Monday, 26 January 2015

Hand Quilting

Sandy, at Quilting For The Rest Of Us asked people to write in with their quilty resolutions for 2015. The theme was to have a resolution that you had not tried yet. To list something that you promised yourself, you would give a go in 2015. Along with this, you could choose a theme word, too.

I chose Hand Quilting.

Previously, I'd been put off by hand quilting. It seemed slow, laborious, the kind of thing I'd get bored with quickly. I like to see my quilts finished and quickly.

But something kept bugging me about it. I watched some YouTube vids about it and I don't know, it didn't seem boring seemed...soothing. Zen-like. And I liked the detail you could get. Plus, you put so much more of yourself into a hand quilted top.

So, I decided that this year, I would hand quilt a quilt! Using the jelly roll I got at Christmas and a pattern from a book by Kimberley Einmo, I started on the Scrappy Exuberance Diamond Chain quilt.

I pieced the top over a couple of weeks and then set to with the hand quilting and ran into my first issue.

Where were the tiny stitches? I couldn't make them happen? My needle going through the thread seemed to seize a big chunk of fabric and I was averaging four stitches to an inch. I knew there was something called Big Stitch hand quilting, but I didn't want that. I wanted the tiny stitches. The neat, itty-bitty stitches that added texture and flavour and passion.

I posed a question on the Celebrate Hand Quilting Facebook page and the lovely folks there swamped my feed with suggestions and ideas. I sat at my desk, trying to implement their good advice - loosen the material in the hoop, use the right needle, a short needle, wear a thimble with a inset ridge, take your time, but most of all, the one thing I'd forgotten to do, was use your top thumb to create an indent in the fabric, or a ridge, depending upon where your needle was.

Bingo! Got it. Within the hour of starting my first ever hand-quilting, I'd created a rhythm, a technique. I hated using a thimble to start with. I didn't like how I couldn't feel anything with that finger, but you know what? I adapted, it became part of me and I worked hard hand quilting that quilt, hour after hour.

Its not done yet. When it is, I'll show you a pic. But this post is just to offer hope to others who might be thinking of returning to this old tradition. To persevere. You won't be perfect to start. You won't get those itty-bitty stitches to start. But you will get there.

Now I'm contemplating purchasing Andi Perejda's Hand Quilting Craftsy class, but at the moment its £18.99 and I'm waiting for one of Craftsy's offers to bring the price down to £13.99 or even better there £9.50 offers!

So who else out there hand quilts? Have you ever tried it? What were your results? Have you ever tried a whole cloth quilt? I'm thinking of doing one of those next.

Useful websites:
Celebrate Hand Quilting
Tim Latimer Quilts

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