Modern quilting and the minimalist aesthetic that started with its birth gave rise to a lot of straight line quilting and simple design. I have heard many debates about the authenticity of quilts by older, traditional quilters based on how much of a quilt was done by hand (a dear hand quilter/sewist I know insists a quilt made on a machine is not a quilt, it’s a blanket)! We all know that the complexity of a quilt and the amount of hand work does not define the true nature of our work. Pushing aside the old school notions of how to complete a quilt, the current trend of slow sewing has brought hand quilting to the forefront in a lot of modern quilts.
One of the first hand quilters that really seamed to push my interest toward picking up a hand needle is Maura Ambrose of Folk Fibers. Maura uses the sashiko technique of stitching to finish her quilts with stunning results (and she will be teaching at QuiltCon)! Other quilters and designers such as Anna Maria Horner, Sherri Lynn Wood and Sarah Fielke have also brought hand quilting in the lime light. Sarah has a wonderful book, too, Hand Quilted with Love. She has a great video tutorial, too. Hand quilting also does not have to stick to the old school norms. It can be used for straight line quilting to complete a quilt. It can be used as a decorative element to embellish a quilt done by machine. The in-and-out motion of pushing a needle through fiber can be a little meditation through sewing to just kind of slow things down. It is really hard to have twitchy fingers and a distracted mind when you have a needle in hand! Have you tried hand quilting? How do you see it being incorporated into modern quilting?
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