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I am a "hand quilter only" and would like to meet others who feel the way I do about this seemingly lost art. I've been quilting for nearly 30 years, and while I love what machine quilting can accomplish, I just am passionate about hand quilting. Call me crazy. I live in rural upstate NY.

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OMG! you put tears in my eyes. The best things in life are the simple things that make us feel good, like quilting, bulbs bursting thru the ground in spring. Makes me want to get out the sound of music and listen to a few of my favorite things! Have a great day, I need to get my kitchen cleaned up so I can go work on a quilt.
The Sound of Music - I have that movie and we play it every single New Year's Day just as a reminder. Joyce
I am so happy to have found this forum. I used to think I was the only one out there who still hand quilted because most of the quilt shows I attend, and many of the folks I know that quilt all use the machine quilting techniques. Now I am in quilters heaven. I've heard from so many people who feel as I do. It's not about the "time" involved so you can get on to the next project - its about the craft of stitching and the bridge extending from another era. Life is far too stressful to be that anxious to finished and on to something else - especially if its something you love. This week we began watching re-runs of the Waltons. I should have been alive then.
I love the Waltons, when family was the most important thing. Too many are too busy these days trying to find happiness, but not looking in the right places.
Hey Joyce!
I am a hand quilter just like you. I guess I like it because when I first started sewing in my early teens I learned to sew by hand. My mother wouldn't let me use her machine and I was determined to make my clothes so I learned to sew by hand. I back stitched every stitch for durability and it was very satisfying.
Some years later after I graduated from high school, I received a sewing machine as a gift but for years I perfered to sew by hand. Then I had children... 3 little girls ( and a little boy) and to keep up with sewing every thing for them I learned to use the machine. Now all the children have grown up and my love of fabric and hand stitching has directed me in another direction -- quilting.
I started quilting three years ago. My first project was a queen sized quilt -- it took me a year to piece it together. I still back stitch every stitch for durability which of course takes longer but does not pull apart like a running stitch does. For a year I couldn't quilt because of carpal tunnel. Then I finally had the surgery. So now I am actually quilting my quilt.
I love the way it is turning out, but of course hand quilting is slow go. I hope to finish quilting it by the end of this year. I have pieced several additional tops, also by hand -- large throw size -- because I try to have something to work on wherever I go. It seems as though I am always waiting some where. Also, I have machine quilted a few smaller projects -- a tree skirt and a baby blanket. But hand work is more my style.
I live in a rural area in Alabama at this time. (My husband is a Pastor and we have live in four states since we married. Wherever the Lord leads that's where we go.) And for the last 15 year I have worked in a 242 bed nursing facility. I just wish I had more time to quilt.
Sharon,
Even though I do not work full time outside of our home, I still wish I had more time to quilt. During flu shot season I help with the paperwork, and some mornings I would sit and quilt for the half-hour or so between breakfast and leaving for work. Reminds me of one of the women telling me she remembers her mother would keep her quilts or piecing near the kitchen so she could sew between preparation steps in cooking meals.

I am about ready to head off to a quilt group. One of the things I still need to do is pack the quilt I am currently working on to take with me. It is queen size. They may laugh at me about moving in, but I haul my quilt and supplies in a large suitcase on wheels and take it with me to groups. That way I can visit and quilt at the same time. Most of the other women either hand piece, appplique or embroider blocks, but since I do mostly machine piecing, I hand quilt. It took me about a year and a half to do my brother's king-size quilt just working two mornings a week this way, but I got it done.

Welcome to the group and keep up the hand work. --Cat Lady
Sounds like the group I belong to. We used to have a very structured group with rules and officers and specific projects or a special "teacher" would come and show us a new technique. That was fine but there was always that other group who only came for the fellowship and to bring a project of their own to work in. Over the course of about a year it became an "us and them" thing, so the group disband. Well, the ladies who just wanted the fellowship still wanted a place to come too, and there seemed to be enough of us so we changed our name, decided this would be the no-stress quilters. Now we all show up with a project to work on, quite a few of us come with a rolling suitcase, we all sit in a circle and stitch, visit and have a wonderful time. Occasionally a project idea surfaces, like since the beginning of January we are all making tote bags for our town library. (using remnants from an upholstery store). I had the pleasure of teaching a newcomer how to make those knots at the beginning and end of a stitch line. While I enjoyed the structure of a group that was always teaching something, I also enjoy the fellowship of ladies who just want to get together and quilt. Aren't we fortunate to be able to make those kinds of choices. Joyce
Actually I belong to two groups that are vert loosely organized. The one that met today (Thursday) is more like a small group. There are about twelve of us who meet. We have no leaders, and if something needs to be done we talk about it and follow the group consensus model. This goup is the oldest continuous group of quilters in the area and they have worked this way for a long time. Often you are invited by one of the members to join them. We share knowledge and expertise, so learn from each other. One of the members, who is a very accomplished needle-turn appliquer will be helping me on a project I will working on soon. This group is the "mother" to two other groups in town.

