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Barb S Posted: Sun, Feb 19 2012 10:17 AM

I need help making a decision.  When I started this quilt (a birthday present for my oldest daughter), I just thought I would do what I have done on previous quilts (I am a beginner) and stitch in the ditch on my home sewing machine -- but I am having second thoughts and I am at the point of putting the quilt sandwich together so I need to make a decision..  

This is the largest quilt I have done so far (full size) and it is the first quilt I have made by piecing the blocks on point and putting in the setting triangles.  I won't lie -- there are some small oopsies! in the quilt top -- but I am the kind of quilter that does not try for perfection -- good enough is good enough for me.

 I have always wanted to try hand-quilting and I have a small lap frame which has never been used -- should I go ahead and give it a try -- or am I taking a chance on messing up all the work I have put into the quilt top?  How long should it take to hand-quilt a full size quilt -- if I am able to work on it a couple hours every day.  Or should I just wait until I have a smaller project to start hand quilting.  Because it is for my daughter, I have the idea that I would like it to be hand-quilted, with love, but, I need to know if I am being too ambitious for a beginner.

What say, my sister quilters???  Anyone want to help me with this decision -- share your first hand-quilting experiences -- warn me off or encourage me on -- give me tips and techniques --- tell me what to watch out for --- Any help would be so appreciated.  And, the sooner, the better.

Thanking you in advance -- because you have all been so helpful on my earlier questions.

BarbS

 

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Barbara replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 10:38 AM

Barb, I don't really have any answers for you on this one , I guess alot of it depends on what patterns you are going to use , I have never done hand quilting on a quilt .I know there are several folks here that do and hopefully they can help you out, I personally  like to do machine quilting ,I get it finished in a couple of days then I'm off to the next project. Anyway good luck, look foward to seeing it when finished .Barbara

Liberty,Missouri

EAT!! SLEEP !! QUILT!!

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Sue replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 10:43 AM

Hi Barb,

Hand quilting can be so relaxing, provided you don't stress over stitch length.  You said you had some oopsies so if you make some in hand quilting there will be no biggie.  I'm sure your daughter will love it no matter what you decide.  As for how long?  Depends on how long you work and what kind of pattern you make.  Personally I do not like ditch quilting, I stitch 1/4" from the seam, if you have problems eyeballing the 1/4" use the tape, it makes it much easier and it is reusable too.  For a full size I would guess about 2 weeks or so, maybe longer, maybe not, all depends on you.

Whatever you decide, it will be great and please post a photo!

Good luck,

Hugs from Sue in the Piney Woods of East Texas

In The Piney Woods of Deep East Texas

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Nana replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 10:53 AM

Barb

Both hand quilting and machine quilting are beautiful.  I have just recently started handquilting.  I am really enjoying it.  I however do not use a hoop.  I have found that I have better luck with just laying the quilt in my lap and quilting.   I am doing a queen size and it is my 3rd week of quilting.   This particular one I am doing stitch in the ditch around all the sashing and then will do something different in the borders.   I figure at least another 2 weeks to finish.   I only do my handquilting at night while watching tv.

Vinton, Virginia

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Joni replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 10:59 AM

Oh Barb

Handquilting is so special for both the giver and the receiver.  And no matter how fancy a quilt handquilted will always shine over the machine.  I have also seen some great combined quilting, very inspiring.

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Carol replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 12:26 PM

Barb S:
 I have always wanted to try hand-quilting and I have a small lap frame which has never been used --
Barb, I learned to hand quilt the first thing, then learned to  pieces and all the rest.  But it was on a large frame with the quilt stretched out, with lots of friends to help.  I wonder if you should start on a small piece first to learn the technique?  It takes many many hours to handquilt a large one, you might get discouraged - then again, you might just love it like I did, and take to it like a fish to water!  I still love to handquilt, I keep one on  my frame all the time, and do it while I watch TV at night. And sometimes I use a hoop on small things - you will just have to try it and see how it goes, I guess.  Good Luck!

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KATHY replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 2:02 PM

I have always handquilted almost all of my quilt tops thru the years,  ( in a hoop or frame ) except for maybe 2........I think it would depend on how much time you devote to quilting it as to how long it will take.  If you don't work outside the home then if you really work on it you could probably have it done in no time......I work 40 hours a week, so it takes me alittle longer.  Good luck.

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Barb S replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 2:08 PM

Thanks Sue -- and thanks for the hugs too, because I am really feeling the need of one.  Just don't know what to do ---- as I am pin basting it  today, I am finding that the quilt is slightly off-square on one corner -- (not too surprised considering this was my first try with the setting triangles) -- but wondering if , given the off-square situation, either machine quilting or hand-quilting would make it better or worse.  It could definitely make the decision for me -- if  there is an advantage in either method for the off-square -- being an inexperienced quilter, I just have no idea -- ????

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Kris replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 3:23 PM

Barb,

you won't hurt the quilt. Make a practice sandwich so you build up a rhythm (goes for hand and machine quilting) then go for it. Choose a simple design so you don't get frustrated.

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gini replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 4:15 PM

Barb, just make a small sandwich ,  no bigger than 18 inches. First draw A few circles, lines, flowers, etc.   you will be able to tell how much you are going to like it, before you are finished with this piece,  and have fun

gini in north idaho

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gini replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 4:16 PM

You can use the practice piece as a small pillow

gini in north idaho

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Barb S replied on Sun, Feb 19 2012 11:22 PM

Thanks to all who responded to my "cry for help"  Barbara, Sue, Nana, Joni, Carol, Kathy,  Kris and Gini!  You are all so helpful and so kind.  I have decided to make the test sandwich and try a few simple designs.  I think I will find that I really love hand-quilting -- but maybe not enough to tackle this big quilt -- or then, again, you never know.  But it was certainly good to have some input -- I just love you gals!!!!  Thanks so much!

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Kris replied on Mon, Feb 20 2012 2:22 AM

You're welcome Barb. I'm glad you're liking hand quilting.

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Pat M. replied on Mon, Feb 20 2012 8:27 AM

Barb--

Hope I'm not too late with my thoughts (often I don't get on the computer on Sun.--might have to change that, though). I started hand quilting in the 70s and only in the last few years have I done machine quilting.  I find pins don't work for me when I hand quilt so I thread baste.  It always seemed that the pins were in the wrong place when I hoop and when the pins were removed there was more of a chance of shifting.  Not knowing what your quilt top looks like, you might machine ditch stitch (that would get rid of your pins) and hand quilt the rest.  It is prefectly fine to combine machine and han quilting.  I would practice first to see how you like quilting by hand.  Don't practice on too small a piece--for one thing you will get better the more you do it and too small a piece won't tell you much.  Don't be too hard on yourself when quilting---if  stitch is really long, take it out so that it won't get caught on something and break.  If the stitches aren't too long but are not the same length leave them in.  Even stitches take time.  I sometimes "warm up" on a practice" piece before working on a quilt.  But even then stitches can be a bit "off"--for me hand quilting tells your story.  Some days are better than others--just keep going.

Now that I've assumed (and you know what happens if someone "assumes") that you are going to hand quilt--I'll shift gears.  If you ditch stitched by machine and decided not to hand quilt it won't be hard to go back and add more machine quilting.

Just another thought--I never hand quilt in the ditch--if I'm going to put the time in I want my work to show.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the process.

Pat--"Keep Calm and Carry On"

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Sue replied on Mon, Feb 20 2012 11:07 AM

You are most welcome Barb, just remember to post a photo, we love to see what others are working on.

Hugs from Sue in the Piney Woods of East Texas

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