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23 October 2007

Beautiful curtains

I read the following quote for the first time on Jewel's blog. It really sums up, in an eloquent way, how I feel about my home.

If you wanted to gather up all tender memories, all lights and shadows of the heart, all banquetings and reunions, all filial, fraternal, paternal, conjugal affections, and had only four letters with which to spell out the height and depth and length, and breadth and magnitude and eternity of meaning, you would write it all out with these four capital letters: H-O-M-E.
Thomas DeWitt Talmage

My home is such a joy to me nowadays that I fret when I'm away from it. When we went to Brisbane on the weekend, looking for, and not finding, our kitchen appliances, I said more than once, "let's go home". And I meant it. I don't like what I find when I go out. Generally, people are more social but less socialised. There is pushing, rudeness and a "me first" attitude.

I am content at
home. I know each and every inch; all the trees, smells and breezes. I know the length and breadth of this place and nowhere else is as comfortable to me as my home. And as the quoted paragraph above says, all tender memories and eternity of meaning are bound up here. It's my important place. It's where I've buried my soul and where I will live until I cease to be.

I spent Sunday afternoon relaxing and stitching on the front verandah. Hanno was out, Tricia went to visit our cousin, and I was well content to stay in my place. I'm enjoying making these curtains for the kitchen. It seems to me that stitching something functional, something that will serve for its usefulness rather than it's beauty, is more rewarding than a merely decorative piece. With each stitch I feel I connect with my female antecedents as I am sure they did similar work at many points in their lives. All the sounds I hear while stitching, all the bird song, the children at play, the wind rustling leaves and a rooster crowing in the distance are all sounds my great great grandmothers, and their great great grandmothers, might have heard while they sat stitching. There is a connection there, made only because I sit at home and stitch. I am privileged to feel that connection.

A friend asked me the other day why I bothered stitching because it was so slow. She thought I should buy fabric already patterned or curtains already made. I mumbled something about enjoying the sewing then we talked about something else. I thought about that again later and one of the main reasons I like stitching by hand is that it is slow. That slow, rhythmic repetition is part of the charm of it. How many solitary active things do we do now that slow us down enough to allow concentration and mindfulness. Not many.

Maybe the world is being divided into shoppers and stitchers. If it is, I think the shoppers will win all the battles, but the stitchers will have beautiful curtains. : )


  1. Rhonda,

    Your curtains are turning out wonderful:) I agree I could sit and stitch all day long. Before my girls were born and I had more time;) I use to get off work and stitch every second I had. Now days I have to make time to sit still and I enjoy making pillow cases and such.

    Blessings to you!


    from Ky

  2. ,,,and the knitters will have beautiful afghans.

    (sigh.) One day.....

  3. RJ, there's been a "slow cooking" revolution, a.k.a cooking from scratch....why not a slow stitch one? People are losing their ability to be patient, and perhaps this is one of the things we reclaim trying to live simply. Happy stitching. Lisa J

  4. I am finding it far more rewarding to make something functional too Rhonda and if it can be as beautiful as your hand stitched curtains look like being then that's a big bonus.

    Like you I'd rather be at home and cannot for the life of me work our why some people think of shopping as recreation.

  5. Another Great Post.I agree with you.
    Living on property fo 5 generations makes me fell very connected to my Family before me. My tap root runs deep, deep here .:o)
    I Love stitching .I Love the simple side of life and I'm so Thankful I don't have to go outside our Home unless I need or want to. I AM BLESSED!!!!!!
    Have a Great day!

  6. "but the stitchers will have beautiful curtains. : )"...and the memories to fill a life time.

    The curtains are lovely Rhonda

  7. yes, and as an artist I love doing oil paintings because you can only do one small layer at a time and then have to let it dry which could take days. I visit the painting frequently and just look and plan my next layer. Aaaaah.

    A question... if I stitch colored thread onto white fabric, how do I keep it from bleeding when I wash it?

    I love your stitching, by the way!

  8. Hi Rhonda, I love the curtains! I feel the connection with all my grandmother's through the ages when I hang out the wash. I always close my eyes for a few seconds and think of them caring for their families with love and clean clothes! I am stitching many gifts for Christmas and it is so relaxing. Thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts, Dee

  9. The curtains are lovely. You have done a great job.It's wonderful isn't it to be able to embellish something so practical and make it even more beautiful.
    You have to feel sorry for people who find the shopping centres more comfortable than their own homes, and the company of strangers preferable to their own company and their families.

  10. Hi Rhonda-your hand-stitched curtains are looking so pretty. Now that it is fall in the U.S.A. I find myself embroidering pillow cases and knitting away making another tahua tudor shawl. Jewels introduced me to the tahua tudor site and I really feel that I really love it when I've made a shawl or sweater by hand for someone. Not just store bought. It is simple living and I really enjoy it. Blessings Rose-come visit me at my new blog.

