Sunday, January 24, 2016

So how long is it going to take me?

Every so often I get asked how long it takes to hand quilt a quilt. I'm never able to come up with a good answer because it's not like I sit down, start quilting, and just work straight through as though it was an ordinary job with a set schedule. I quilt while watching television, which means it's for an hour or two at a time during the evening -- but not every evening. Out of curiousity, I decided this time that I'd keep track. I'll record the hours each day on a calendar. And then sometime later this year I'll have an answer.

Or maybe I should say hopefully sometime this year. . . the bit you see in the photo took about 5 hours to do. The problem with quilting while watching television is, of course, that if the action on the screen is particularly interesting, the needle in my hand stops moving. I've mentioned before I quilt using a hoop, which makes the work portable, sort of. This particular quilt tends to be a bit awkward to work with as it's about 110-inches square with a pattern running on a diagonal. Usually I start in the middle and work out toward the edges. This time I started in the middle but think I'll go all the way to the ends of the stripe I'm on before moving over to the next stripe. Maybe.

On the positive side, this is one quilt where I don't have to worry about the marking from the quilting template showing up. Even the print fabric is light enough that I'll be able to see the pattern.

I may have mentioned before that hand quilting on a large scale seems to have gone out of fashion. The only time I've seen it in recent years was on the micro-quilts, the little tiny wall hangings or placemats. Almost no one does it on big quilts anymore. Quilting catalogs still carry the pre-stamped "white on white" quilt tops but I always wonder just how many they're managing to sell. The idea behind a white-on-white was to show off your hand-quilting skills, but the last time I met anyone who had actually done one the lady was in her 80s -- and that was almost 30 years ago. She may have been the last person alive to bother. I do know that at the last quilt show I attended, every single large quilt had been machine quilted in a stipple pattern, which was weirdly disturbing. Not even the people who machine quilt are bothering to get creative. There are continuous line quilting patterns that allow a person who's machine quilting to loop around doing stars and hearts and flowers, but, nope, they're all stippling. It's fast, it's easy, and it's remarkably forgiving if you screw up.

The purple floral print fabric is from the Thelma stash. I'm not sure why my aunt Thelma bought it but she must have liked it a lot. There had to have been at least 20 yards of it. I've used multiple yards of it for quilt backs, Tammi recovered the seats on her dining room chairs with it, it's been used in smaller pieces in other projects. . .  I was beginning to think we'd never see the end of it.

Now that I've started quilting this particular project, I need to get serious about figuring out what to do next. I'm not real picky about the pattern, but it has to be one without points. I've never been very good at setting triangles neatly.


  1. A lady in Chicago that seldom blogs anymore sometimes takes a year or two to finish a quilt.

  2. Lovely work. Quilting is a fascinating hobby with so many opportunities for creativity.


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