I was so excited to see the hand quilting category in Amy Ellis’s Spring Bloggers Quilt Festival. Her blog, Amy’s Creative Side has been sponsoring this festival for several years. She runs the festivals during fall and spring quilt market. There are many wonderful online stores and vendors who offer prizes to the winners.
Hand quilting is not as difficult as most people think. Once I got the hang of it, I really fell in love with it. It puts me in a very zen mood. It does take a long time to do, and I machine quilt most of my quilts. But I always have one on the side to do by hand.
I like having something to hand sew when we’re watching TV, or listening to music. And, although it’s a bit cumbersome, it is portable!! I bring it to the pool in the summer, and work on it in the warm sunlight between swimming, reading, and visiting with my friends and neighbors.
The pattern I hand quilted on this piece is called the Bishop’s Fan. It’s one of my favorite patterns. The curves are very gentle, and it softens a quilt that is pieced using all straight seams or is angular.
I try to make my stitches as consistent as possible. But this is hand work, and it’s not always perfect. The imperfections really do give it a hand made feel. Over the many years I’ve been hand quilting, my stitch length and spacing has soared – practice really helps.
It’s easy to see the fan shape in this photo. I mark the quilt before I begin the sewing using a template bought from a store, and use a number 2 pencil. I wash the quilt when it’s finished, and the pencil markings that haven’t worn off come right out in the wash.
I used Prescencia Thread 60 wt., hand quilting thread, which is my favorite. I chose a neutral color that would show the stitches and pattern, but don’t scream with color and overshadow the fabrics and distract from the overall pattern of the quilt.
There are many types and brands of “quilting between needles.” I mostly use Colonial Needles, number 10. They also make a hybrid needle, which I use too. The eye is bigger, but the shaft of the needle is skinny, so it quilts through the three layers smoothly and easily.
It’s easy to see the stitches on the front and back in this photo. I love this backing with the little hearts.
I dedicated it to our cat Emma. She sleeps on it when it’s on the couch. We use it too for naps, and sometimes when we watch TV or read.
Check out all the beautiful quilts that other quilters have made. Click this link to link-up up with Amy’s Creative Side Bloggers Quilt Festival, Spring 2015. I promise you won’t be disappointed. The quilts can be entered into one or two of several categories during May 15 – May 21. You can vote for your favorites beginning on May 22. There are many great entries to inspire and delight you, and you’ll enjoy discovering new blogs and quilters.