Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Mixing Machine and Hand Quilting

If perchance you thought you heard a squeal of delight earlier today, it no doubt was just me, reveling in the fact that I have put the last of the quilting stitches in my nephew's quilt, although not without a little drama. The photo shows the center of the quilt, which I'd hand quilted around the interlocking motif and machine quilted curvy lines through the diamonds, stopping short of the plan yellow diamonds. I was sure that area between hand and machine quilting would need to be hand quilted, and while working on the other filler designs, had decided spirals would be the thing. So I boldly began by hand stitching with the blue thread used elsewhere...and it looked dreadful. Not to worry, I'll just do it in yellow thread so that it doesn't stand out so much. To my surprise, that looked dreadful as well.

There's an art to mixing hand and machine quilting. Not only do they cause different rates of shrinkage, but the lines themselves look so different - one hard and visible, the other broken and softer. With care, they can work well together as long as their differences are kept in mind. After a little contemplation, I could see that machine quilting the spirals made more visual sense. Once again with boldness, I threaded up the machine with the blue thread and free-motion quilted the spirals. I'm surprised that I like it so well, but I think if nothing else, it's speaking the same language as the quilting in the adjacent diamonds, is much less disruptive to the eye since the hand stitching around the motif shows so little. So done done done with the quilting,

And not a stitch too soon. This is all I have left of the Oliver Twist hand-dyed thread. It is lovely thread but the disadvantage is that you can rarely buy individual spools. This is the third spool of it that has gone into this quilt - the first from the usual 5 pack of coordinated colors, the other two from the "two of a kind" pack that gives you one spool of thread and a variety of coordinated cotton and rayon specialty threads. I have found uses for some of those specialty threads, but I surely did not need more of them. Fortunately, three spools were enough.

So now it's on to trimming and binding and creating a label. I've tracked the days spent working on this over the past 11 years, so I will be going back through my records and adding up the days. I think I kept track of the actual hours spent on the hand quilting - I hope so. I know a lot of hours have gone into this quilt and I'm curious to find out just how ambitious a project I devised for myself.

1 comment:

MulticoloredPieces said...

Your central motif with the hand and machine quilting is very pretty. The swirls create interest--a very good idea. Your comments made me reflect on the differences between machine and hand quilting. I think I'll have to stick to machine quilting because of time constraints.
best, nadia