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Thread: Hand vs machine quilting

  1. #1
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    Is there a need to stick to using either hand or machine quilting for our quilt tops? Can we use both methods for our quilts? Not sure if they would turn out weird. I'm asking this question as I feel that there are certain quilt designs that are challenging to be machine quilted.

  2. #2
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    It's your quilt - quilt it as you like! Some people do both on a quilt. You may want to do one one way and another the other way.

  3. #3
    e4
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    You can use whatever you want. There were at least 2 quilts at the recent AQS show in Des Moines that had both hand and machine quilting in the same quilt. They didn't look weird at all. As for machine or hand only, that's a personal choice. There are people who swear by hand quilting and others who really like the look of machine quilting. Both are "traditional" methods that were used in the latter half of the 1800's and both can make a beautiful quilt.

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I have seen many who machine SID parts, and used that as the basting to handquilt the rest.
    No rules, just whatever floats YOUR boat :D:D:D

  5. #5
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. Can we use a variety of contrasting thread colours when quilting? Or more advisable to stick to the primary colour? I'm always confused when it comes to choosing the right colours for my quilt tops.

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure why you would mix the two but what do I know. I've only handquilted and never tried to machine quilt. After I take the time to really baste the quilt sandwich and get it into the frame I'm not taking that sucker out until it is done.

    I'm sure there are a lot of better opinions on this than mine. My $0.02 US is that handquilting "drapes" differently than machine quilting so you might want to take that into consideration. There are some battings that are harder to hand quilt than others.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivientan
    Thanks for the replies. Can we use a variety of contrasting thread colours when quilting? Or more advisable to stick to the primary colour? I'm always confused when it comes to choosing the right colours for my quilt tops.
    Again, it's your quilt! Do whichever you think will look best on your quilt, to give it the look you are going for.

  8. #8
    e4
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    Choose what you like! I use a lot of variegated thread, but some people prefer a solid color. A quilt I saw recently by a nationally known quilter had 6 different colors of thread, one color for each section of her quilt (not necessarily matching the fabric colors either) + a metallic thread. It was perfect for this quilt that she plans to enter into Paducah (I think that was the show) next year.

  9. #9
    Super Member lindyline's Avatar
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    I used both on my DGD's 1st quilt, but only because I was unable to freemotion, and needed to outline. I liked it so much, that I now use both in most my quilts. So I guess my answer would be do whatever you want. I did.

  10. #10
    Super Member SuziC's Avatar
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    That's right. It's your quilt, your design

  11. #11
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I bought a book last year that discusses exactly this topic and mixing and matching machine quilting with hand on the same quilt. No reason not to do it. I do both. I am brand new at LA quilting and only now working on my very first quilt top. I had done smaller quilts on my Bernina doing SID and FMQ. I have mixed the two on wall hangings and it looks fine. I do find I have much more control in handquilting and have hand quilted very elaborate designs that I would never attempt with a machine, like this dragon pictured below. I like both equally well. Machine quilting goes a lot faster than hand, that is for sure.
    One thing the authors suggested when doing both is use machine quilting in borders and hand quilted motifs in the body of the quilt but that was just one application of mixing and matching the two techniques.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    some of the quick turns are really hard on a radius I can achieve with the sewing machine.. when I use the machine.. no curves are involved ! that is just me.. Parkinsons has it's own challenges at sewing !

  13. #13
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    Thanks for asking this! I was just going back and forth with this idea for a wall hanging for a friend. I already did SITD to outline the blocks, but was contemplating attempting some hand work to accent the individual pictures inside each block (it's a cheater panel with a gingerbread theme).

  14. #14
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    feline fanatic - that is some amazing hand work! I have never really done much with hand quilting, but want to try... I didn't know if a more complex design would get "lost" since the stitches aren't continuous like with machine quilting. Good to know it can be done!

  15. #15
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    When hand quilting I like to use a cotton batt, or 80/20. I love the look of it.

  16. #16
    Super Member sewingladydi's Avatar
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    I've both hand and machine quilted on the same quilt. The best example is an irish chain. I hand quilted in the plain blocks, but machine quilted across the "chains" because it is difficult to hand quilt thru so many seams. Looked fine.

    I usually use the thread that matches the quilt the best. My hand stitch isn't good enough that I want to use a contrasting thread.

