Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hand Quilting

Quilting by hand can be quite therapeutic. It can be therapeutic unless, of course, you’ve got cats and dogs vying for your attention.

After sandwiching The Fall Quilt, I decided to hand quilt it using simple squares in squares. To mark off the squares I’m using painter’s tape (the blue stuff) in one-inch width to make an eight-and-a-half-inch square and quilting outside and inside the tape lines. I’ll admit the idea came from the book Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke for both the quilt and quilting pattern, except instead of perle cotton I’m using doubled up 30wt cotton thread. Yes, it bunches every now and then, but after years of hand sewing using two strands instead of one, it isn’t so bad. However, part of me is regretting not using the perle cotton. Next time, Cory. Next time.

Anyway, I do most of my quilting at work during my two hour lunch break since, well, there isn’t much else to do. I’ve found this is the easiest way to work on the quilt since I can plop it onto the reception counter and quilt away, whereas at home I want to sit on the sofa or chair-and-a-half and there isn’t anything to rest it on but my lap, which doesn’t work so well. Sure I could probably do it at the kitchen table, and I’m sure one day I will do that, but for now this seems like the best solution to spend my lunch that doesn’t involve spending money. Except when the clinic cats want to plop their asses right smack in the middle of the part I’m quilting or an attention-starved boarding dog is in the reception area and demands either lap time or a long petting.

Me being me, here are a few suggestions. First of all, use a real quilting hoop because the difference is amazing. Find one that works for you by holding it in your arm and resting it either on your stomach or mimic however you would quilt that feels natural. Just because wood works for me doesn’t mean plastic won’t work for you. The more pins the better, especially for fine needle work, something I don’t think I’ll ever have the patience for but can’t help but admire people like Glenn (www.glenndragone.com) who seem to do it effortlessly with amazing results. And finally, if using blue painter’s tape and you want it to be one-inch wide, by all means just go buy a roll of it rather than cutting down a two-inch roll because you happen to have it and are far to cheap and lazy to get the correct one.

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