27 March 2017

The meditative effect of reverse sewing

Every day for the past few weeks, I've been unpicking the machine quilting on a friend's quilt. It was stitched so poorly by a commercial quilter that my friend knew she couldn't tolerate it. I offered to unpick it for her and so, armed with my trusty seam ripper and magnifying glasses, I started.


It is a huge quilt and it took many hours to separate the layers. It was fiddly work and yet strangely calming. I've found that I enjoyed the process while simultaneously feeling sad that it needed to be done. This quilt will be reborn later with my friend's beautiful hand quilting that will make it shine.

What have I cherished while unpicking the stitching on this quilt?


  • Quiet time with my partner. He's read a book or watched a television show with the volume turned down low. We've been in each other's company while doing separate activities.
  • Listening to podcasts to learn new things. The hours flew past while my mind was occupied with what I was hearing and my hands were busy with the seam ripper.
  • Thinking about ideas for novels. It's always fascinating how my mind roams as it considers what to write and how to plot the stories.
  • Simply listening to the noises around me. My neighbourhood has its own combination of silences and noises. It's comforting to know, just by the sounds, that I am home.
  • Making myself get up to move for ten minutes each hour. Thanks to the notifications on my Fitbit, I know when to walk each hour. Without these, I'm sure I would have stayed on my couch.
  • Catching up on the latest TV series of Vera, which I had recorded. Love these stories.
  • Knowing that my friend will be happy when she receives her beautiful quilt top back without all the ugly stitching.
  • Just being. This was the best of all; simply being, with the pile of black threads growing along side me as I rhythmically removed thread.
It's been meditative but I have to say I'm oh so glad it's over now!  

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