Correctly translated "porté à la main" means literally carried by hand.
But who in Louisiana ever says something in French and means it literally?
Eventually the longer phrase was shortened to "à main" which, when translated literally is the hand, but means to pick up and go. Without plans. As I'm dressed. Without anything I might need later. To just go! We Louisianans love our French and it's those little phrases that our parents and grandparents used in their common speech that we've held onto the most. Even those of us who don't speak French (of any kind) know at least a few of these phrases.
So I would say, for example, I left my quilt "à main" (without getting to a good stopping point) and I could mean any number of ways to have left my quilt. In this particular case, I left with the quilt still on the machine, the needle in the down position in the fabric, and praying that nothing came along and jerked on the quilt top. I don't remember the reason or the rush, but it must have been somewhat important. Otherwise this state of affairs just wouldn't happen. I didn't return that night. (No way!)
The following day I was sick with a virus. Too sick to go to the studio or remember how that quilt top was hanging on (off?) the machine. I recovered just in time three days later to get on a bus to Slidell. That led into Sunday and Catherine's First Holy Communion. Then on Monday I left for Paducah. In all this time--surely well over a week--the quilt top and machine have been patiently waiting "à main" for my return.
And here we are. I've finished the seam, added another strip of yellow to the other side and moved the top to the design wall. Where it will stay until I can load it onto the long-arm. Hopefully that will be tomorrow, but my virus has been through the entire Marcotte Lot and there are still people unable to drag themselves out of bed. Talk about looking "à main" and rough!
Would you like it? The virus, I mean. It will be shipped to you "à main" tonight. No waiting, no getting all dressed up.