27 Sep


Channel Stitching


I quilted the channels on this scrap quilt using my home machine. It looks just fine, and is more than adequate for a utilitarian quilt, but I can see every wobble and change in stitch length.

Triple Stitching


On this one, I tried three lines close together and then a larger space between to make radiating spokes. I like the look of the spokes, but again, the lines most definitely show the hand of the quilter.

I greatly admire those who can do smooth and accurate quilting on their home machines, and those who can cover an entire quilt with regular, lyrical loops, squiggles, whorls, and flowers. I just can’t seem to do it. Admittedly, I think a lot of the super good home quilting is done on much smaller pieces than I try to wrangle through my machine, but there are some really talented people out there.

I’m also seeing a lot more work done on long arm machines (and even sent Zeitgeist out to a long armer because that’s what the quilt really wanted). Long arm machines can do things not possible on home machines, and now that many are computerized, the accuracy of the patterns is amazing.

While sitting at my machine unsuccessfully trying to make my stitches as even as possible, I got to thinking. Not long ago, free motion quilting on a home machine completely changed the way we thought about how the surface of a quilt should look. Quilting became denser, patterns became more complex, and now accuracy has increased. I kind of feel like there’s no way my work on my home machine will ever compare side by side, so why bother? I had the urge to swing the pendulum back all the way, and return to the comfort of big hand stitches.


Hand Stitching


I wonder if I am alone, or if there will be a new movement of hand quilting to complement, not compete with, amazing machine quilting. I look forward to seeing both extremes.

6 thoughts on “Quilting

  1. I can never get perfect stitches on my machine, but then I never really call what I do on it quilting. I like to think that I am drawing with my needle and and all the different stitch lengths are part of the hand of the artist like brush strokes or pencil strokes….

  2. I think small pieces can be done on a home machine—but it needs to be fine tuned….My larger pieces are sent to a longarm quilter as I don’t like to have all that bulk around and the “pinching” is harder to control. With BSR on some machines I think it might be easier, however, I don’t have it. My neightbor does, but even she doesn’t use it much as she’s not able to get the smooth meander that so many people seem to use.

  3. This morning I watched a video of Leah Day quilting on a home machine and I thought “she could have been a surgeon”. I never feel my hands are that steady long enough or even the same from one quilting session to another.

  4. Okay, you’re far ahead of me on the “worry” front — I’m still working on getting my parallel lines to be parallel enough for my satisfaction.

    HOWEVER, I don’t think the quilt police should be part of your thought process. Please don’t judge your artwork on this front. In my opinion, our artwork is about expression, not stitch length. That’s not to say I don’t admire those who can manage a perfectly stitched line. I’m just saying that I don’t think that’s it’s a panacea.

  5. What about combining both? Machine quilt the basic structure with and then go back and add hand quilting. That is what I am leaning towards as I never have been able to get the nice stitches I want. I have never embraced machine quilting. A first it was because I thought it looked liked mattress pad quilting. Then I saw really beautiful machine quilting and that really changed my mind. That said, I have never conquered the hand/eye coordination for it. I haven’t practiced and I get tense sewing at the machine. So, I combine the two – quilting with a walking foot for a basic design and then quilting/embroidery to my hearts content. Of course, none of mine go to exhibits, so I don’t care what the quilt police want. 🙂

  6. Well I’m just a dinosaur on this topic. I’ve never left quilting by hand. There is something so satisfy to follow intense creative focus with slow meditative action. I can feel it in the making and I believe this satisfaction translates in the viewing. I’m a hand quilter.

Comments are closed.