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!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Do you know everything?

by Caron Mosey

I have been quilting since 1975.  I really don’t like to piece (on the machine), and stitching by hand suits me best. My strongest areas are in hand quilting and applique.  I have taught many an applique class in my years of teaching quilting… it’s one of the quilting skills I know best, and I enjoy it immensely. If you haven’t seen it yet, go back to an April 2012 post and take a peek at Floral Star of Bethlehem.

Today, I used one of my vacation days from work and took an applique class from Karen Kay Buckley, and I’m mighty glad I did!  She is fantastic, and I learned a lot.  But many people in the class wondered why I used up one of my vacation days to learn applique when I clearly already know how to applique.   That question was easy to answer.

I don’t know everything there is to know yet…

and I never will.

It’s nice to compare notes, learn new techniques, learn what works for someone else and give it a try.  I know that I will never stop learning until the day I die.  How about you?  What can you improve on?  What do YOU want to learn?  Stretch yourself.  Set goals.  Get out there and learn something!



Fiesta Mexico by Karen Kay Buckley

Why I love hand quilting

Berit Hansen Gilde

It is relaxing
It is traditional
It links me to my formothers
It is beautiful :-)
What better reasons could I ever have?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I learned how to big stitch

by Debra Anger

I am excited I have learned a new stitching technique! This is my first project.  
With practice I will get better! My stitches are still too small.

Modern hand quilt

By: Glenn Dragone

It’s been some time since I posted a blog to the site. I’ve been busy on some projects and finally have something to share.

I completed this quilt a few weeks ago for my niece’s high school graduation. My hope is that it will survive her Freshman year!

I hand quilted it using a cotton batting, I’m sure (I hope) it will get lots of washings. Normally, I use wool, but I can’t imagine a college student hanging a quilt to dry.

Happy Memorial Day!



Saturday, May 26, 2012

back to the future

This is a corner of my most recently finished project, a feathered star wallhanging.  I've only posted a corner photo because it takes me back 30+ years to when I first discovered hand quilting and the beautiful designs that created such a look.  It drew me in like no craft had ever done.  The result was jettisoning all others and pouring my creative devotion into quilting.  Then, like now, my muse is quenched with this art form.  Sure, I still cross-stitch and could knit, crochet, macrame, make stuffed animals and dolls, but I have no desire to do any of that.  Not since quilting took over and gave me a whole new crafting life.  If I quilt until I'm 150, it won't be enough time to make all the projects and try all the patterns that have tantalized me; I never felt that way about any other pastime. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

A finish

I finished my Fan quilt today.

I have been working on it on and off since early March.  Here is the back.

The quilting is NOT perfect!  But I had a lot of fun doing it and that is what is important!

Have a happy Holiday Weekend

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.

Perfection? I don't think so!

A you know, I have a large collection of Welsh and Durham quilts, all made between 1880 and 1950. The earlier ones are more attractive and lively - the later ones seem a bit dull and "samey". Why is this? It took me  a while to discover....

 I have traced quite a few of my quilts, by laying polythene sheeting over the quilting, and then carefully tracing the quilting designs with a permanent pen. It became obvious that while the larger motifs were traced, most of the other quilting had been sewn in freehand. Why is this?
The quilts were largely made by professional quilters who were working as quickly as they could, across the frame (they aimed to make a quilt in a week, possibly two weeks). They couldn't agonise over mistakes, nor could they unroll the quilt to see what they had sewn on the rolled up bit. The result is a lively creativity and sometimes quirkiness - and lovely even stitches. The stitches are not small - they are fairly large (but even) and create a good texture!

 Although the designs look complex, the quilter alters them as she sees fit - and changes are made if necessary. Running out of space - use half a motif. Extra space - add something to fill the space. Grids - often very wonky - but our brain doesn't seem to notice too much. Instead, a lively surface texture is created.

These lively and varied early designs were eventually replaced by the standardised designs of the Rural Industries Board in the 1930's - and then the more simplified patterns of the 40's and 50's - and later commercial patterns - most drawn as paper patterns and very "perfect".

I think it is the individuality and creativity of the quilter that makes these earlier quilts so appealling - no two are ever the same - and while the workmanship and stitching are good, the quilter didn't get bogged down in the detail - after all, these quilts were made to be used!

I have heard it said that the old time quilters didn't like stitches to be too small - too "bitty" for their taste - and I can see that very small quilting stitches lack the textural appeal of larger ones. So - don't worry too much about the quilting stitch - just enjoy the process!! Pippa Moss

Monday, May 21, 2012

Star Crazy–Finished


Star Crazy is done Smile 

As I posted a few days ago, I said I would share when I got done with the binding – I have finished it today!