  11. Lovely post, and lovely curtains Rhonda. Home is great, but I still think we all need to force ourselves out of our comfort zones some of the time to engage with the new and unfamiliar, and challenge ourselves. This builds the skills that make us resilient and resourceful and tolerant. It can be uncomfortable and a bit scary sometimes, but you come back from these encounters with a broader perspective and a better appreciation of what you have that is good, as you have observed. There are many lovely and wonderful and stimulating and inspiring things and people out there, as well as the nastier sides of life. Go to the opera next time, instead of the appliance shop - people are very civilised and socialised there, and don't push and shove, as they share something beautiful, and the sharing makes it more wonderful.

  12. Oh Rhonda - you'll have be taking up stitching at this rate. :-) First knitting.... LOL. I think that's one of the things I do love about knitting. It's slow and rhythmical and somehow I feel "connected" in a way that much of life doesn't offer. It's about so much more than money and convenience and efficiency.... we've lost something really valuable in allowing machines to take over haven't we.

    Polly - I am a slowly reforming "shopping for recreation - aholic". :-) I think people just don't know any better. Things from the outside can appear so much different to how they really are. I NEVER thought I'd take up knitting and ENJOY it!!! I thought it looked like a horrible, boring, tedious task and why would anyone be bothered? It's not until you try it that you "get" it. I think it's a bit the same with all things "simple living". How they appear to someone who's never been there are so different to how they are once you try them.

    I love the way the internet has enabled those like you Rhonda to share with others what you are doing. Not in a preaching, judgemental way but simply in a "sharing" manner. It's such a wonderful gift to those of us who are younger (or not) and don't KNOW any different (or at least we didn't). :-)

  13. I know what you mean, Rhonda. I can err towards being reclusive if I am not careful...I'm just happiest at home.
    Lovely curtains!

  14. Dear Rhonda;

    As we sit still; and we pull the needle thru, the stitch is made and we go on to the next one; we allow our minds to wander; we breathe deeply, we become involved in the weight of the thread, the noise of the needle been pulled through... Yes, the stitchers will have memories and most of all patience. Your curtains are lovely!

    Blessings dear Rhonda!


  15. Oh, Rhonda! Well said! Recently I was purchasing several yards of plain cotton muslin that I will embroider for beautiful dish towels to use in my kitchen. The woman at the fabric store cutting my fabric couldn't imagine that I would want to stitch the patterns by hand to use for "gasp" dish towels! Why not get an embroidery machine, she asked. I cannot imagine giving up the loveliness that is hand stitching....the peacefulness of it, the relaxation of it, watching my designs emerge stitch by stitch. And I do truly love taking the time to make beautiful, functional things for my home. Thanks for te post!

  16. Thank you ladies. I love your comments, they always make me re-read my posts to incorporate what you all say.

    Heather, you should always use good quality thread like DMC or Anchor. They won't bleed. I am using DMC 495 for my curtains.

    Marg, I see my two days at the Nieghbourhood Centre as my time out in the big world. I'm definately out of my confort zone there, but it is so rewarding and stimulating.

    Lightening, I'm the last person qualified to preach or judge. I'm just an ordinary woman hoping to help others with my daily sharings. And like you, I love how we can do that on the internet and find others with similar values to share with.

    Thank you all for sharing your poetic thoughts.

    I've been at work all day and I'm just about ready to fall in a heap. So I'll see you all tomorrow, my friends.

  17. I keep seeing references to a Tasha Tudor shawl. Would someone please post a link. I'm looking for a new winter project and it sounds lovely.

    I love the curtains too. Homemade socks are my thing. I could knit socks for everyone I know and have a lovely time doing it. I know they'll be warm, comfortable, and well used.


  18. I think the world is separating into "shoppers" and "doers" and neither group seems to understand the other. I find the shoppers' energy to be a little too frantic, which is why they'd never have the patience to be "doers." You can buy chopped onions; why chop your own? You can buy socks; why knit your own? You can buy embroidered curtains...They don't "get" the positive benefits of the connection between the act of creation and the result. Keeps you grounded and real.

  19. Rhonda, what a sweet post! I just visited Jenny's blog and both you ladies really inspire me today. I love slow handiwork as well. I love to sit knitting, yarn sliding through my fingers, just like my mother and grandmother and great-grandmother... it just feels so good and relaxing. If the world, indeed, must divide into shoppers and stitchers, there's no doubt about which camp I'd join ;)

  20. Beautiful work-stitching always helps me stay calm and focused even when the world around me is anything but calm!! Thank you for the pattern for the stitchery and the great ideas you have given all of us. It is always fun to read your posts and learn from them. Sharon

  21. The curtain you're stitching looks beautiful! I vote for stitching over shopping any day.
    Take care,


  22. I think your curtains will turn out beautifully! They are so pretty and I love the fact that you can sit back and enjoy the fact that you made them with your own hands!


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