Monday, June 2, 2014

Hand Quilting vs. Machine Quilting

I am a hand quilter and always have been.
 I enjoy the process, I love the final product and I feel like it makes my quilts seem "heirloom worthy".
 And, if I am being honest I don't like change.  This is how I started quilting and it is hard for me to let go.

You might be wondering why I am even writing this post if I am so content with the process and results of my hand quilting.

Well, here is why...
That is a stack of 17 unfinished quilt tops.  In that stack is a beautiful Swoon quilt, a Row Along by Lori Holt and my version of Tula Pink's City Sampler.  There is also a quilt top that I pieced about 15 years ago.  They are all just sitting, waiting to become a real quilt and to be used and loved.  The problem is that I can piece together those tops a lot faster than I can get them quilted.  And there are sooo many cute patterns, and sooo many beautiful fabrics that my list of quilts to make just keeps growing.

So, I took a leap.  That stack was 20 tall a couple of months ago.  I took one in to our local quilt shop whose owner has a long arm.  I handed over my lap-sized great granny and held my breath. 

And....I love that the quilting pattern is traditional.  I love that it was done in like a week - while I was still quilting another quilt.  And after its first wash, it wrinkled up just a beautifully as a hand quilted quilt.

I also sent 2 quilts to my friend Shirley who just bought her own long arm.  She does free motion, so I picked out a couple of quilts that I thought would be perfect with some cute little squiggles.

 Aren't these little squiggles and loops adorable?
 This top would have just lingered in that stack for a long time while I tried to figure out how I wanted to quilt it.
But now it is a finished quilt.  Ready to be used.  And I love it.

I'll share the second quilt I sent Shirley later when it's finished.  I am going to be adding some hand quilting to the machine quilting she did.

I still feel like I have cheated a little having someone else quilt my quilt for me.  But...
I have 2 finished quilts that would otherwise still be lingering in my unfinished pile!


  1. You have such a true love of colors, fabrics and designs. It shows in your quilts. I know you love to hand quilt but I'm always here to help you speed up the process.

  2. Thanks Shirley! You are amazing.

  3. Wow!! I'm so jealous of your hand-quilting! I wish I had the skill (and the patience) to do that :-) I know it had to be hard to turn your tops over for machine quilting, but you can always add your own personal touches to them once you get them back. Visiting from Finish It Up Friday :-)

    ~ Jess ~
    Everything Is Coming Up Rosie

    1. Thanks Jess! It was SO hard, but I'm glad that I did it and I know that I will do it again. :)

  4. Looks like you are a convert! Your quilts are so pretty, it is a shame to have them lingering in the unfinished pile! You can always add a bit of hand quilting as an embellishment but I suspect that machine quilting will become your method of choice!!

    1. Tessa - I'm actually going to try that on one of them.I asked my friend to quilt half of the quilt for me and I am going to hand quilt the other half. I'll post some pictures when I get it done.

  5. Better to have the freedom to make more new tops than just being able to say you did it all on every quilt.

    1. Yes, I'm trying to give myself permission to just let it go. :)