Jeanette’s question about technique has been on my mind. How do I want to finish the top of the T-shirt quilt? Really? How does it want to be done? I don’t want to lose the fluidity, or the pouffiness, or the wonkiness, for that matter. How much hand quilting should I do? Just in the ditch between blocks? Perhaps I should just tie it?

I have been really troubling about what I should do and how it will look. Meanwhile, I am halfway through sewing another thing for me, for wearing. I have been working on it this evening with a couple of beers and radio 4 (that’s living, I tell ya). I am at the finishing stages and I had an odd but good moment, which has led me to think I should try not to worry about the quilt, and take the attitude I usually do with knitting, which is to just go with it, and it will probably be alright.

While I like crewel embroidery, and quite enjoy finishing my knitting (unlike others I know) I have always disliked slip-stitching linings and hems — this, I think, goes back to having to sew the hems of my school skirts (sorry, Ma, but you know it is true — I was a horribly precocious 12 year old, and would have rather been reading a Georgette Heyer novel, or pretending I had the stigmata, or something, than slip-stitching the hem of a skirt). Anyway, there was a moment this evening, while distractedly slip-stitching the lining of my garment to its zip-tape, when my hands just started to work the other way . I had changed what I was doing and was slip stitching the right way! it felt right!

Gawd knows what is different, I really can’t explain it, but all I can say is that before I started sticking the needle in like this my hands were doing The Bad Thing that they must have been doing since I was twelve. I only hated slip-stitching because I was a crappy slip-stitcher. Suddenly I was zooming down the zip like nobody’s business and it felt good and speedy, like crochet, or picking up stitches, or knitting continental. Somehow, and quite unlike my approach to knitting, I have never thought about sewing or embroidery as a physical technique — I did not reflect on the appropriate motion of my hands. This is evidently about my attitude to the activity, and I do feel that something has changed. It is equivalent to a moment about three years ago when, after winding a strand around my ring finger, I felt that my right hand had begun to feed the yarn towards the needles in a way that controlled my tension in a way that was exactly right. I’ve had a few beers, remember, and the temptation here is to wankily philosophise, but I do feel, just as I do with knitting that the thing is to Trust Yer Hands. Now it is time for the T-Shirt quilt top. . .

Note: my slipped-stitch lining fabric has a knitting theme. Of course it does!