Forgive all the wrinkles – I had just taken it out of the dryer and got busy taking photos.  I probably did over kill on the quilting in the pieced area, once I got started I had to continue – part way through I had wished I hadn’t decided to do that.  I have lost track of how many queen size quilts I have hand quilted now – this bed sure has seen a change of quilts over the years!

Is fabric shrinking more than it used to?  I love the antique crinkly look so I always wash and dry my quilts – always unless it is a wall hanging that I might want a flat look to.  It doesn’t seem like it used to shrink quite so much though – the top before quilting was 100 x 100 inches – now 95 x 95 inches.  I’m glad I made it as large as I did.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What a Rewarding Feeling

By: Karen Goad

Hand quilting takes a lot of time.  It is well worth it in the end.  What a feeling a quilter can have when you do a quilt the old fashioned way with a quilting frame/hoop, needle, thread, thimble.  The tools do not cost a lot – the reward is great.

In 2010 in January I started this quilt as a BOM and worked on it every month for a year, finishing the top in January of 2011.  It was put aside for most of 2011 while I was quilting other quilts on my frame.  I put it on my frame in December of 2011 and just took it off the frame yesterday!  What a great feeling that was.  5 months of hard work!

I sewed the binding on by machine today and now have the hand stitching of the binding to do.  When I get done I will post a photo.  If you have never hand quilted – give it a try – it is rewarding and relaxing.  Here is a partial photo – I don’t have room to spread it out in the house – this was before I got the binding started.


When I get it done I will post a finished shot Smile

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fearless first quilt block

by Annemart Berendse

A little bit late perhaps, but as my agenda was a too full with going to Paducah for the promotion of my book, I had no time of focusing on other things. Now I am back I have time for quilting and time for a post here!

My first patchwork was done on a Saturday night in 2001. On Saturday I went with my mother-in-law (MIL) to a quilt shop. My MIL was an avid quilter and wanted to make a quilt for me. She took me with her to select the colors. She came out of the shop with a bag full of fabrics for a quilt, and I came out with 5 FQ and no idea where to start.

My MIL promised to teach me how to make a nine patch the next day. That Saturday night I surfed the Internet and found an eight pointed star. I thought that would be way better than a nine patch! No idea what to do or where to begin, I started and finished the block that same evening. On the picture it is the blog upper right. And it has always been that way. When I am convinced that this is what I like, then I just start and see what happens. I love to be exploring!

The quilting stitches in this quilt are closer to 6 stitches on an inch, and very irregular. And I was certainly not convinced that that would ameliorate in the near future. That was 2001. In 2003 I had my first quilting class and learned the technique to make regular fine stitches. I was lured to it like a duck to water when I felt my natural stitch!

I still keep my first blocks as a proof of my learning curve. And just being back from Paducah, presenting my first book and giving an online hand quilting class for WKCTC, and now here, writing about my first block, makes me aware of where I came from. That's a great start of the day! Thanks for the opportunity!

Have fun quilting!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


After reading the comments, I decided to post a short addendum.  Yes, the Aurifil I use is 28 wt.  I had previously thought all were 40 wt.  I checked the Coats & Clark website and found that their hand quilting thread is a 20 wt, which may be the real reason I don't like it...too thick.  I was surprised at the Aurifil because it is very similar in feel to the King Tut, which is a 40 wt.  It all comes down to personal choice about the feel and ease of use.  Although I need to be thrifty when selecting quilty notions, I would still choose the Aurifil....after I use up what I have of course.  Why?  because I quilt for the pure enjoyment and the Aurifil meets that criteria. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Rudimentary Survey

 Pictured L to R:  Mettler,  Coats & Clark , King Tut and Aurifil. 
by Grace Thorne 

Since I first started quilting back in 1979, the tools and notions that have become available are astounding.  Back then, the choice of quilting thread was very limited.  The best on the market was Coats & Clark, the top brand in threads.  Flash forward and the choice is mind boggling. In the beginning I used the  Coats & Clar  and a Swedish brand that is no longer marketed.  Then I segued into Mettler, my favorite brand until now.  Curiosity prompted me to try 2 new quilting threads--King Tut and Aurifil. I conducted an elemental and unbiased test of all 4.  Now the  Coats & Clar  is my least favorite; it's glazed and I don't particularly like glazed threads.  Of the remaining 3, I have to say the Aurifil was the favorite. The other 2 are good, no doubt, and the difference in the top 3 is incremental.  Of course, I'll still use all 4 brands I have on hand.  They are all good quality cotton threads and represent a significant investment. I've used all 4 on a singular project and the difference is not even noticeable.  but when I have to replenish, I'm going for the Aurifil.  it's the right thing to do...for me anyway.