Sunday, May 22, 2011


Recently I mentioned my blogging about my 'artist' piece now named "Alexandra", as an homage to Alexander Calder, would be on hold until it was complete. Because I'm now hand quilting it.....I'm thinking about just what a dyeing art hand quilting seems to have become.

What a much as I love to bead, I love hand quilting too. I've taught the subject for years and firmly believe that many quilters would indeed hand quilt more "IF" they were satisfied with their stitches. Of course not all projects call for hand quilting.....but perhaps those heirloom or special gifts might.

Quilting stitches should be equal in size AND the space between the stitches should be uniform as well. For those who feel it necessary to keep track, stitches are counted from the top only...... As a quilt show judge.....I don't feel it's necessary to 'count' stitches....I can tell by looking. For instance, if one had a lot of little stitches, mixed with big ones......their count may be high but the quality would not be.

I wrote an article, Perfect Your Hand Quilting Stitch, for Threads Magazine in 2008. It was to be featured online for only a short time......somehow it's still there. It may be helpful if you are interested in learning hand quilting tips. Visit here to read it.

In this photo, I'm wearing a Roxanne International thimble.....only because my thimble of choice, a leather one didn't allow a clean view of this closeup. Roxanne's thimbles are great, unfortunately, I can't use one because I'm allergic to metal.

I truly enjoy teaching hand quilting and sadly rarely have the opportunity these days. It seems it's ALL about machine quilting! I literally spend the first 45 mins. of my class explaining all the other aspects that contribute to getting good stitches.....which is good news to students when they realize success doesn't totally depend upon hand mechanics. The fabrics, size of needle, thread, and batting all contribute. As does even such a mundane thing as weather. It will be more difficult to pass the needle through cotton batting on a hot sticky day then on a dry one!

Perhaps this will encourage you to give it a try.......or holler.....and I'll come and lead a workshop for your group! the way.....thanks to Kay, a faithful reader/friend..... "Alexandra" is SOLD..... I'm so flattered to have someone (whose work I've always admired) love my design so much that she purchased it even before it's finished and agree to wait until after an exhibit that it's been promised for. Happy Day......


Robbie said...

You are right, Mary. i think hand quilting is becoming a lost art compared the the number of us who machine quilt! My friend in Florida still does ALL her piecing and quilting by hand and her workmanship is amazing! Thanks for reference to your article!

Sandy D said...

Thanks for the plug for hand quilting. I think every beginning quilting class should end the class with HOW to hand quilt, but sadly, the instructor usually doesn't know how to hand quilt!
~~Sandy Drake

The Idaho Beauty said...

Hand quilting gives such a different look from machine quilting, a softer line which I feel better suited for some designs. I just wish I felt I had the time for more of it. Oddly enough, I often revert to it when I don't trust the quality of my machine stitching and the quilting would be very obvious!