I couldn't keep my hands or my mind off it. Although I had vowed to let it wait until after Logan's birthday feast on Sunday, it soon became clear to me that I would have no peace of mind until I had put the first quilting stitches into this quilt, proving to myself that it could be done and that I could do it. I freely admit that quilting or fabric or sewing (I'm not clear which it is) is an obsession with me. My hands are not happy unless they are touching fabric. What you see in the photo above is probably a year's worth of guaranteed happiness. It doesn't take much in the way of equipment, but the bulk of such a large quilt keeps it from being very portable and makes for slow going.
Yesterday I designed the quilting pattern for the first block, marked the pattern on the quilt, threaded fifty of these teeny tiny needles, and took the first stitches in the top. Because I hadn't done any hand quilting for over a year, my hands are out of condition and I wasn't able to do very much. I spent some time working on a separate test piece to make sure I was up to the task; I was afraid that maybe I had forgotten how to make the little stitches. But, apparently it is stored in muscle memory because the moment I held the needle, the rhythm of the rocking quilter's stitch came right back. I find it very soothing. As soon as I get a quilter's callous built up on the middle finger of my left hand, I should be set for hours (and days and weeks) of pleasant nearly mindless, but soothing needling. I plan to watch LOTS of movies and I've re-joined the community center health club so that I will pry myself out of my chair and get some exercise.