Quilt With Us

Until a year ago last fall, I hadn't owned a sewing machine for years. I always made all of my quilts completely by hand - still do many of them. But my hands aren't what they used to be, and with the huge amount of time it takes to make them, I finally realized that if I wanted to make more quilt tops that I could then hand quilt, I needed to buy a machine.

I still make some completely by hand - I just wondered if anyone else does the entire quilt completely by hand besides me? It is a lost and dying art, but so rewarding.

The quilt in my avatar is completely hand pieced and almost finished hand quilting. That one has taken me over 3 years of part-time devotion. I am currently making the Dear Jane off and on by hand, and have a Schoolhouse, and two others that I work on now and then..

Please tell me that there are other out there who do this as well..

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My mother-in-law makes her quilts completely by hand. She doesn't have a machine. (Well, she does have an antique featherweight treadle machine, but she doesn't use it.) She can make more than one quilt in a year. She only works on one quilt at a time, unlike me, who has several projects going at once. She is retired, though, and is quite reclusive, so other than gardening, she mainly quilts. Her favorite quilts are the Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagon quilts. She made my daughter one for graduation. The hexagons are about nickel-to-quarter sized and there are well over 9,000 pieces to that quilt. It is spectacular. She quilted 1/4" inside the seam on each hexagon. Sounds crazy, huh? She takes great pride in her "entirely-by-hand" made quilts. They are keepsakes. Of course probably one of the most noted "entirely-by-hand" quilter, author and teacher today is Jinny Beyer.

I have two hand-pieced, hand-appliqued projects in the works right now and I plan to hand quilt them sometime down the road. So you are not alone.
It's so hard to find enough time to hand piece and hand quilt a large quilt, but I have done a couple of baby quilts this way. I'm also hand piecing and hand quilting a Grandmother's Flower Garden which I got at an auction (unknowingly since it was hidden in a brown paper bag in a box of sewing notions). Each "flower" had been pieced and the individual hexagons had even been pieced with small bits of fabric in order to complete a whole hexagon. So to be true to the integrity of the quilt I'm continuing with doing all hand work on it. I enjoy doing hand quilting and hand piecing, but I get anxious to move on to other faster projects before I get those hand pieced items finished.
I guess about the only quilts I have made by hand have been ones that I have made using English Paper Piecing. The first one I did that way was a tumbling block/star that I made for a granddaughter. I have one that I just finished the interior of that is all clam shells. I am currently working on a Grandmother's Flower Garden, and now the miniature Dresden plate color wheel challenge (from the EPP group on this site). When I do hand applique I usually machine piece the blocks together.

I know how to hand piece, but when I teach most of the students want to learn machine piecing.
I still prefer to hand quilt even though I do mostly machine piecing.

By the way, what is an avatar? I don't think my dictionary's definition fits your usage.
yes, i do a few quilts entirely by hand. Most of them are by machine. All binding gets done by machine ,though.
I started out doing only hand piecing and hand quilting. Now, because there's so little time to do everything I need to do (let alone what I want to do) I machine piece and hand quilt. I do keep a totally hand project on hand to do when we go on trips. I find it less stressful stitching while riding. Those projects I usually name "on the road to ----" (wherever it is we're going. My daughter (in her early 30's does the same. That's a wonderful question. It's always interesting to find out how we all do these things we enjoy so much. Thanks. Joyce
I have done a hand pieced grandmother's flower garden block and a baby blocks wall hanging. I have never done a large project. I think it is easier to hand piece harder blocks than it is to do them by machine. I used to think that hand pieced items would not hold up as well, but after completing a couple of items I found the opposite to be true. Who would have thought! There is something about starting and finishing a whole project by hand. I am glad to hear that you work on several projects at once. My mom always told me to finish one thing before you start another, but I get bored sometimes working on the same thing for a long time. For example right now I am piecing a new quilt top but have nothing to hand quilt at this time. I think I will start a whole cloth quilt so I have something to work on between other projects.
I also hand piece and/or applique and quilt and bind almost everything I do, large or small. I own a wonderful Bernina and several antique sewing machines but they mostly collect dust! My grandmother taught me quilting when I was a young girl and I've always enjoyed hand work, now it brings back fond memories of those days with Grandma. I also love the portability of hand work. I usually work on a project on my bus rides to and from work every day - it's not a long ride but slow and steady and I get a lot done in what would otherwise be "wasted" time. All of the quilt pictures currently on my blog page are all hand done.
It is wonderful to meet other hand quilters like this. I agree that the portability does make the porjects so appealing - and that making some of the more difficult blocks by hand is so much easier then by machine. Set in seams make up so much nicer - at least for me - by hand; I usually do the simpler quilts by machine, and the more difficult ones by hand.. Plus, I just like the looks of a hand made quilt better - since most of the quilts I do make are reproduction patterns with reproduction fabrics, I love that they have the look of comfortable history to them when they are new.
Your avatar quilt is gorgeous Horsefeathers (love your name too) I am currently hand piecing all my Dear Jane blocks cause I want to get back to basics I used to hand piece all the time and really enjoyed it then got caught up in quilt store classes.. then it was teaching the classes.. now I have quit teaching and slowed the quilting process down so that I can enjoy what I love to do..I am currenly working also on hand applique projects I have 4 on the go. Aunt Millie's garden, Heartland, White Sampler, Love Letters...so I can see where you are coming from when you say (then.....)LOL
This quilt is done 100 percent by hand. It was hand pieced by my  husbands great great twin Aunts in the 1920s, and i hand quilted it in 2011.
Carla, you did a beautiful job of quilting such a family treasure.

Very very nice! What an heirloom, you are lucky to have this in your family



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