My great-grandmother would spend a month or more piecing together and then quilting a new blanket for her bed. Today we can purchase a quilt online, then find perfectly coordinating sheets, shams, dust ruffle, curtains and rug...AND have all of it shipped to our door overnight. It is no wonder that few still create these things by hand.
Crochet, quilting, sewing, painting, tatting, woodworking, knitting and the like are all but lost arts in our society. Handmade gifts have been replaced by mass produced replicas. Store bought items are readily available, often affordable, and do not bear the imperfections of their handmade equivalents. We have become so accustomed to store bought versions that we don't think much about what we are losing by not keeping the arts like quilting, woodworking, and knitting alive.
I recently learned to crochet and am working on my first afghan. I have spent hours sitting on the couch by the fire this winter working on it while my family watches TV, does homework, or whatever. I am beginning to fully understand the concept of "made with love" because I do not put this much into a gift bought online or in a store, no matter the cost. My love for this person is in every stitch of the afghan I am making for her. It is special, unique, one of a kind, unlike any other. While it is not perfect, and certainly does not meet my need for instant gratification, my hands have tenderly touched every single stitch (so far, about 15,000, but who's counting?).
We have lost so much more than a few "arts" when we speak of the lost arts of sewing, crochet, knitting, quilting and the like. While our technology can replicate and mass produce the afghan, quilt, painting, sweater, lace, table, and dress, it cannot replicate the love that is poured into such an item when it is created by hand. Should you find yourself in possession of such an item, treasure it, not for the item itself, but for the love with which it was created.