5 July 2007

Hand made

This quilt was made by my sister when she sat with our mother as she was dying.

I want to encourage all of you who aren't yet making things by hand to take the plunge. People sometimes limit themselves because they think what they will make won't look as good as what they can buy, and therefore will be useless.

Mass produced clothes, gifts and household items are over rated. Often they are exact clones of what has come before them and what will follow - there is no humanity in them. Machines were developed to produce consistency of product with few flaws. That is fine when you need consistency for safety or some other valid reason, but it becomes bland and repetitive if it is not.

Our individuality marks us as being different to our siblings, friends and those around us. We mark that individuality by truly being the person we are, by our clothes and what we choose to have in our homes. It is a confident statement to be able to make something exactly as you want it to be and feel good about using it. You are tailoring your own life in the way you want it to be, feathering your nest with unique pieces that reflect you and your distinctive complexity. The special things we create mark time in our lives, they hold history and make you think of certain people and happenings. They are more than utilitarian objects.

It amazes me to look at some blogs and see what women are working on in their own homes. Clothes, knitting, bags, and household items that look more elegant and reflective of human qualities than that mass produced sameness of a machine. A machine will rarely place a stitch in an odd way, a machine will work to exactly the same specifications each time and is incapable of putting diversity into anything. We can though. We can make any shape, we can place our stitches where we want them to be, we can blend fabulous colours, we can make family treasures unlike anything available in a store. And the good part of making it yourself is that it is unique and rare ... and it is of you.

A small addition: The quilt in the photo
above is an important part of my family treasures. The mass produced things sitting on it may have cost more than the quilt, but in the overall scheme, they are worthless. When they wear out, they'll be thrown away, or composted and never thought of again. I will never throw this quilt away, it will always hold its history and be the quilt that my sister made for mum. That is priceless.


  1. the quilt is beautiful, as is the story behind it ~ a treasure for sure ! Ali (jasali)

  2. I love the feel of handmade things. You can feel the love that has gone into its making.

  3. What a lovely quilt and story to go with it Rhonda, it certainly is a treasure. These are the items that you pass down through the family to be remembered for many years. Beautiful Neisha

  4. Beautiful quilt and so many memories for you. Something to always treasure.

    cheers Lenny

  5. I just love reading your thoughts about things Rhonda. So inspiring. I love, love, love that quilt. You can feel the love oozing from it. One day I'd love to be able to create something like that.

    I have just started loom knitting and I'm trying to make a wrap for myself. It's so exciting watching it grow and I know I'm going to love wearing it. The loom is great for me as I've never really gotten the hang of knitting on needles. So much of the art of creating no longer gets passed down through the generations.

  6. I love this entry. I think it's my favorite so far, and I've been lurking for awhile. :)

  7. Ali, Jenny, Neisha and Lenny: thank you all for your lovely words. Mum used to ask Trisha to place the quilt over her hospital bed so she would think she was still at home. When the quilt was finished, Trisha couldn't keep it as it held difficult memories for her. She asked if I wanted it and I've cherished it ever since, 1993.

    Lightening, thank you so much. I love having contact with the people who read my blog. I don't know about loom knitting. Can you tell me about it please?

    Erika, I love it when lurkers tell me they're there. Thank you for delurking, I hope to hear from you again soon.

  8. Rhonda you have inspired me to get out my sewing machine again. I used to make alot of my kids clothes when they were little but haven't sewn anything for years. I will start with a Christmas stocking for my new little grandson :) Even the knitting needles have been calling me since I started reading your blog. Thanks for the inspiration to renew the skills that my mother taught me many years ago.
    Cheers, Michelle.

  9. Hi Rhonda,
    You can get looms that are round or a long rectangular shape. Basically you wrap the wool around pegs (in different ways to get different stitches) and then slip it over. I find it so much easier than knitting with needles (which I never got the hang of) and quite fast. I bought my looms but I don't think they'd be that hard to make either. There's a picture on my blog (http://lightening74.blogspot.com) if I'm not explaining myself well enough.


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