Friday, January 18, 2019

contemplating a maker's hands

i am a maker of handmade things

i will always grab the opportunity to take photos of myself at work on my quilts on the rare occasion that i also look nice, such as on a sunday after church. it pleases my vanity.

but i also allow photos at other times. today i even had my daughter grab a full-reveal photo of me at work still in my gym clothes, dirty hair, no make-up, while monitoring her math progress.

this is my life and what it looks like some of the time. this is what i look like some of the time at age 45: i need readers now; i have plenty of grey/white hair; i have a stretched out belly that bore seven children and now retains a few extra pounds; my ears, nose, eyebrows, and chins are all a little more there than they used to be. many days i can be okay with this. on others, i struggle with it like any woman.

my most important making tools

this is just as much who i am as those sunday sewing pretty pictures are, and everything in between is me, too. i'm a middle-aged woman who is trying to age naturally and gracefully, but has very little idea how to in our current youth-crazed culture. i believe in embracing who i am as i continue to age while taking care of myself.

this photo is me, even if it's not who i still feel like inside and rather takes me by surprise when i see it.  because even though i accept aging, i don't feel different inside (other than a few creeping aches and pains) and i still expect to look the same on the outside. a 65-year old friend once told me she felt like she'd stopped aging on the inside somewhere around 25. i'd probably say 30, myself, but i totally agree with her. i don't feel much different even though the years keep piling on. i'm not afraid to count or state my years, believing each one is a blessing rather than something to be ashamed of or hidden.

some other maker's tools

all of this is right in line with a hashtag stream from instagram started by 50-something krista hennebury (@poppyprint) called #amakershands (or #makershands). krista is another woman who resents being told to hide her age and her aging, who would rather be grateful for what her hands can do than worry about how they look or what others think of them. i loved her post about her maker's hands.

this is the photo i posted as part of the "a maker's hands" movement. i do like to photograph my hands at work because i think it's important to preserve the fact that my hands, my most important tools, are what make these quilts. and since i would love to have photos of my grandmothers' hands at work on items i have inherited, i take photos of my hands making things my children and their children might one day inherit.

i feel like our hands are nearly as distinct and recognizable as our faces, and i like photos of my loved ones' hands at any stage as much as photos of their faces.

so i photograph my hands at work a lot.

even though i don't think they are particularly pretty and i have a hard time getting photos of them that i'm pleased with, i keep doing it.

my hands are large but thin, and my knuckles and veins continue to become more noticeable with age. they are picking up sunspots. they look older and more awkward in photos than they do in real life. my daughter even said so recently when i asked her to take a certain picture, "mom, your hands look so different in the photo than what i'm seeing!"

they are what they are, and they serve me well.

i love my hands.
i'm grateful for what they can do.

you may have also noticed that my wedding band shows up in my hand photos a lot. this intentional. it's kind of my hand trademark. if you don't know it's my hands by looking at them, you might recognize the band.

i don't have a diamond engagement ring because we couldn't afford one when we got married as 21 year old struggling college students 24 years ago. but i did get the lovely, thick artcarved band i wanted, and it's been enough for me all these years.

my hands are really busy with binding quilts these last few weeks. 
the third quilt i've bound since christmas is nearly complete.
thank goodness i still have two more to bind because i love handwork!

when i completed the first quilt i started binding this winter, my youngest daughter (age 7) said, "ahw, what?! i don't want you to be done! i like you working on it!" 

i feel the same. 
i like for my hands to have needle and thread work to do.
my maker's hands at work making.
this makes me happy.


  1. I just loved the thoughtful nature of this post. I am now 65 with grown daughters and grandchildren. I remember taking my daughters hand to cross a road. She was about 25 at the time and I marvelled at how smooth and unlined it was. Our hands show our age and our experience. My veins are more prominent, my knuckles slightly swollen and I have age spots but what would I do without them. No quilting, knitting, embroidery, cooking, chopping, gardening. I would be lost without functional hands. I never thought about taking photos with them in before. A great idea!

  2. You have beautiful hands. Our hands take us all through life. I am grateful that God gave me two of them... it just makes life easier all around.
    My mom was born in 1923 and she was born with her right arm ending just beyond the wrist. It ia a hard burden to carry, but my mom was incredible. She help feed the hungry during ww2 and even worked underground to help the jews.
    She married a very handsome sweet man in 1947, my dad. and she had 4 adorable kids. We were the best. She made us clothing, dresses, coats, hats, she made curtains (I still have them, they are made of beautiful bark cloth) and then she made her own fancy dresses, Vogue and Burda. Nothing held her back, well except knitting and crochet BUT she did, in the 1980s teach me gramma how to knit (my dad;s momma) She adored my mom and I adored her! Gramma turned into a knitting machine and made blankets for a nursing home.
    My mom learned to make belgian lace, and all sorts of tatting and laces. I have many many of her creations.
    Anyway, God gave her only one hand, and really I am still astounded by her courage and will.
    My hands, they are dry.

    1. Oh one last thing. She firmly believed she was right handed

  3. Rosemary, thank you SO much for sharing this lovely and inspiring story about your mother. I’m so touched that you chose to tell me about her. And how interesting that she believed she was right handed! (I hope this reply finds you because I couldn’t find the email to respond to.)


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