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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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Hi Joyce, I also like to hand quilt, and no your not crazy. I love the look and accomplishment of hand quilting, BUT my fingers are saying something differernt. I have a hard time holding the needle for a long time...Now I do machine piece, now a days Nice meeting you,
Yes, now at age 65 my fingers are also teaching me about pain. However, since I'm really committed to quilting by hand, I pace myself differently than I used to. Years ago I could quilt every day. Now I limit myself to two or three days a week with breaks in between. Of course those other days of the week I'm putting together yet another top to be quilted later. I think I shall not live long enough to finish everything I have begun. All is not lost however. I have a daughter who is a superb hand quilter and a granddaughter who, at age 12 has already been bitten by the bug. So I think I can feel confident about leaving my stash in good hands. Thanks for replying. Joyce
I hope I can join this group. I hand quilt and from now on hope to only hand quilt. I have sent things out to be quilted and have been so disappointed in the matress pad feeling. Now I look at a pattern with hand quilting in mind. I would like to know what brand of quilting thread everyone uses. I have used DMC in the past but it's hard to get. Teri
I am finding real hand quilting thread hard to come by. Most of the fabric stores feature thread for machine quilting, and they tell you its fine for both but I don't think so. I've used it and its far too silky for hand work. It gets knotted up as I'm pulling it through the cloth. We have a JoAnn Fabrics about an hour from my house, and I have to admit that's where I stock up when I get there. Also WalMart (should I even say the name) has a limited selection of hand quilting thread. I would rather get it from a quilt shop but I don't find it there. I've heard that the CT thread is great stuff but have yet to hear if any hand quilters are using it and how they like it. Glad to meet you. Joyce
Joyce, my daughter and I both like CT thread but for the majority I piece with coats and clark dual duty and quilt with their hand quilting thread. Why spend alot on thread when these two great brands work well.
sharon
Thanks for replying Sharon. Yes, Coats & Clarks is the brand I find at WalMart and it is specifically marked for hand quilting. You have to use what works best for you. Joyce

I am also a hand quilter & I too find hand quilting thread hard to find in my Area . ( New Brunswick Canada )  I bought some CT thread & find its great for hand quilting . That is what I,m using now . I have also bought Walmart Thread & have had good luck with it . Like some of you at almost 70 years of age I find arthritis has claimed alot of the use of my fingers & I cant quilt as fast as I used to . I quilt every day but limit myself to a few hours with breaks often

Marlene

HI Marlene,

There are some non-prescription medications available for arthritis pain.  One of those was a gel called 'Cobroxin', which is made out of cobra venom serum (very mild). It has helped me somewhat, but did not make my trigger finger go away. 

 

Hi Joyce! I too love to hand quilt...and hand piece...and hand applique! It gives me a sense of peace inside myself, and a sense of accomplishment. More than that, it connects me to the quilters who didn't have a machine because they hadn't been invented and mass produced yet. The machines are wonderful, but the hand work satisfies me in a way that machine work never will be able to do. Plus it's very portable and I can do it anywhere when I have a few minutes. It is also a delight in that others are always fascinated when they see me hand quilting or piecing, so they talk about the memories of loved ones who used to quilt and some ask a lot of questions because they want to learn how.

Lol I have to laugh at a memory that this post brings to mind. I learned to hand quilt from a booklet that I got with a wholecloth quilt kit. For fun and because I wanted to meet others who wanted to learn to hand quilt, I signed up for a class at my local quilt shop and turned out to be the only student! What makes me laugh about that was that the teacher, after looking at my stitches asked why I took the class, and I ended up teaching her how to hand applique!

In the guild that I belonged to last year (I switched guilds in December) there is an older woman who has her own method to hand quilt, so I had her teach me her method. It went against all of the wisdom/rules that I learned, but it works very well.

I don't think we're crazy...it's just that we dance to a different tune because we love the melody. :)

Cornwoman
You sound like a woman after my own heart. That is exactly why I love to hand quilt - I can just visualize all those women sitting around a quilt frame, sharing all kinds of advice, recipes, and just plain visiting while accomplishing so much useful work. Quilting, over the years, has been my therapy as the trials of life have struck, and a place to sit and give thanks once the storms were over. Last year I began doing research on quilts of the Civil War era, particularly those having to do with the underground railroad. My husband and I do Civil War era music for memorial events in our area. Isn't that fascinating! I'm in the process of reproducing a sampler from that period and to have it "real, " it does need to be hand done. And yes, I have even taken quilt projects camping. You cannot imagine how many people have stopped by our campsite to "see what I'm working on." I'm anxious to learn that different method you spoke about. So great to hear from you. Joyce
The method that the woman taught me was one stitch at a time. You bring your needle through the top layer, then plunge it straight down directly in front of where it came up. Then bring it back up directly in front of where it went down.

The reason that it's against quilting wisdom is that it's supposed to be difficult to achieve a uniformity of stitch length and that creating a straight line (or smoothly curved one) is difficult to achieve on both sides. I've tried the method and have found that surprisingly it works! I almost instantly went to 12 stitches to the inch and my quilting looks very uniform. I don't know if you can see the quilting well in my photo entitled "The Journey", but I used that method to quilt it.

Cornwoman
It seems that I've heard of this method before and now that you mention it, I think I will try it. This afternoon I sat hunched over my frame for several hours and boy, is my back saying things to me this evening. Thanks. I'm really enjoying this idea of sharing back and forth. Wonderful. Joyce

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