  17. #17
    Member szyquilt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    I bought a book last year that discusses exactly this topic and mixing and matching machine quilting with hand on the same quilt. No reason not to do it. I do both. I am brand new at LA quilting and only now working on my very first quilt top. I had done smaller quilts on my Bernina doing SID and FMQ. I have mixed the two on wall hangings and it looks fine. I do find I have much more control in handquilting and have hand quilted very elaborate designs that I would never attempt with a machine, like this dragon pictured below. I like both equally well. Machine quilting goes a lot faster than hand, that is for sure.
    One thing the authors suggested when doing both is use machine quilting in borders and hand quilted motifs in the body of the quilt but that was just one application of mixing and matching the two techniques.
    Your hand quilting is amazing! Beautiful work!

  18. #18
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    So what seems right to you. No quilt police here.

  19. #19
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    I've hand quilted a few quilts and never tried machine quilting, which is why I hope to get my hand in machine quilting by starting it small. I actually intend to outline some quilt block patterns using SID. When machine quilting using the backstitch method when locking stitches, is it advisable to start right at the top? If my block patterns are smack in the middle of my quilt, can I still use the backstitch method? The backstitches might be quite visible, which could look unsightly.

  20. #20
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    Last year I made my son and new daughter in law a quilt, I love to hand quilt, but I am soooo slow, and I wanted them to have the quilt before their 10th aniversary! I had it machine quilted, but had her leave the appliqued center unquilted. When I got it back, I finished the center with hand quilting so that they would have a little bit of my hand quilting on it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member FQ Stash Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e4
    Choose what you like! I use a lot of variegated thread, but some people prefer a solid color. A quilt I saw recently by a nationally known quilter had 6 different colors of thread, one color for each section of her quilt (not necessarily matching the fabric colors either) + a metallic thread. It was perfect for this quilt that she plans to enter into Paducah (I think that was the show) next year.
    It's your quilt, so it's your unique design. I usually go based on the pattern for the topper and what type of backing I use. If it is a solid backing, I stick to one color. As for the need to hand or machine stitch, I do them both a lot. Will do hand stitch applique work on squares and then machine sew the rest. So do what YOU want to do.

  22. #22
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    many many quilts are hand quilted in some areas and machine quilted in other areas...and are beautiful! it's your quilt

  23. #23
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivientan
    I've hand quilted a few quilts and never tried machine quilting, which is why I hope to get my hand in machine quilting by starting it small. I actually intend to outline some quilt block patterns using SID. When machine quilting using the backstitch method when locking stitches, is it advisable to start right at the top? If my block patterns are smack in the middle of my quilt, can I still use the backstitch method? The backstitches might be quite visible, which could look unsightly.
    Does anyone have any advice to my question on backstitching? Not sure if this is a good method if my quilt block pattern is smack in the middle of the quilt.

  24. #24
    moonangel12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivientan
    Quote Originally Posted by vivientan
    I've hand quilted a few quilts and never tried machine quilting, which is why I hope to get my hand in machine quilting by starting it small. I actually intend to outline some quilt block patterns using SID. When machine quilting using the backstitch method when locking stitches, is it advisable to start right at the top? If my block patterns are smack in the middle of my quilt, can I still use the backstitch method? The backstitches might be quite visible, which could look unsightly.
    Does anyone have any advice to my question on backstitching? Not sure if this is a good method if my quilt block pattern is smack in the middle of the quilt.
    What you can do is just do a few super small stitches in one spot to "lock" it in vs. backstitching. Either set your machine to '0' length, or just hold it in place for a couple of stitches. It's a much cleaner look IMHO... others might have a different suggestion though.

  25. #25
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vivientan
    Quote Originally Posted by vivientan
    I've hand quilted a few quilts and never tried machine quilting, which is why I hope to get my hand in machine quilting by starting it small. I actually intend to outline some quilt block patterns using SID. When machine quilting using the backstitch method when locking stitches, is it advisable to start right at the top? If my block patterns are smack in the middle of my quilt, can I still use the backstitch method? The backstitches might be quite visible, which could look unsightly.
    Does anyone have any advice to my question on backstitching? Not sure if this is a good method if my quilt block pattern is smack in the middle of the quilt.
    I would avoid backstitching. It really does show and often leads to some birds nests on the back. Starting with really tiny stitiches and slowly increasing your stiltch length is good. Another option is to leave fairly long thread tails then get yourself some self threading needles like spiral eye and bury those ends with a knot.

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