I field a lot of questions about hand-quilting. These mainly center around supplies, but once in a while I find out that someone heard from someone else that…fill-in-the-blank. Today I’m debunking 3 common hand quilting myths. If you want to know even more about hand-quilting, check out my YouTube video where I walk you through the process step-by-step, and my hand quilting Tips & Tricks blog post.
Myth #1: Hand quilting isn’t as durable as machine quilting
This is 100% NOT true! Especially with big-stitch hand quilting, which uses a thicker thread. Thicker thread means that it is harder to break in the first place than piecing thread would be. Not only that, but the way you’re creating the stitches, by rocking your needle from the front to the back of the quilt, means that if you did end up with a breakage, your thread wouldn’t suddenly unravel across half the quilt.
Still not convinced? The quilt below is one that is on our bed. I made it over a year ago, and it has been slept under every single night and washed, and washed. Not only has it held up beautifully, I don’t have a single repair spot on it, but it has become the softest and coziest quilt we own. Oh yeah, didn’t I mention? Hand quilting makes your quilt SO soft and drapy!
My mom made my nephew a quilt which was all hand-quilted as well. It has held up beautifully over the last year, and we’re talking about a 1.5 year old here folks! So don’t shy away from hand quilting, it definitely is as durable as machine quilting, maybe even MORE durable!
Myth #2: Hand quilting requires a ton of special supplies
Nope! You need a needle, some thread, a thimble and scissors. I’m sure you have at least one of those things laying around. In my hand quilting blog post and YouTube video I detail out all of my favorite supplies, but if you want to get started, you don’t need to buy what I recommend. Use what you have at home! Experiment! See what happens! Don’t have a thimble? Wrap a couple of band-aids around your finger for protection.
If you’d like to try hand quilting and don’t have a machine, consider doing a whole cloth quilt. You’ll be able to try out the technique without investing in a ton of supplies. You can even do whole cloth placemats if you want to start small.
Myth #3: Hand quilting only looks nice if your stitches are even
Let me in on a little secret. No one’s stitches are even! Nope, not even mine, and I’ve been doing this for a long time. I believe that’s the beauty of hand-stitching, that if you looked at my quilts you would know that a human hand sat, for hours, and created all of those stitches. That’s a look and feel that a machine will never be able to produce. Over time I’ve gotten them pretty even, sure, but they’re by no means perfect. And I don’t try to make them that way either! I don’t rip up stitches that look wonky, I let them be.
When you’re hand-quilting and your nose is 10″ away from your quilt, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. If you get frustrated with your stitches, put the quilt down on the floor, stand up and look down at it. Can you still see all your mistakes? No? Then it looks fine! With anything quilting, I find that all the little “imperfections” get lost in the design as a whole. Your eye doesn’t fixate on the small “wrong” spots, instead it will see the beauty of the quilt as a whole.
Truth: Hand quilting takes a long time
Okay, so I had to throw this one in at the end. There’s no getting around this one, hand quilting does take a long time to do. But, so does English Paper Piecing and Hand Applique! I always encourage people to try hand quilting. You might fall in love with it, as I have, or you might decide that it isn’t for you, and that’s okay too! But you won’t know until you try!
I love nothing more than to put on a movie, grab my quilting, and snuggle in for a cozy night on the couch.
I hope this blog post debunked your hand quilting myths! Still got a question about hand quilting? Ask it in the comments below!