Friday, July 16, 2010

Thoughts on Hand Quilting

(no new pics of the quilt to show - just a fun beach cottage photo)

1.  It's soooooo sloooooow.  I'm not sure this quilt will be finished this summer.

2.  It hurts!  An experienced quilter told me I will simply develop callouses on my finger and thumb where the needle pricks over and over.  I remember my late grandmother with a piece of tape on her poor quilting thumb and now I wish I could ask her about that.

3.  Practice does make perfect.  My beginning stitches are big and awkward; a few hours later, now my stitches are even and tiny.

4.  Hand quilting is wonderful handwork, if a bit bulky to carry around the quilt.  It's way more fun than knitting, in my opinion, and easy to look around (watch a movie, make eye contact with someone while talking, look out the window while riding in a car).

5.  If I hand quilt a whole quilt again, I want to experiment with using thicker thread, a bigger needle, and bigger stitches; I want all that laborious quilting to show up!


Jennifer Jo said...

Have you seen my mom's book? It's called The Boy and His Quilt ( It's for children, but is informative for adults, too.

AP said...

I highly recommend big-stitch quilting with crochet cotton. It goes fast! I've even done it with a denim quilt.

Laura said...

I am looking forward to seeing your finished quilt! It will be so beautiful!

When I hand-quilted Joan's and Sarah's quilts, I did not use a hoop or a frame, and the stitching moved along fairly quickly. Like you, I noticed that my stitches started out large and clumsy and got smaller and neater as I went on. My thumb did get sore, though, and I pricked my finger many times. I also used a leather thimble part of the time, and that made a nice "rest" for my poor fingertips.

Margo said...

JJ, I do recall reading that book somewhere, but I just reserved it at the library to read to my daughter who hangs over my shoulder when I sew. Thanks!

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

You and Laura (and Jane Brockett) have me contemplating trying my hand at a small quilt. I've actually got a design in mind, but I'm not sure if I'll hand quilt it or not!

I can't wait to see your quilt!

Anonymous said...

I greatly admire your dedication, and I can't wait to see the results. After reading your observations about the process, I think I'll stick to knitting.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up on the hand quilting. It took me a long time but it's worth it. The tiny stitches do show up in a quality sort of way. It's a labor of love. The one problem is that I don't do it enough so that with each quilt I have to build up the callouses again. The key is to be aware as you're assembling the quilt to lay the seams in the direction away from the ditch that you want to quilt in.