I love hand quilting. I almost always have a quilt on the side of the couch that I’m working on. I usually have one on the machine as well – they have different purposes. I take just as much care with my machine quilted pieces – it’s just that I can make them much faster and I can do patterns that are different from what I do by hand.
Hand quilting is something that relaxes me. It gives me great pleasure while I sit and watch a movie or something on TV, and keep my hands busy at the same time. For the first 20 years or so of my quilting life, I only hand quilted. I did try machine quilting a few times, but I wasn’t too successful, so I retreated to doing everything by hand. I quilted baby quilts and queen-sized quilts. For my 40th birthday, my husband bought me a gorgeous whole cloth quilt top that I hand quilted in four months. I loved that quilt and we used it for years. Sadly, it got too worn in some places, and a bit stained (it was ivory). So, I set it aside and if I ever become a grandmother, I may cut it up and use it in some baby quilts.
Right now, I have this lovely floral sampler I’m working on.
I don’t use a hoop or frame for my quilting. I did. When I first started, I used the simple wood hoops. I had a couple of lap hoops and one that stood on a stand. Then switched to a larger PVC pipe type of frame. I liked it; it gave me a much larger working space, but it also took up a lot of room. At that point, we had a huge living room, so it wasn’t so bad. But then I switched again, to a Grace hoop. It was my favorite of all of them.
But when we downsized (big time), there really wasn’t a lot of space in my much smaller living room and I had to remind myself that I’m not the only one who lives here. I’d read that some people don’t use hoops, so I decided to try it. And it worked. It worked well.
I keep the quilt in my lap and the weight of the fabric gives me enough tension to be able to quilt evenly. This saves a lot of time by not having to reposition or twist to go in another direction with my stitching. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using a hoop or frame.