all about it in a new version of Mark Lipinski Presents The Slow Stitching Movement Creating, Promoting, and Sustaining a New Vision in Quiltmaking, a live webinar, April 15, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET.

Get all the details and register now!

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