Friday, April 4, 2008

Slow Hand

Talking to a fellow hand-quilter today, we were amused that hand quilting, once the only way to quilt, is getting to be a rare commodity. I love seeing great quilting-however accomplished-and was amazed and pleased at all the beautiful quilting seen at the recent Mid-Atlantic quilt show in Hampton Roads, VA There were jaw-dropping longarm examples as well as domestic machined pieces and this time, a large number of hand-quilted entries. The Best in Show was a hand-quilted masterpiece by Linda M. Roy. Makes me wonder if there's an upsurge of interest in hand quilting?

Although I can quilt semi-competently by machine and even have done longarm quilting, right now my settled method of quilting is by hand. The latest kick is Big Stitch Quilting. I've gone back to my roots. Sometimes I can be seen crawling around on the floor of the studio basting a quilt top.

True, if I need something chop-chop, then I get out the machine. I'm not in a dreadful hurry to finish most quilts and make them first for my own pleasure and afterwards they might turn into class samples or be gifted to a very deserving relative.

I think many quilters are scared of doing a big piece by hand. I wish I could negate that fear. I just ordered Joe Cunningham's DVD on hand quilting and making a frame to show to my students. See Joe's website at . I admire smaller art quilts made by others but my natural-size palette (preferred working size) is about 80" square or thereabouts. Guess I design quilts organically. In other words, they grow and I cannot seem to imagine them smaller than 6 feet.

Does this mean I don't make as many quilts as some folks? Undoubtedly. I am into s-l-o-w quilting. It soothes my soul. Funny thing--I am often hired to teach hand quilting techniques because not many people are doing handwork these days. That's cool. I have been sloping toward eccentricity and uniqueness for years. My latest quilt is the sample from my beginning hand quilting class at the studio and I'm using perle cotton to do Big Stitch on it. Lots of fun and less tedious than fine hand quilting at 8 stitches to the inch!

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Hi Pepper

I'm still doing a little handquilting, but nowhere as much as I used to. It is a rare pleasure to sit and handquilt, though, when there is no deadline on getting the quilt finished!

I'm in the process of machine-quilting the crosspatch quilt that I started in your Vermont class two years ago. I ended up finishing the top as a baby quilt - 42" square. I'll send you a photo when finished. I'm trying to get it done to put in the Sauder show at the end of this month. I'll also post a photo to my blog sometime before then: It turned out to be a beautiful quilt.

I love reading your blog! Keep in touch - Ruth Dukelow