I'm working on finishing up the last couple of quilts for the new book. Except for maybe one, they're all quilted by hand. I do it this way because I am a lousy machine quilter and, although it takes awhile, hand quilting is much easier and much more fun. Especially since the quilts are small. Very relaxing too, once you get into the "zone."
Nothing fancy, you see. (This quilt is from The Civil War Sewing Circle.)
Little quilts are perfect for practicing your hand quilting. I think it really adds something too so I always like to do my part to encourage quilters to try it. Even if the first one you try isn't all that good, keep at it and you'll get better. When I've been away from it for awhile and then pick it up again those first few lines of stitching are a little less straight than I'd prefer. But it comes back and you pick up a certain rhythm if you do it long enough. I'll have some tips for you in the new book.
If you do think about trying to quilt by hand, here's my favorite book on hand quilting - Loving Stitches by Jeana Kimball. Book includes lots of great tips on needles, thread, batting, etc. plus nice photos. I can't say my quilting fits into the "fine" hand quilting category, but it's fine by me. There's room for the "average" hand quilter too if you stop being afraid of the hand quilting police. I used to think they'd probably stop by and pick me up anytime I quilted anything. But I stopped looking over my shoulder and they went away.
Some days, though, I can't seem to quilt a straight stitch to save my life. This past week was like that. I had such good intentions of quilting up a storm and getting them finished but I caught my husband's cold last weekend. It waited until I finished my manuscript, however, so for that I am grateful. But, most of this week my head was spinning, my throat hurt and my nose was all sneezy and drippy. I just could not quilt for a few days - every stitch I sewed had to be ripped out because my head was so crazy and I couldn't see straight through my watery eyes. You know how that goes. I gave up and figured I probably needed a little rest anyway. Now I'm better and the quilts will get finished soon. I sure could have used a couple of those quilter ladies in the pictures to help me out, though. Maybe make me some chicken soup too and wrap the quilt snug around me. And tell me a little gossip to keep me entertained. Or just walk the dog . . . .
I've also decided I will add labels to the quilts - something I really should be better about. Especially since in this new book I wrote a section encouraging quilters to do that, ha ha. Now, how would that look if I didn't even follow my own advice?? Sometimes I do include labels on my quilts, but often I get stressed because of a deadline and then don't have time and forget about doing it later. To me, the time to make a label is when you make the quilt, not three months or (more likely) three years later. My husband likes to
nag encourage me to do that. From his comfy armchair, as he watches TV and eats popcorn, mind you. (Hon - if you want to see labels on my 150+ little quilts, YOU sew them on.) But I will do it this time.
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You know, February will be here soon and that means another month, another small quilt challenge. Wonder what we've got cooked up for you . . . Something to do with Valentine's Day perhaps? Hmmmm?
(Pattern for little scrappy hearts here.)
Have yourselves a good stitching weekend. I know I will.