Slowing down, getting small
After the Nashville shooting, taking some time to process, little by slow.
It’s been a heavy week, with the Nashville school shooting and, closer to home, the migrant center fire in Ciudad Juarez and all the awful bills coming out of this year’s legislative session.
It’s a lot to handle.
I’m learning that when it feels like things are getting to be just a little too much, which is at least a few times a year at this point, I have to do things with my hands. Pull weeds. Play piano. Match every last loose sock in the house.
Sometimes, I use those hands to write, and sometimes I use those hands to sew.
I remembered that one of my online quilting friends makes these tiny quilts that are meant to fit into a pocket or a wallet.
Then I thought about Annie Lamott and her one-inch picture frame, and adrienne maree brown’s “Small is all,” the first of nine principles in Emergent Strategy. (Scroll down to read all of them.)
To get through this week, I was going to have to go small.
I found an online tutorial, threaded my needle, picked out some scrap fabric and slowly started stitching together these 1-inch pieces of fabric. Instead of using an iron, I used by fingernail to press the seam.
I never baste, but here I was, making small invisible stitches to hold down a seam that was only a few millimeters wide and that no one would ever see. I started thinking about the friends I wanted to give these little quilts so, and my energy shifted from anxious about what news might happen next into a sense of generosity and connection.
About an hour after I started, I was whipstitching the last edge of these tiny little treasures, made from well-loved scraps of clothes, that are small enough fit in your palm.
As I stroked the front, I noticed that the hand-stitching them gives them a different texture than the machine-sewn work. It’s almost as if our hands can perceive the extra fingerprints that our eyes cannot see.
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