Friday, January 06, 2006

Ohio Stars & Rails Done...

I started this quilt the day after 9-11. Alot of people started patriotic quilts that week. It only took me this long to get this one FINISHED! Who would have thought that this long after...we'd still be at war in Iraq.

The reason this took me this long was because I wanted to hand quilt this project. I could have machine quilted it quickly, but somehow when hand quilting and doing other hand work I am able to put my thoughts and prayers into the stitches....stitching with a purpose, you know?

Yesterday someone asked me how I decide which projects I want to hand quilt, and which to machine quilt. I guess it depends on the look I want for the finished quilt.

With this quilt, color wise....I would have had to use three colors of thread that contrasted greatly, red, navy, and white. And the patches in the 6" stars are so small that outlining them would be a pain. What would I want to quilt in the red sashings and the white sashings? I'm not crazy about dark machine quilting thread on light areas, or white machine quilting thread scribbling all over dark areas. However, hand quilting is different! You just see little dots and dashes, and mostly texture...where in machine quilting you see a line of thread. It's like the difference between a running stitch, and a stem stitch. Machine quilting is like a stem stitch because you see the whole line.

Busy busy scrappy quilts where hand quilting isn't going to show, or machine heirloom detail quilting isn't going to show are great candidates for all over edge to edge machine quilting because the threads blend in. Something like this ohio stars and rails? Nope..it needed to be hand quilted to me.

I hand quilted this with white thread and you can barely see the white stitches. Just the dimples where the stitches are. This wouldn't have been the case if I had machine quilted the whole thing with white thread.

I like to hand quilt solids. Or other fabrics that read as solids. This is another place where machine quilting can require changing alot of threads unless the quilting design is SUPPOSED to contrast with the fabrics. Batiks can usually handle wonderful machine quilting where the thread contrasts. Amish quilts? Nope. They are something that screams "HAND QUILTING" to me. It's the feeling it requires. I think you can get a subtleness with hand quilting that you can't with machine quilting.

Don't get me wrong...I LOVE MACHINE QUILTING! I wouldn't be doing what I am doing if I didn't...and I still machine quilt a lot of my quilts, just certain ones require me to spend more time with hand work, and I think this is all a good thing.

Other differences between hand and machine? I do not like cross hatching by machine. It's that thread line on top of the fabric thing. I love it for hand quilting, but for machine quilting? It just reminds me of a matress pad. It's too perfect? Too stiff? Not to mention all the starts and stops. It's nightmare for a machine quilter. I'd rather see something flowing machine quilted in there than a straight rigid cross hatch grid. But for hand quilting....it's gentler, softer and I like it.

I guess that's one of the great things about quilting....we can each do things the way WE OURSELVES like them, no matter what anyone else thinks. And it is great that there is differing opinions out there. It's highly likely that our opinions change one way or another over time too, and I am always open to new ideas. Quilt to Please Yourself!



  1. Bonnie, I think I had seen pictures of this in progress before and remember I just loved it! The fans look wonderful - again! And the hand-quilting is just the right detail! This is a wonderful quilt!

    Oh I have got to finish some of mine soon or I'm going to bust!

  2. I think it looks wonderful and definitely was worth the wait for completion. I like the fans I see in the borders..*VBS* Good job Bonnie! And we know there is another hand quilted one or 5 coming, don't we????? *VBS* I love that there are still some hand quilters out there..*S*

  3. Bonnie,
    This quilt is just spectacular! I love hand quilting, too, but I seldom take the time to do it anymore. This quilt was truly worth the wait!


  4. You sum it up nicely with your closing statement - Quilt to Please Yourself! Or, as my Nana used to say - Each to their own.

    Another beautiful quilt Bonnie. I am sure this one is very special to you with all the time you put into it. Ummm - you DO have favorites, don't you?



  5. Bonnie -

    I love the red, white and blue quilt! I think it was worth the wait. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Anonymous10:28 PM EST

    Now it's finished, this quilt evokes warm fuzzies for family, friends and country. You're right - the hand quilting "makes" it.

  7. I love this quilt Bonnie. You've also answered a question I was pondering of when you choose to hand quilt a project and when to machine quilt.

  8. I love this quilt! I send all of my projects (mostly wall hangings) to the quilter. I am not a great hand quilter. I think it is because I don't have patience for it. I need to figure it out though!

    Very nice quilt!

  9. I love how this quilt turn out.. it is beautifull patriotic one! Love the handquilting. and indeed the fans are lovely on it. ( everytime again


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