Monday, March 8, 2010

Country Quilt

I call myself a quilter....but really I'm not. I'm a topper....I just do the piecing and appliqueing. The quilting part? Maybe I've done 5 or 6. The time frame Barb and I work with doesn't allow the time to hand or machine quilt a piece. Especially when we can find real quilters who can take a quilt and make it look better than we ever imagined. They are masters of the negative space!

But every now and then I think it's time to pull out the supplies again. Just to feel the rhythm of the needle and thread.

Thought you might like to see this small quilt I'm hand quilting. My trusty tools are in the bone dish. I love the chalk wheel. I purchased this one about 11 years ago. The pink chalk shows up on dark and light fabric. The chalk brushes away after the quilting is completed. Luckily this tool is refillable. Couldn't quilt without a thimble. I need a large sturdy one!

The thread is size 8 pearl cotton. I use a Chenille needle....it's sharp and has a large eye.

The hoop is important for me. You need a sturdy hoop that expands and tightens. Get the more expensive hoop....you will thank yourself later.


My favorite quilting template is one I made about 20 years ago. It's a traditional Baptist fan pattern. The circular lines are 1" apart on a 12" square piece of plastic template and portions of the lines are cut away with an exacto knife.




I have done fine hand quilting....but only on a couple of quilts. This "country quilt" method seems to work best for me. It's quick and does the job. You can tell by my stitches that I'm not going to win any blue ribbon. I get a bit better as I stitch....the rhythm comes back and my stitches become more regular....but I'm not concentrating on a pretty stitch. I'm concentrating on speed.

Wishing you many small stitches in all of your quilts!

Until later,

Alma

29 comments:

  1. In years to come, your family will appreciate the quilts done by your hands whether they are perfect or not. You work looks wonderful to me. Happy stitching!
    ~Joyce in MI

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  2. Quilting is a big subject with me. I used to be a hand quilting snob (pre child, work etc) it wasn't a quilt unless it was hand quilted as far as I was concerned. I don't have time to hand quilt anymore so now I machine quilt. I learned that rules are for wimps. We just need to do what works for us and not worry about what others think. Your work is beautiful and even more so because it comes from your hands.

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  3. Thanks, I love your inspiration about hand quilting again. In the bottom of a fabric tote I found an 80's blue and pink 9-patch quilt that I put away YEARS ago after some hand quilting with a fine white thread. I don't think I could manage that needle now with my arthritic hands, but I CAN use #8 pearl cotton with bigger stitches and I think it will look just fine. After all, who's going to criticize me for the change? Not my family! Not any charity I might give it too! Not me, I love using pearl cottons. Thanks!

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  4. I have never quilted, but I love the vintage and vintage looking quilts! Yours is going to be beautiful!

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  5. I'm always inspired by what you're doing, whether it's photography, quilling (I think I tried that about 40 yrs ago!), covering boxes. Just got your new book yesterday and started hyperventilating about how I was EVER going to get all the projects done I want to do. The quilt you're showing today is my favorite style and has inspired me to get out that small project I've been meaning to quilt. I'll take it in the car with us in a couple of weeks when we head to Florida. I might try size 12 pearl cotton. Have you? Thanks for all your ideas. You girls are unbelievable!!
    Marian J

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  6. Hi Marian,

    I have used size 12 pearl cotton. Not all colors come in the size 12 though....size 8 is still fairly fine and works great too.

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  7. It's always good to have a needle in hand.... So relaxing and creative. Have a great week Alma.

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  8. I'm just a topper too. If I didn't get into so many things, I think I would love to do hand quilting. Maybe I should try it though. It would be fun to have something that I did myself from start to finish instead of sending it out to my quilter.

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  9. Big quilt stitches are in! You could be like I used to be and get less done by being so concerned with how many stitches in an inch. Checking all fabric in the quilt etc to make sure the stitching is great. I think there are reasons for both types of quilts.

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  10. I just purchased your Garden Party. I saw it at Prairie Point and fell in love with it. I love your fabrics too, but am waiting for the new French General fabrics to be out and see if I can mix them. It will eventually go on our bed! I have to make it bigger than the pattern.
    Love quilting with P cotton too! It is just fun for me. So far I have used size 8. It reminds me of embroidery.
    Love your new book too alma. There just are not enough hours in a day, but am moving as fast as I can!

