I was joining rows on the very large quilt I’m working on right now and was reminded how much we use our bodies when we make quilts — anything with our hands, really.
My rows were 5 blocks across. No big deal, except that each block is 12″ x 12″. So I’m flipping one side back and forth, gently laying pieces on my shoulder, feeling with my fingers (also known as “burning my fingers”) as I work the iron over the seam. You can’t use too much force or you’ll stretch out your patchwork; you can’t use too little or you won’t achieve that gorgeous, crisp edge.
I discovered at the ironing board that if I squatted down a bit, really put myself eye-level to the board and worked from that plane, then I was truly confident about my press. It was very modern dance of me, which felt good, but the resulting patchwork was better, which was the goal.
To make a quilt is to put a piece of oneself into something outside of oneself. But I’ve discovered that in fact the whole body — not just the hands — yearn to be used for the pursuit.