Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hand Quilting Is So Much More Than the Time Involved

Hand quilting on the Gold and Red Quarter Triangle quilt is moving along very well now. I finished up the centerpiece and moved on to the surrounding blocks quick as a wink.
Gold and Red Qtr. Triangles in the hoop
(Still laughing...!) It always feels so exciting to move on from the center and initially there's this boost of pure energy (at least there is for me). 'Hey, I am making real progress here!'. But then, as I stitch and stitch away at my quilt, it sinks in that the rest of the quilt is actually the major work of the quilt. Oh yeah, how could I possibly forget that little piece of information?
A very simply quilted centerpiece
So funny because it happens to me every single time! I really make an effort to think of my hand quilting as quality time, something to relax into and just enjoy for the pure pleasure of stitching. The rhythmic sound and feel of the needle sliding in and out of the fabric, the contemplative state I reach so very quickly no matter the frustrations of everyday life, the lovely drape of the quilt across my lap, the visual feast of soaking up the various fabrics and fabric combinations, even the slow forward moving progress--it's something I want to look forward to for years to come without any negative influence to hinder my gratification.
Love looking at the stitching on a pieced back
That's why I try not to count the hours involved in a finish or make pressure with a deadline. But... every now and then I just can't help myself. Do you realize that if I keep on stitching at the current rate I've been stitching, I have approximately 33 frames left to quilt on just this quilt alone? 

It takes me about 1 1/2 hours to stitch a full frame (with the pattern I'm currently stitching) give or take how many interruptions I get from my loving family wanting help with homework or a fresh bowl of popcorn etc. That means I have about 50 hrs. worth of stitching left to do--not even close to being finished up girl! Yep. It can be very deflating when you look at it that way.

But who really cares? That's not the point. It really can't be if we want to quilt by hand. The reality is, we're going to have to ignore that part of the equation if we ever expect to enjoy slow quilting. So we'll make a few less quilts than someone else. Big deal. It's the process that matters. The finished product. And honestly, it's really about what quilting means in the big picture--just slowing down in order to enjoy (and savor) the ride. Quilting is sooo made up of many, many small moments. And too, isn't it a wonderful thing to be a part of many, many generations worth of hand craftsmanship?

18 comments:

  1. ¡¡¡ Que gran entrada !!!! .
    Me gusta como explicas, yo solo acolcho a mano, intento hacer comprender a las amigas que lo hacen o lo manda hacer a maquina , que el edredón pierde gran parte de su valor.
    Saludos

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  2. Machine quilting is lovely but there is nothing more beautiful than hand quilting!

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  3. I truly do enjoy hand quilting and I love the results but I also have a need for speed and that gets satisfied with machine quilting. I love that I can, and do have, the best of both worlds!

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  4. I know where you are coming from! I get the center done when working in the hoop and then start to move out from there and get excited then excitement sometimes turn downhill thinking how long it takes to quilt each area the hoop covers! This quilt of yours is looking good!!

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  5. I admire you hand quilting, the quilt is so pretty. My hand work fix is applique.

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  6. I totally, totally, totally agree. I've been quilting pretty much non stop on my Jubilee quilt since mid May. As long as I'm done by next April, I'm savoring the hours spent. Yours is looking wonderful.

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  7. Beautiful quilt, great post and I couldn't agree more. I've tried machine quilting on smaller projects like table runners and that's fine, but honestly, I don't enjoy it at all. My shoulders end up touching my ears by the time I'm done and it takes a while for them to come back down. It's the absolute antithesis of my hand-quilting experience. At the end of busy day, hand work clears my head and makes me happy. Now that I'm doing a lot of big stitch quilting, it's like the best of both worlds. You can cover a lot of territory quickly and the stitches are more prevalent, especially if you are using colors. I am so happy to have a little slow time in my life! Take care, Byrd

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  8. I definitely like to see progress made with my quilting, but never calculate the hours or days. Sometimes I look with envy at how quickly projects can be machine quilted, but it's not what I'm looking for, it's the enjoyment of the process of hand quilting.

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  9. I agree that hand quilting should be enjoyed and savoured for what it is.

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  10. It isn't like this is the only quilt you are working on. My Jane Stickle quilt took me 14 years! You don't think I was thinking what you are!? lol My Cherry tree quilt may take that long, but I am enjoying it, even if I don't work on it a lot. You KNOW you will love that quilt when it is done.

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  11. Yes! I get a little anxious if I don't have some kind of hand-stitching project going. It does soothe and creates a beautiful result. Yours is looking lovely!

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  12. Your quilt looks great and the hand stitching will be worth it. I understand the frustration of interruptions, the quilt is where you want it and all supplies are in order---but we have to take care of others too!! Mine is a hunting dog that has to go out after I have just gotten settled and am making progress.

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  13. You really have a gift for getting to the heart of the matter - and writing it down so beautifully. I always have a hand sewing project going on because it feels so totally different doing slow sewing.

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  14. The slow sewing moments are definitely moments to enjoy. Your post is a good reminder

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  15. Well said! I can relate to every word in this post. I find hand quilting very relaxing and I really enjoy the time with my family while I'm working on the quilts. Even my dog likes to hang out with me while I'm quilting!

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  16. I'm in the middle of a big hand quilting project too and it's a little hard not to get discouraged. I never try and project how long it will take, lol. I used to try to do a certain amount a day,but gave that up.
    Hand quilting is such a joy when its finished. I creates such a lasting thing of beauty!
    it was fun to read your thoughts on the subject.
    Enjoy your time stitching

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  17. This is gorgeous, Audrey. I love the colours, and I've been admiring this style of quilt a lot recently. It's going to be great!

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