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  11. Good for you on the quilting. I learned to quilt by hand quilting. I still will do the smaller type quilts for walls or tables but not those larger ones. Making the tops is my favorite part of it all and I am happy to send the larger ones out.

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  12. The fan design is my favorite also and I have many sizes of templates for it. I am hand quilting now doing my template-free fan quilting. You know, just winging it. I love all the greys.

    Laurie

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  13. So pretty! I love hand quilting, but it does take sooo much time! It's weird cause I enjoy the process but rarely have the patience to finish a big quilt. Ah well! I love the quilt you're quilting now. So pretty! I love that quilting design as well -- all over patterns are so cool!

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  14. I am happy to see that hand quilting is still being done by someone! I am getting ready to teach hand piecing and hand quilting at my local quilt shop. It'll be interesting to see if there are still any folks out there willing to learn this beautiful craft. :0)

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  15. Your quilt is pretty. I think many of us are more toppers than quilters but there is satisfaction in both.
    When your schedule is busy it's nice to have someone whip up some fancy quilting, but there is also that joy of doing it yourself. For me, when I do quilt, hand quilting is what I love to do most. It's nice to have needle and thread in hand.

    Thank you for sharing your quilt with us today :)

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  16. I like to handquilt occasionally too, I find it very relaxing. I like the look of the perle and my stitches will never be small enough to win any prizes either. I used to use the perle thread but now I use Gutterman Sulky thread. It's fantastic - gives the look of perle but much softer and easier to work with.

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  17. So glad to hear that you took some time for yourself to enjoy a bit of handquilting. I am a recently retired longarm quilter but in real life I am definitely a hand quilter. If I do not plan ahead to have something to work on at night I am truly at a loss! What does one do with their hands? I am looking forward to starting some of the projects from the lovely patterns you sent. It is going to be difficult to decide which one to do first. Louise

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  18. You are a girl after my own heart! I cannot make small stitches to save my life but I do enjoy (occasionally) hand quilting so I've learned to love my larger stitches. blessings, marlene

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  19. I wouldnt care if you and Barb quilted it or not, all your work is full of beauty and heart. I know we do it for ourselves once in a while. Some times I will stitch in the ditch to get the quilt together and then be able to go back and accent with hand quilting or finish the blocks that way. I have some old Blue Willow bone dishes that were my grandmothers, I think I will put one by my chair - I think of her often and it always looks nice in your photos.
    Linda P in GA

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  20. Oh that just sings to my soul. I'm not a hand quilter, but the look of your quilt in that hoop is just beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Maybe I need to push myself and hand quilt one of mine. You're so inspiring!

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  21. I love the look of hand quilting with larger stitches.
    If I want small, I do that on the machine. I tend to like the applique work the most, though.

    Debbie

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  22. Dear Alma I stop by often to look at your blog and every time I do I am happy to see you have something so nice cooking up. You have the mentality of a teacher and you are always trying to teach us good things. Thank you for your lovely blog. Izzy

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  23. How beautiful!! Very interesting to see that you use a template, what a good idea! I didn't know I could do it this way...

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  24. So often I feel my vision outrmy technical skills and I beat myself up until I realize that without that vision I would be at best a very limited quiltmaker.
    I love the fabrics you are using!! And I also love your take on accepting yourself where you are, which when I'm being rational I do too.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your great pictures too.
    Janet

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  25. oh i definitely agree! your quiting is just right for that quilt. when finished it will look very much like an antique quilt, pieced and quilted by someone's favorite aunt and then handed down thru the family. it just doesn't get any better than that.

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  26. Alma - I uploaded some photos of a basket quilt that a friend of mine completed from the book When the Cold Wind Blows. I though you might like to see it - it's beautiful! http://sewuniquecreations.com/SewUniqueCreationsBlog/?p=446

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  27. Alma, love the look and colors of your country quilt! I love the look of the country stitching, but always wondered about hiding those knots. Do you have any trouble with the knots using the #8 pc? I have some #8 and will have to try it out. I've tried using the #10 crochet cotton and can't seem to get the knots hidden, so decided to give that one up.

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  28. Chelle,

    It's not hard to hide the knots at all. They pop easily right through the fabric and are easily hidden.

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  29. Great quilt, love your hand quilting!!

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