What is the allure of hand quilting?
People often look at me with almost disbelief when I tell them that I only quilt by hand. Wouldn’t it be easier to machine quilt? Think of how many more you could finish if you used a machine.
I say that is true and then I feel obligated to try to explain why I would rather hand quilt. ( and I really have a hard time doing it) If you are a hand quilter I don’t need to explain it to you, but for those that aren’t here is my attempt.
Hand quilting and machine quilting are two entirely different things. Machine quilting can be breathtaking. Some of the work I have seen is so amazing that I cannot begin to imagine doing it by hand and I would never try. Hand quilting for me is a relaxed meditative process. Once I get going my mind is free to wander, my hands can be quilting but I can be miles away in my mind. I can sit with a quilt in front of the TV and the compute looking at all three and still be in another world, thinking and stitching. I think that I stitch my feelings into the quilt. I have several quilts in process all the time….how I feel tells me which to work on. Each and every stitch in the quilt goes through my hand and caries my thoughts with it.
People often comment that I must have a great deal of patience to be able to do so much hand quilting. I don’t actually think that is the case. Since I quilt so much it might seem as if I am in a race to finish, and it is very exciting to finish a quilt, but the real enjoyment comes from the process. To me it doesn’t require patience, it requires allowing myself to relax and enjoy it.
There are other reasons for hand quilting. It is a traditional art form that I believe needs to be preserved.
Even with a traditional art form there is a lot of room for personal expression and creativity.
History can be blended with modern in a very satisfying way. And there is that satisfied feeling that does come at the end when I can look at the finished product and say to myself “I did that all by hand”
Relax…enjoy the process….and happy quilting