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Thread: Hand Quilting versus Machine Quilting

  1. #1
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    Hand Quilting versus Machine Quilting

    I've started quilting again after several years. I'm trying to decide if I want to buy a long arm quilting machine before I retire. What are the pros and cons of machine quilting over hand quilting? Thanks for your feedback.

  2. #2
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I personally hand quilt. I can not afford a long arm or to pay someone to do it for me. I also would never have the space to set that up!! I find hand quilting relaxing, and it makes me feel like my mother is still here with me, as she never used a machine in her quilting. It really is a matter of taste and whether or not you enjoy hand quilting,,,

  3. #3
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I prefer machine quilting for most of my quilts. I don't have time to hand quilt all of them. I pay a LA to do some, I machine quilt some and I have one that I hand quilt when the mood strikes. They are all quilts that I made so it doesn't matter to me what kind type of quilting I use. I know if I had to hand quilt all of them I wouldn't be making but one a year if that.
    Got fabric?

  4. #4
    Senior Member mommessy's Avatar
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    BellaBoo, ditto what you said!

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Most of us who machine quilt do not have long arm quilting machines. I use my trusty Bernina 1230 to machine quilt. I would suggest setting aside money from a longarm later on, in case you get that far into quilting that you really want one. Some quilters who buy longarm machines are too intimidated to use them. Plus, when you buy a longarm, you really want to immediately taking training and classes and *use* it to get up to speed. Buying it and then not having the time to use it will be unhelpful.

    Edit: A rule-of-thumb is to research longarm machines and frames for at least a year before purchasing. Also try out as many brands as you can at quilt shows before making a decision. Most quilters have definite preferences in longarm machines, just as they do for domestic sewing machines and cars!

  6. #6
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    i hand-quilt because it's relaxing and therapeutic - and my frame takes up less space. I also don't have the spare cash to purchase a machine. But, even if i had all the money in the world, I'd probably still hand quilt because i enjoy it so much.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  7. #7
    Super Member dublb's Avatar
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    I do both. Hand quiltin' is my true love but I don't have enough time ta hand quilt all o' the ideas I have for quilt. At first I just did straight stitch on my DSM but I have taken a class & have started ta FMQ on the DSM. Some day I want a HQ sweet 16 because there would be more room but it is a sit down system instead of a longarm w/a frame.
    Bev
    My initials are BB, so dublb is double B.

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I machine quilt the smaller ones on my domestic machine but send out the larger ones. I figure for the money it would cost to buy a longarm I can pay someone else to do all the quilts I have on my bucket to do list. I do a little hand quilting but it's very slow for me so I like machine quilting to get the quilts done.

  9. #9
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    probably the most apparent reason for machine quilting over hand quilting is TIME- it takes a long time to hand quilt a large quilt which you can machine quilt in a few hours- so, if you tend to stack up tops waiting and waiting to finally be quilted- you might want to machine quilt them- but some people decide they really do not like the process---so you really should visit some quilt shows & dealers & try out a few long-arms to see if it's something you think you will enjoy. if you enjoy hand quilting then no reason to stop- you can of course continue to do both after having a machine- but a long arm is a large investment- so you don't want to invest then find out you really hate doing it- you have to keep in mind it means standing for long periods- working your arms, shoulders, hands- strain on the back, legs, knees-
    i allow people to take a class to learn to use my machine then rent time on it to quilt their quilts---99% of those who have done that decided after one or two quilts they would really rather pay me to quilt for them- they just didn't find it all (their cup of tea)
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  10. #10
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    I LOVE to hand quilt....however, since I had 2 car accidents 2 wks apart 18 years ago I can no longer hand quilt because of neck and shoulder injury. Since I bought a midarm Phaff Handiquilter I still enjoy the finished product. Of course, its faster and I really enjoy the finished quilts. Have to also stop a lot even with the quilter.

    I bought my used on EBay and have enjoyed having it; would be nice to have a larger opening, but this one is fine for my needs.

    Enjoy whatever you choose to do.

    delma

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    You specifically asked about pros and cons between the two types of quilting. Well, I suspect that just like everything with quilting it depends on who you ask. For example. Hand quilting I find the speed, or lack there of to be a con. But, I know quilters who love that it is a slow process and don't consider quilting a race - not that I do, but there are more quilts I want to make!

    Now this reply is going to get long!

    I do both. I hand quilt - very infrequently. I'm currently quilting a queen size double wedding ring -- have been working on it for several years. I machine quilt on my sewing machine -- primarily with a walking foot -- but I've seen beautiful free motion quilting. I also quilt on a long arm -- either Nolting or a Handi Quilter Avante -- depending on which shop I rented time at. Finally I have sent out two quilts for professional machine quilting.

    Over the past two years I've seen two well maintained quilting machines that were just out of my reach financially at the time - or so I told myself. In reality, I couldn't figure out where I was going to put the machine. I've figured that out, so, the next time I find a deal as good as the two I missed out on, I will seriously put more thought into it. In the meantime, I will either quilt on my home sewing machine or rent time. I know I enjoy quilting on a long arm because I’ve rented time and have finished 13 quilts in the past 22 months (not including the ones I’ve done at home) but I think I would get so much more done and advance my skills if I had one of my own.

    As much as I would like to own a top of the line machine with all the bells and whistles, I know as long as I have a stitch regulator and is at least as large as the Avante, I'll be just fine. If it comes to pass I want more, I'll trade up when I can.

