Hand quilting is alive and well all around the world! Join with fellow hand quilters to share techniques, tips,
and the BEAUTIFUL quilts being made by others who share your passion for quilting... by HAND!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why are YOU a Hand Quilter?

Hand quilting is a slow art, no matter how accomplished a person can get.  It takes hours and hours and then more hours to complete an average sized quilt, while a long arm quilter can start and finish the same sized quilt in under a day.  Do the math.  No, actually, don't bother.  We know that hand quilters are generally motivated (at the core) by something very different than the urge to just 'get it done'!
It's only 'perfect' when it's hand quilted
Hand quilters are as unique and diverse as the rest of the population and you'll definitely find that some are perfectionists, taking great pride in tiny stitches and intricate details.  Many hand quilters find a comfortable niche in the world of shows and competitions.  Others, (like me!) are content to work mainly with simple cross-hatch and echo type quilting designs, not worrying overmuch about how small and perfect the stitching is.  Then there are all the hundreds that fall somewhere in between!  The thing that seems to overwhelmingly unite us all (thank you Caron Mosey!) is that we love the process!  In fact, some might even accuse us of wallowing in the process.*wink  (It's not like we don't have other options you know.)  Simply put, stitch after stitch, frame after frame, we are able, through hand quilting, to reap the benefits of something that this fast paced world we live in will never provide for us.

The end result is certainly that which we all can take pride in, no matter the amount of time invested before completion.  Hand quilting leaves every quilt with a wonderful texture that simply cannot be reproduced by any other application.  Whether you grow into a level of skill that amazes and astounds (Janet Treen, you are the bombdiggity of the hand quilting world!), or you strive for a more mundane level of accomplishment, there is satisfaction to be had.  Why are YOU hand quilting?  When you discover the answer to that question, then you can more easily determine what you need to do in order to find your own hand quilting equilibrium.


  1. I just plain love hand quilting - I have tried my hand at machine quilting straight lines on a quilt or two to try it out and see if it is for me - it just isn't, I found no satisfaction in it and the noise of the machine for several days drove me nuts - I like to listen to things while I quilt :)

  2. I have also tried my hand at machine quilting and I just don't like the look of the quilt! Plain and simple-it is just not the same. While I would love to be an accomplished quilter with ribbons-I am very happy learning how to do this one stitch at a time. I like to sit with people, listen to the radio, watch tv or sit and enjoy nature while I quilt. There is a certain meditative quality about the process. It is good for the soul!

  3. I love to hand quilt. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. I love some of the designs completed on long-arm machines but I feel closer to my ancestors-the way they quilted years ago. That is important to me.

  4. Ahhhhh the process! I call it therapy! The feel of a hand quilted quilt can not be accomplished any other way. It is magical and my favorite part of making a quilt.

  5. I enjoy hand quilting in my own folksy way with not small stitches - something my hands and fingers just won't let me do these days. So, I make lemonade out of lemons and enjoy the whole process in my own way. It seems to go with the whole scrappy process I implement.
    And I also prefer the look and feel of hand quilting over machine quilting.

  6. When I hand-quilt I feel connected to my grandmother, Barbara Bruce Wood. She died when I was in high school, but I have quilted four of the tops she left behind and wish there were more! I have machine-quilted for expediency's sake, but nothing compares to the instant calm I feel the minute I sit down to a frame or hoop, slip on my thimble and start to make stitch after stitch. Maybe it's the rocking motion that is so soothing. I do strive for the tiniest, most perfect stitch possible - but I don't stress out if my stitches are less than perfect. It's the whole quilt that matters, not the inch or two where I had to do some stab stitches through a thick seam or whatever.

  7. Hand quilting takes me away from the fast-paced world we live in--keeps me in the moment! I don't strive for perfection, I do it for the pure creative enjoyment. For me there is more satisfaction in completing a quilt by hand. I feel it's an art form that should be preserved and I just like they way a hand-quilted quilt looks!

  8. I started hand quilting to "de-stress" after physically and emotionally taxing days in my professional life. The sense of calm and quiet with needle, thread and cloth would help to bring me back to the center core of being. Hand quilting also became my time for reflection, meditation and prayer. My stitches are still far from "purr-fect" and I often call them my S-O-S stitches, but I also know most of my quilts will be used and abused by the people I give them to.

  9. I've been a hand quilter nearly all my life, starting out quilting with my grandmother as a child and will have it no other way. These days I see so many lovely quilt tops become very mediocre because of machine quilting. The world doesn't need more stippling!!! UGH!


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