Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Views about Machine Quilting

I must say that I am one of those people who prefer hand quilting. I also must say that after going to so many quilt shows lately I admire machine quilting. I know some of my friends are falling over right now. I am not sure if they fainted or if it is because they are laughing so hard!

I always loved the look of hand quilting and actually enjoyed hand quilting. The problem I have is I like lots of quilting and I just don't have that type of time. I have quilts that I started hand quilting more then 10 years ago. Two of these quilts have special meaning to me, so they will never be finished by me other then by hand. Now the other two quilts I can see me machine quilting them just to get them finished. The problem I have with both of these quilts is that they are large, have polyester batting in them and would be difficult to do on my domestic machine.

I recently quilted a quilt that is less then 50" square on my sewing machine. I had a few areas that were difficult to quilt, but most of it was fun. The hard part is deciding how I am going to quilt the piece. Borders are the biggest problem, because all four sides are usually alike and need to be quilted the same. Sometimes that is easy if the fabric has a pattern to use as a guide, but when the fabric offers no clues for the quilting???? I know I can use a quilt stencil, but that means an extra step. Funny I don't mind that step when I hand quilt, but when doing it by machine I kind of like the freedom to not having to follow a line. I think part of that is because I find it difficult to follow a line. My walking foot has an offset opening for pulling the threads through. I can't line up with that unless I move my needle......HA, I just thought of that. Why didn't I think about that when I was quilting???????????

Another problem I discovered for me is that moving the fabric with my hands causes my right hand to hurt right in the middle of the palm. Funny thing is I don't notice it while I am quilting, just when I am trying to relax and do something else. I also noticed that I need to take breaks to relax my shoulders. I get too tense trying to do the design just a certain way.

I did learn that making circles is easier in one direction then it is going the opposite direction. This is a good thing to know, but my natureral instict is to start in a place to cause me to to the direction that is not good for me. In time as I do more machine quilting I will remember where to start to make it easier.

I think the thing that I learned that really impressed me is that when you step back from the quilt about 3 feet all the imperfections disappear. It is when you nose is 6" away while you are sewing that things really look bad. Also when quilting close the imperfections seem to disappear as more quilting is added. Or maybe it is because I want to get the quilt done that I stop seeing the "problems" and just overlook what bothered me when I sewed the design.

Oh well! All I know is that I had better learn to love machine quilting, because I have lots of samples to quilt of my new patterns. I sent off last week for the last of the approvals I need before I start selling my patterns. So I will have several for sale soon!

It was cold here today, but not nearly as bad as it is where they are playing foot ball today. I can't believe they schedule a night football game in Green Bay, WI in January!

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