As a new member, I thought I would add a few thoughts to this discussion. I do both hand and machine quilting and both hand and machine piecing. I find there is a place for a variety of skills as I work my way through each project. I have avoided having my quilts professionally machine quilted, basically because I am selfish! When I display a finished quilt, I want it to be my workmanship on display. I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from knowing that from the first stitch to the very last stitch, each quilt I finish is the result of my own endeavor. This leaves me wondering - how would I have fared in the days of quilting bees, when many hands finished a quilt? Would I have been able to let go and let others help quilt my project? I will ponder that issue as I finish hand quilting the last few blocks of the very first quilt top I made, which was hand pieced some 31 years ago!
That is a really good question. Most of us are very proprieterial about our quilts. I wonder how any of us would have fared in the day of quilting bees.
I am having a quilt that was quilted at a bee. I love it, because it has the love, care, happy thoughts, and stitches of my friends in it. An everytime I see it, I am thinking of them.
I have donated two king size Double Wedding Ring tops which were quilted in a 'bee" and sold at charity auction. One has been auctioned, the other will go in August. It's in the frame now.
My quilts at home are all mine--start to finish, whether it takes 21 years, like my first started quilt, or under a year for some of my later ones.
Both kinds give me a great deal of satisfaction. The ladies that sit around the frame with me to quilt the auction quilts have become very dear to me. Even if their stitches aren't good anymore because they are in their 80s, it's okay. They are still giving time and talent to a worthwhile cause. They are carrying on what they learned from their mothers and grandmothers. I mean that quite literally. One lady started quilting at the age of 4, sitting on the back of the couch which was the same height as the quilt frame in her mom's living room. She's now 86.
When the first DWR and its companion wall hanging were sold a couple of years ago, it brought tears to my eyes. Together, a group of older ladies, and one middle age-ish one managed to earn $1500 for a charity by doing what we love.
I look forward to the first Wednesday of every month, when I can sit with ladies almost twice my age, and listen to their stories, and share the love and heritage of quilting. I can't picture a better way to spend a Wednesday.
Linda in Amish Country, Ohio