HAND QUILTING or MACHINE QUILTING

Today I want to talk to you about my thoughts on Hand Quilting and Machine Quilting

Let me get one thing straight up front.

Personally I Love Hand Quilting

And

I love Machine Quilting (All kinds)

Do you Hand Quilt?

Look at those fabulous hand quilted spirals on my Welsh Wizards Quilt.

Or

Do you Machine Quilt?

And this lovely machine stitched Echo Quilting on my Lynne Edwards Sampler Quilt

Hand Quilting is sometimes seen as somewhat superior to machine quilting.

And this winds me up.

Yes it takes longer to Hand Quilt and the designs and patterns are often full of meaning and history. Hand Quilted Quilts are simply fabulous. Whether you follow a pattern or make your own designs.  Created using just a needle and thread through your Quilt Sandwich. Simply Magic.

But

This viewpoint seems to totally ignore the time and skills it takes to perfect the different methods of Machine Quilting.

Yes, it’s a quicker process once you have mastered the skills needed. But mastering those skills takes time and perseverance.

I often feel that people, especially non Stitchers think I simple throw some fabrics in the general direction of my Sewing Machine and out pops a completed quilt. Grrr…..

How often have you heard it said ‘she hand quilted this one’ or this is ‘hand quilted’. Which is great. It good to take pride in our hand work. But I feel Machine made Quilts don’t get quite the same adoration.

Don’t get me wrong. I love hand quilting. I hand quilt myself and I’m a big fan of Hand Quilting. But as a Quilter who both Machine and Hand Quilts I know just how much time and skill building goes into Machine Quilting.

Well done all Quilters I say.

Now I do hand quilt myself. In fact I have just finished a rather lovely Welsh inspired quilt. I am very proud of this quilt and love the textured finish you get with hand quilting. But I am also just as proud of my last machine quilted quilt. Made from a kit, it’s called a Square in a Square Quilt.

It was my first Quilt made using Quilting Rulers. Gosh that was quite a learn curve getting to grips with machine quilting rulers. And I have only just scratched the surface with them. Lots more to learn yet.

To me they are both Works of Heart.

For me Hand Quilting is a meditative process.

The slow rhythmic movement of the needle and thread through the quilt slows my mind and thoughts down.

I feel peaceful, calm and fulfilled when I’m Hand Quilting. Maybe thinking of nothing at all just lost in the process. Sometimes my thoughts turn to the patterns and textures I am creating. And of course from time to time I think about the person I am making the quilt for. Reliving happy memories of times spend together, or imagining their joy at receiving and using the precious gift I am creating for them – hopefully.

Over the years I have learnt two methods of Hand Quilting I started with Stab Stitch. I did a full sized quilt with Stab Stitch. The front looked lovely but the stitches on the back were wobbly.

So next I learnt how to rock. I much preferred the results I got when using a rocking stitch. But I had great trouble holding my fingers in the positions the tutor wanted me to use. My fingers just weren’t made to do the acrobatics my tutor wanted them to do. I also found the Quilting Needle a tad too small for my fingers to get to grips with.

So I developed my own more comfortable way of holding the needle. I also (don’t tell the quilt police) dumped the tiny quilting needles and started using Betweens. And finally I had found My Hand Quilting mojo.

Of course it takes time to develop your rhythm with hand quilting. At first your stitches will be uneven, but over the course of your first quilt you will begin to find your pace. The size stitches that suit you. And the quilt you are making. Below is a link to my own How I Hand Quilt post.

http://joyofquilting.blog/hand-quilting-how-to-with-video-tutorials/

Hand Quilting is wonderful to partake in and stunning to view

But

It’s no better than Machine Quilting – just different.

They are both equal in importance and value in my opinion.

For me Machine Quilting is a more Challenging process. Below is a link to my post on Machine Quilting. The Basics.

Basic Machine Quilting (With a Walking Foot)    is the quickest to learn. But you still need to learn.

Freemotion Quilting

This one is a real skill. It’s not something that you (generally) get right on the first attempt. It takes time and patience. It’s a skill you slowly build upon. And lots of Quilters for whatever reasons decide not to take this route.

Ruler Quilting

At the moment this is a very popular method. But again it takes time and practice to perfect. It is a technique I have recently been learning. It’s great fun. But I have to tell you that just like Freemotion Quilting you won’t ‘magically’ be able to Ruler Quilt just because you bought the necessary foot and rulers.

As you can see I believe Machine Quilting to be a highly skilled technique. It may be faster than Hand Quilting but it requires a whole set of skills to be learnt and perfected if you intend to use it to it’s fullest.

Below is a link to an earlier Post where I show you three different stitches you can use when Machine Quilting.

Three Different Stitches for Quilting

Now there are plenty of Quilters who focus solely on one skill within Quilting. And that is great. No problem with focusing your time and energy in one discipline.

I suppose the point I want to get across is. Whether you are a Hand Quilter, a Walking Foot Quilter, a Freemotion Quilter, a Ruler Quilter – or like me a bit of them all. In my humble opinion you are all equal. Each has it’s own unique skills and challenges to be mastered. And each gives a wonderfully different result.

And just to add to all I’ve said above. It’s really good fun to mix and match. I regularly mix different machine quilting techniques with hand quilting.

This is a great option for those of you who don’t have the time or maybe your hands won’t let you Hand Stitch for long. Just a touch of Hand Quilting not only looks good but can satisfy your desire to Hand Quilt without the need to Hand Stitch the whole quilt.

So let’s celebrate ALL QUILTING and enjoy it for what it is. A form of self expression and love in Stitches.

Joy

Responses