Showing posts with label hand quilting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hand quilting. Show all posts

5.20.2008

no more hoopla

Phewwwww. Here is my first attempt at hand-quilting. And. it. is. finished. Key words for me.

I was using a 14 inch hoop and found it quite difficult to maneuver/transport/carry. Well, lo and behold, I saw this beautiful book, written by Suzanne Marshall and she does not use a hoop when hand-quilting her quilts. I couldn't believe it--she has this huge quilt on her lap and she manipulates the quilt and needle w/o a bulky hoop.

(Here is one of her gorgeous books)

Could this be possible?

Well... I decided to drop the hoop and set this small quilt on my lap and found the stitching to be so much easier. My stitches were even smaller and more consistent. And Suzanne is right--you rock the fabric up and down to meet the needle and it is quicker and not so strenuous on the hands.

Previously I planned to add a busy, flowered border but it seemed to take away from the simplicity of this small quilt. So I just added a plain matching fabric binding.

Now, granted--there are a few puffy places, but this is such a huge accomplishment for me because I could not believe that I could attempt something like this---but more remarkable...I actually finished it. Small steps, but now I can not wait to do something a bit more challenging.


4.29.2008

teeny, tiny stitches?

I think my reluctance to hand-quilt was due mainly to when I would tell people that I was hand-quilting and it seemed the first thing out of their mouth was, 'Ooh? How many stitches per inch?' Huh? I would then guiltily glance down at my work and see that 3 or 4 was not the answer they were looking for. Wow. This bar of standard seemed ridiculously high and I knew there was no way I was ever going to grasp it or even come close to--what?.....13, 15 or even 16 stitches per inch....so why bother.
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But then I looked closely at quilts from long ago. Just like the one pictured above. My great-great aunt hand-quilted this beauty and *gasp* she's not even close to 15 or 16 stitches per inch....and guess what? It does not detract from the value. In fact, it solidifies that I dearly love her work & her stitches are things of beauty and grace.

(having just finished the feather wreath in the middle of this project, I am just tickled how this cross-hatch is turning out. And I'm not kidding--running your fingertips along these stitches is the coolest feeling...)

In fact at the hand-quilting class that I recently took, many of us uttered the ol' well-how-many-stitches-do-I-need-to-be-stitching? to our instructor, Nadine and she chuckled as she replied:

'It doesn't matter how many stitches you have, as long as they are consistent."

I think I could have just kissed her.

So now I sit, with a smile because I know my stitches will not win any awards for being teeny and/or tiny, but Nadine was right----hand-stitching has been proven to lower one's blood pressure and the rhythmic, simple, stitching is truly stress-relieving & once again I debunk my self-doubt and just enjoy.......

4.19.2008

smitten with this

Yes, I am smitten with this. This being hand-quilting, of course. After my practice flower on simple muslin at my first ever hand-quilting class last weekend, I am now doing a larger feather design with a lattice background on pale green fabric. This will hopefully become a wall-hanging in our bedroom.

I found this book and oohed and aaaahed over every single page. You want to see exquisite Whitework Quilting??----my, oh, my----be prepared to gasp at every page turn. Her designs and quilts are simply amazing. She opts for long-arm quilting instead of the hand-quilting, but I am just smitten with the loveliness of this book.


My favorite part of this is running my fingertips over the stitches. They feel so complete. So put-together. As if this is exactly what this fabric and thread was waiting for.

Just one tiny, little problem. And actually it's a big problem when dealing with hand-quilting. For the life of me I can not find a thimble that is comfortable or fits properly. I am searching and will not give up the hunt because somewhere out there is the perfect thimble.....

4.12.2008

hand quilting

I just returned from a hand-quilting class at our local quilt & fabric store. The teacher , Nadine, has studied extensively with women who only hand sew. She used Alex Anderson's book and was a wealth of information. I soaked up every thing she had to say.

Such as: use polyester instead of cotton batting. I brought cotton. Bring loosely woven muslin. I brought tightly woven muslin. Use #9 quilting needles. I brought #10's.......okay, probably not off to a good start. But once I got the kinks worked out, I L.O.V.E.D. it! Absolutely, feel in love with this whole process. Sheesh! I was giddy after just tracing the stencil....and got a few stares from the other women there with my show of enthusiasm.
And of course, if I need an excuse to make another bag, I will come up with one. Who can show up to their first day of class without a new bag? So I used some fabric from Fat Quarter Shop, an embroidered vintage dresser scarf, and no, couldn't stop there. I also crocheted this chatelaine to hold my needles, thimble and scissors.

It was the first time that I have taken a class such as this and I came home dancing a jig with what I learned.


2.18.2008

using up the leftovers

I am using up the leftover fabric scraps from that 'secret' quilt that I made for our tween's birthday next month.


After finding this picture in the recent Keepsake Quilting catalog, I fell in love with the vibrant fabrics set against the rich black background in this Baltimore style quilt.
And since I no longer fear hand-applique-I think I am actually in love with this technique. Why?
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#1. It's so doggone easy to lug around--each block can be carried just about anywhere
and there is no sewing machine to worry about
#2. The needleturn technique is so easy I can't believe it--much easier than
scratching my head wondering about the geometric equations of
properly setting certain block configurations. (Even saying that
glazes my eyes over and puts me into catatonic state)
#3. I love the grown-up girl style of coloring without crayons but using instead the
rich, jewel-tone hues of so many endless fabric choices
#4. You can make up your very own patterns for each individual block
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Although I do love the rich look of the bright blues against the black I hate that this black fabric is a hair-magnet for every miniscule hair that seems to float throughout my house. I think there's more cat hair woven into each stitch than the actual thread itself.

When finished, maybe I can call this block---Ode to Cat Hair.