The second group (a daughter to the first) is more organized. We elect officers and hold official meetings following Robert's Rules of Order. This is the group that will be doing a quilt show over Valentine's weekend. However, we do not have a charter or constitution to follow or pay any dues. There are about fifty members, so we do not get to know everyone as many of us sit with the same group of quilters from week to week. Sometimes we have demonstrations, but they are usually one of the members showing us a new tecnique they learned someplace.

Sometimes I miss not being involved in a guild where you pay dues and go to workshops by well known teachers, but they almost all meet in the evening, and since my husband's stroke, he does not like me to be gone in the evening.
Hi Sharon,
Thanks so much for your story. I can't believe you back stitch through an entire quilt. What patience you have! You sound a lot like me. I began sewing at about age 10, raiding my mother's scrap box and making doll clothes. My mother really didn't want me to sew because she worked in a dress factory and I think she must have thought that if I showed any initiative toward sewing I would end up in a factory, like her. Well, of course I did want to sew and was finally able to use a sewing machine. I can remember so clearly taking Home Economics in high school, when the other girls were making their first apron I made a blouse because I was already making my own clothes.
I actually never knew that people quilted until young adulthood and attended a meeting of ladies that was called Home Bureau. I think Cooperative Extention offered it in rural areas. I was floored by all those tiny stitches and just had to try it. As they say the rest is history.
When I married my husband he lived in a log cabin with no electricity (his choice). I told him before we married that if he wanted me for a wife I had to have a sewing machine so he found a wonderful treadle machine for me as a wedding gift. I used that treadle for nine years. Finally we had electricity installed and he gave me a brand new "electric" machine for Christmas. I have to laugh because now I have three sewing machines, one is a real small one that I carry to quilters gatherings.
I live in rural New York State and my husband is also a pastor and I am a Certified Lay Speaker. I still work part time as a church secretary for two different churches locally. I love that because I can decide when to come into the office, as long as I get the church bulletins out on time and the monthly newsletters in the mail before deadline.
As a young adult I used to dream about living in a log cabin and doing nothing but quilting. Well, God sure heard my heart and put me in the right place. Glad to meet you. Joyce
Hey Joyce, thanks for sharing your story with me. Do you still own your treadle? My first Home Ecomonics project (the apron you mentioned everyone else was making), I made on it a treadle when I was in the 7th grade. Our Jr. High school only had treadles. As my children would say...back in the olden days.
What exactly is a Certified Lay Speaker? Let me rephrase that, how did you get certified as a lay speaker? Does that open up more doors to speak? If I may ask, what demonination are you associated with?
Speaking of speaking, as of late my voice has been all most silenced... about two years ago I developed a paralized vocal cord. They have done a variety of test but can not seem to determine why it happened. The good news is that it is not related to a serious condition (Praise the Lord!) They told me if the nerve was going to repair itself it would do so in a year. Two years later it is no better in fact it might be a tad worse. Worse in that it greatly hinders talking. Up until two years ago I have always taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. Now I can't hardly speak much louder that a whisper. Can you imagine a preacher's wife who can't talk?? The verse I have been claiming is, "Be still and know that I am God". Presently I am praying about the possiblitiy of having something done surgically for it. I am going to ask my doctor about it and then let God show me his will.
Good thing the voice doesn't affect my sewing. My goal for January was to complete 2 blocks for my desert sky quilt and Ifinished four blocks and am close to completion on block five. So I am ahead of the game this month.
Hope you had a great weekend. Sharon
Sharon, I can relate just a little to your vocal dilemma. I once sang in the choir and often sang solos in church and for weddings and funerals. I have since had my allergic asthma escalate to the point where it has impacted my bronchial passages. I try to avoid my triggers because use of even my emergency inhaler results in bronchial infection. Anyway, the result is I no longer have the vital lung capacity to sing. I can speak, but not as audible as I used to. God keep you. --Cat Lady
Cat Lady,
Thank you for selecting me for a friend!!! I thought no one would ever pick me -- I selected a friend and haven't heard from her since...
As for the voice, other people just don't realize how devastating losing your voice can be. If I try to carry on a conversation I get so out of breath and if there is any background noise I am very difficult to hear. I know God is sovereign and in control and He has His purpose but some times it is easy to forget that. When my voice really got bad my husband and I had just moved to a new church field. We had been in the same church for 13 years. We moved to new state, new church, our youngest child chose not to move with us so now we are empty nest and I lost my voice. Lots of changes!!
But life is good, I have a wonderful husband, we have good health, four children, three grandchildren, and two granddogs. I have a job I enjoy (well most days), but I would give it up in a minute in order to do house bound ministry and be able to quilt more.
Thanks for your concern and for choosing me for a friend!
Sharon

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