|DMC Perle 8|
There have been some interesting discussions lately about how to keep hand quilting alive in a quilting scene increasingly dominated by long arm quilting.
Some of the issues our members have raised include include:
- local quilt shops no longer stocking hand quilting supplies (hoops, needles and the right kind of thimbles)
- quilt shows no longer having separate categories for hand quilted quilts
- quilting magazines that have stopped even mentioning hand quilting
|DMC Perle 8|
1. Hand quilting supplies. If your local shop won't get a product in for you, get online and order it yourself. If you can use Facebook, you can track down a supplier. If you're uncomfortable entering your credit card details online, make a quick phone call and order the product over the phone. (I'm not going to mention any companies here because I've used the same frame for years and am perfectly happy with it.)
Within Celebrate Hand Quilting we have Shameless Self Promotion Day on the last day of every month. Members are permitted to advertise their quilting businesses and products on that day. We have hoop manufacturers, whole cloth manufacturers, hand quilting teachers etc. If you're after something it's worth becoming a member and watching out for those adverts on the last day of the month.
2. Quilt Shows. I personally don't think quilt shows need to have separate categories for hand quilted quilts, unless they are also offering categories for long arm quilting and domestic machine quilting. I prefer to look at the quilt as a whole - the fabrics, design, piecing and quilting. They all have to work together. Examining the hand quilting in isolation means the judges are only looking at the hand quilting and ignoring the rest of the quilt. Maybe I feel this way because I'm not striving for perfection in my hand quilting,but rather using it as a way to enhance my quilt. I know some of you will disagree with me here.
McCall's Quilting is very popular in USA and recently one of their editors reached out to the Celebrate Hand Quilting group and asked what kind of hand quilting articles we would like to see in their magazines. I sent a reply and explained the modern approach to hand quilting which uses big stitches and coloured threads. Hopefully you'll see an article on modern hand quilting one day.
|Aurifil 12wt (red spools) and 28wt (grey spools)|
How do I think we can keep hand quilting alive? Here are my thoughts:
- talk about it. Tell your friends and family you're a hand quilter. Become known at your guild as a hand quilter. Show your hand quilted quilts during Show and Tell at your guild. Be proud of being a hand quilter even if you're work isn't quite as good as some others yet. Not all machine quilting is perfect either!
- support other hand quilters. Follow blogs of other hand quilters and get to know those people online. Ask questions about how they hand quilts and learn from them. I've made some great hand quilting friends on Instagram and through my blog.
- post photos of your hand quilting on social media - your blog, facebook instagram, pinterest etc. Get the message out there that hand quilting is still alive and as well as honoring our ancestors, it can be fun, modern, and relevant.
- enter your hand quilted quilts into shows, even if there isn't a category for hand quilting. Be sure to include in your description that you hand quilted it yourself.
I entered my hand quilted la passacaglia in the Online Bloggers' Quilt Show last year and it won Viewers' Choice! Yes, a hand quilted quilt won over all those fancy machine quilted quilts. Do I think people voted for it because it was hand quilted? No, not especially. I think they voted for it because it was an intricate design pieced in beautiful colours. But I was still proud to say it was hand quilted.
|Wonderfil Razzle (Perle 8 thickness)|
If you've got any more suggestions on how to keep hand quilting alive, just leave a comment below. I'll write another post in a few weeks incorporating all the suggestions.
The photos in this post are all examples of quilts I've hand quilted myself. I love using coloured threads and big stitches that let the threads shine through.