I do love hand quilting, really I do. The look of hand quilting is just so warming when you think that someone stitched the quilt with love. Although there was lots of love put into my first quilt, I do know that I was more then overjoyed when the last stitch was put in!
With this quilt I went from quilting 1 stitch (yes, I said 1; one; Uno!) to 4 stitches at a time by the end of the quilting. Oh, I thought I was so good then, but there was no way I was ever going to hand quilt another quilt! Never!
I know....famous last words. And never say never. About 5 years later I did hand quilt my second quilt. It was made with a combination of polyester & cotton, and of course is just didn't hold up. And I still didn't know much about what fabrics to use. No, I don't think I ever took a picture of that one. Needless, to say it was a few years after that before the quilting bug took hold of me hook, line and sinker.
So persistant was I at wanting to learn how to hand quilt that I read whatever books I could find and watched what women I could find that did quilt (and I didn't know many), but they weren't quilting how I wanted to. Around that same time (early 90's?) I was a moderator with a great group of "Crazyquilters" in a chatroom on the internet. One of those ladies could quilt like nothing I had ever seen before and that was how I wanted to quilt! I know, as I was lucky enough to receive a tablerunner from her and it was handquilted. Late one nite I asked Suzy how she got such small even stitches, and she instructed me step by step by typing in the chatroom (this was before webcams!) and my quilting improved big time.
And this is how I quilt today. Do you see the difference?
My stitches are small, the way I always wanted them to be, but not without a whole lot of practice! This is a wholecloth table topper with lots and lots of quilting to be done yet which I do pick up every now and then to put a few more lines in.
Do I hand quilt all my quilts? No, only the special ones. The last one I hand quilted was last year and it had at least 200 hours of hand quilting in it and that is a low estimate! I quit counting after 100 hours and it wasn't quite half finished!
Besides, I have way to much fun putting the quilt top together.