On Patience

People often tell me how patient I am to hand stitch my work. I often counter that I am only patient with sewing, not with anything else (although that’s not really true*). We can all be patient doing something we love. It doesn’t require patience to get to the end of a good book as you are enjoying the act of reading. In the same way, I enjoy the act of sewing:

  • the feel of the needle pulling a thread through cloth
  • the patterns it makes
  • the textures thread makes in the cloth
  • the quietness
  • the slowness
  • the connection with the cloth, the thread, the needle
  • the feeling of putting a bit of myself into my sewing

It isn’t about patience, it is about enjoying the process.

I was asked last week about why I sew by hand rather than by machine. I find this an odd question as my work wouldn’t be my work if I made it by machine. I couldn’t make it by machine. It would be completely different work. It wouldn’t be me.

Today, out walking, I figured out the perfect way to explain this:

It is like choosing to walk on a footpath rather than to drive on a road through the countryside. 


Just because there are sewing machines, and faster techniques, doesn’t mean I have to use them. Life isn’t about doing the most in the time available, it is about enjoying the process. I am not a machine. I refuse to confine my creativity within bounds of commercial productivity and speed.  I like slow.

*mostly my lack of patience occurs when people make statements about my personality or lifestyle based on the needle in my hand. I am actually a pretty patient person. Maybe that’s because I love slow sewing.

7 thoughts on “On Patience

  1. Beautifully said 🙂 I couldn’t be without my sewing machines, but hand sewing has a direct line to my heart. I’m a dressmaker and people usually think I’m joking when I say I love hand hemming, or binding, or catch stitching – but it’s my favourite part! Hand stitches have an inherent spirit that a machine just can’t imitate x

  2. Oh my goodness, I couldn’t have said this better myself. The only time I get snippy is when someone asks me “Where do you get the time to stitch all your work by hand?” Ahem. It’s what I do; it’s my job and I love it. ⭐️

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