Friday, October 23, 2009

Hooked on Hand Stitching

I am not the quilt police. Way, way, back I resigned from the hand vs. machine debate. Mostly what I say to students is, "I don't care how you sew it--just sew it well." That leaves me free to judge at quilt shows, like the new World Quilt Show in West Palm Beach Florida this upcoming November 13-15. The lovely photo below shows the convention center at its sunset-best. Here's the link to the event

What I'm discovering, to my chagrin, is that my own machine quilting skills are lacking. Sometimes I fight with the sewing machine and cannot get in sync. Mostly my tendency is to push and pull the layers and protesting machine needles have a habit of snapping on me. I am in awe of anyone who can 'speak machine.' Even after taking longarm lessons, I am a thread-bound klutz.

I also admit that hand stitching is very soothing. At the recent Houston Quilt Market, I got to demonstrate hand sashiko stitching for three days--it was not a hard gig! As weary shop owners tromped the aisles, I was grateful that I was doing what I loved. Handwork is portable and I can pull it out anywhere--even when I'm on an airplane flying between teaching jobs. As long as the flight attendant knows their regs and doesn't freak at the needles and scissors! The regulation states that scissors are allowable if they are 4" or less long, measured from the hinge screw to the tip. The only person who ever berated me was a man flight attendent who might have had his own issues. He screamed, "Sheathe that needle! Put away those scissors!" It wasn't worth the hassle when he was nigh-on hysterical.


Anonymous said...

Really enjoy reading your blog, Pepper. You are soooo busy all the time -- creating,travelling, teaching here and there --- so what else is new, eh? Daisy DeHaven

Anonymous said...

I think long arming is harder than it looks - I'm never quite sure which part of my bifocals I should look through. It's one of the many reasons I prefer hand piecing/quilting.

Vicki Lane said...

I tried machine quilting once and was really bad at it. Like you, I find hand quilting soothing,

And, Pepper -- I need your snail mail address. The copy of Community Quilts you left by mistake is waiting to be mailed!

Bonnie B said...

Still waffling as usual. I found I can do machine quilting with a walking foot, but free motion has to be very small snippets. Actually am leaning toward shashiko style. I want the stitches to show and be visually a part of the quilt.