    Typically I don't send out my quilts for quilting because of cost and 'loss of ownership'. I know many quilts of old were pieced by one person and then quilted by many around the quilt frame (or so tradition says). But I want the quilt to be 'mine'. I haven't been able to give up 'ownership' (until it got to the recipient and then I have no control over what happens, but that's another thread). Of the two quilts I sent out for professional quilting, I wasn't impressed with one -- but I didn't know what I was doing at the time, so I don't blame the quilter. It turned out fine, but it was a case of you get what you pay for. The second quilt was a group gift and it was simply easier and faster to have it professionally quilted and it wasn't "my" quilt -- it was "our" quilt, so what was one more person working on it.

    If you look at my backlog of quilt tops, you’ll think that I’m a ‘topper’ – someone who enjoys the piecing process more than the quilting. To a certain extent that is true – but really it’s more of a case of I don’t have the skills yet to do justice the quilt tops (and I’m cheap and can’t give up ownership). So, another thing to ask yourself is are you a ‘topper’. My quilting skills are getting there – I’m trying free hand Baptist fans this weekend. I know at this point, I won’t win any ribbons for quilting – but that’s not why I quilt.

  12. #12
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat625 View Post
    I personally hand quilt. I can not afford a long arm or to pay someone to do it for me. I also would never have the space to set that up!! I find hand quilting relaxing, and it makes me feel like my mother is still here with me, as she never used a machine in her quilting. It really is a matter of taste and whether or not you enjoy hand quilting,,,
    what she said...

  13. #13
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    Another hand quilter here. Again because I enjoy the process. I love doing hand work of all types so machine piecing and hand quilting is a great mix for ME. I will MQ those that require it for charity quilts but it's very basic cross-hatching or SITD mostly for those. I'm not in a race. I rarely make quilts for myself. They are mostly gifts for others. And most I know my plans far enough in advance that time is not too much a factor. I can hand quilt a baby quilt in a week or so if I need something quick. I would suggest renting time on a long arm if that's an option before purchasing to see if you like that process. Or minimally try some out at a show first.

  14. #14
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    When I retired I bought my second-hand Tin Lizzie. I have quilted so much more and am so glad I have it. Buying my Lizzie was the best gift I could possibly give myself.
    Mary

  15. #15
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    I am a computerized long arm quilter. It is the design process that tips my trigger and that's why I like long arm quilting whether for myself or for clients. I love to relax by looking at digitized designs and imagining what types of piecing they would enhance. I am even taking private digitizing classes so I can draw my own. Decide which part of quilting you enjoy the most then purchase the tools you need to do it well. You will be happy then whether you have a longarm or not. It is not for everyone.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  16. #16
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolMcB View Post
    I've started quilting again after several years. I'm trying to decide if I want to buy a long arm quilting machine before I retire. What are the pros and cons of machine quilting over hand quilting? Thanks for your feedback.
    I like putting fabrics together-------------I hate putting the sandwich together------------so I'll be forever grateful for those of you who do the long arm quilting.
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  17. #17
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    Ditto to Pat625. I find hand qulting very relaxing because I can pick it up at any time, quilt for a few minutes, put it down again etc. I'm not limited to how long I need to work at that time. I also find it very relaxing because I don't have a time frame on when the quilt needs to be finished. I can quilt, watch TV, talk to hubby, etc without "mssing a stitch".

  18. #18
    Senior Member QuiltingHaven's Avatar
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    I am still relatively new (1 1/2 years) new to quilting after retiring from teaching. I have done all of the choices. Like them all. I love sitting and hand quilting (still working on stitch size but following the advice of this great quilt board and at least keeping them all the same size even if they are a tad big). I have used my antique 301s and the featherweight as well as the newest Singer 160 to machine quilt (stitch in the ditch on the 3 of those). And I have sent 3 to the long arm with wonderful success and then I hand bind them. So, I kinda look at the quilt when it has been pieced to see which way to go with the quilting. I won't buy a long arm, will go to those great long armer folks and let them use there really great machines and skills when the quilt looks like the detailed machining is required. Those talented folks deserve the amount they charge for their skills and the cost they had to pay for those beautiful machines. So, let the quilt design "tell" you which way to go. I am currently working on Christmas runners and some will be hand quilted and some will be stitched in the ditch on my featherweight. Someday, I will attempt the other type of machine quilting. The cost of the long arm sewing machine is just not in my "retired" future.
    Busy in Ohio

  19. #19
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    I'm still new at this. I started hand quilting 10-11 years ago. I love doing it in the winter, but not in the summer! I started machine quilting last year.

    I spent about $20 to get started with hand-quilting. Thimble, needles, lap hoop... all from Joanns or WalMart. I've spent a LOT more money for a sewing machine that likes to machine quilt, quilting/darning foot, walking foot, etc. I got lucky and got a great big desk for free that I use for a sewing table, but they can be expensive too. And a machine on a frame? Cheapest I've seen is Craigslist for $750 for a 9-inch throat. I almost got a 24-inch machine for $1200 but that didn't work out.

    One of these days, I'm going to rent the long-arm at my fabric store. You might want to try that and see if it's your cup of tea

  20. #20
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    All, thank you for your responses. I did not know that you could rent time on a quilting machine. I'll have to check that out! Thanks, again!

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