I have been hand quilting for about 6 years now, and for the last few years I have been doing a lot of reading about quilting in books and on the internet. I have heard of a lot of “rules” for good hand quilting: you must use a quilting frame or your quilt will not be square, you must thread baste the layers together, you must learn the traditional rocking motion quilting with the correct thimble, you must use the acceptable needle, you must have 12 or more stitches per inch, you must use the correct batting, you must select the correct thread and fabric, you must use the correct marking technique and the correct marking pen, you must not wash a quilt or it will distort your quilting, you must do the binding correctly……………….I could fill a page with ” you must” statements.
Let me assure you that the only thing that you must do is ENJOY IT!!
One of the things that in retrospect was a big help to me is that no one taught me how to quilt, so I had no one telling me I was doing it wrong. I figured it out as I went along in a way that worked for me. I would not expect any other quilter to change their methods and quilt as I do, and likewise I don’t think other quilters should expect me to learn to quilt “the right way”. I already know how to quilt the right way….my way….the way I enjoy is the right way….don’t be afraid to do it your way!!
My way is in a hoop, with a homemade thumb thimble, pin basting the three layers together, sometimes marking (with a blue wash away marker), sometimes not marking at all, using which ever needle I think is most appropriate for the thread and fabric and batting I am using, sometimes using wool batting, sometimes cotton, sometimes thick heavy cotton (warm and natural), sometimes a very thick polyester…. the bottom line is I don’t have rules….the rule is to do whatever works for the look I am going for.
Here are a few pictures of the quilting I have done on some quilts….it is not all the same…the quilting depends on the quilt (click Pictures to enlarge)
I would never claim that my quilts are perfect….but I am happy with them, and that is what is most important to me. So what about “the rules”? ….Here is the gist, a practical list of “don’ts” for you.: don’t be afraid to try new things, don’t be afraid to make a mistake, don’t let anyone tell you there is only one way to do anything………DO have fun!!