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Thread: Machine vs Hand quilting

  1. #1

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    I am really curious but not because I am ready to do either yet,
    what do you do and why would you chose one over the other?
    All this reading about quilt making has more and more questions coming to mind. Thanks! :?:

  2. #2
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    I have done both but nothing fancy just very basic. I love doing both of them though.

  3. #3
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    i do them both and typically in the same quilt.

    i like machine quilting for thin and dense stitching and i like hand quilting for thick and spaced stitches.

    they both have a distinct look and add different texture to a project.

    i can hand quilt with much thicker threads than i can thru my machine.

  4. #4
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    When I started quilting I hand quilted, because there were no machine quilters, or none that I knew of. When I wanted to start selling my quilts, I couldn't sell them for anything near what I thought they were worth. So, after wearing my fingers out, I started having the quilts machine quilted and was able to sell a few.

  5. #5
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    I prefer to hand quilt as that is how my Great Aunt did it. I am not really good at it but I like the process and the look. I am a terrible machine quilter. Can't stay in the ditch and my meandering looks primitive. I always felt I could buy a boughten quilt with machine stitching but not a hand quilted one. Nothing against people who machine quilt. I have seen beautiful quilts here done on the machine, and could never master that in hand quilting. So I guess it comes down to what you like to do. Both ways take practice.

  6. #6
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    In my humble opinion (IMHO) hand quilting looks so beautiful, but you really have to know how to do it. Practice on doll quilts! Even a beginner hand quilted quilt appeals to me more than a machine sewn quilting job. That being said, you really have to love hand quilting to devote the time to learn the craft. It sure is much easier to send our tops to a long armer. And the long arm quilters do beautiful and sturdy work. I use them a lot. Try a quilt both ways and see what you prefer. I would love to see contemporary quilters utilize both methods, depending on the quilt. And there's even a third process, machine quilting yourself. Try that too. There's no reason that your quilts can't be quilted different ways. If you evaluate what your quilt needs, you should be able to come up with a plan.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chele
    In my humble opinion (IMHO) hand quilting looks so beautiful, but you really have to know how to do it. Practice on doll quilts! Even a beginner hand quilted quilt appeals to me more than a machine sewn quilting job. That being said, you really have to love hand quilting to devote the time to learn the craft. It sure is much easier to send our tops to a long armer. And the long arm quilters do beautiful and sturdy work. I use them a lot. Try a quilt both ways and see what you prefer. I would love to see contemporary quilters utilize both methods, depending on the quilt. And there's even a third process, machine quilting yourself. Try that too. There's no reason that your quilts can't be quilted different ways. If you evaluate what your quilt needs, you should be able to come up with a plan.
    thats interesting, whenever someone mentions machine quilting i always assume their asking about doing it themselves. i never think they're talking about sending it out to be done by someone else.

  8. #8
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Hand quilting lends an heirloom quality to a special quilt. I do hand quilting with the ladies at church and I dearly love the process. It is a special quilt that is hand quilted. I am machine quilting my wall hangings and table toppers and some ornaments because I want to get them done, and they are small enough for me to use my machine and to learn how to do FMQ. I am getting ready to machine quilt a top that I have yet to assemble.

  9. #9
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Machine only if I ever want the quilt done. I think hand quilting is beautiful - just not for and by me.

  10. #10
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I love hand quilting and am awed by those who do it. I am too lazy. Period.

  11. #11
    Super Member ginnie6's Avatar
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    so far all I've done is hand quilting. I am one day going to try my hand at machine quilting.....maybe on dd's quilt she has made. The ones I've done so far though are gifts that were made with blocks my grandmother did years ago..by hand so that is how I've done the ones I made and that's how I quilted them.

  12. #12
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I am an EPP, and have done mostly handquilting. My hands are sometimes not up to it these days so am developing a closer working relationship with my sewing machine and learning to machine piece and quilt. I figured if I stuck with all handwork I would never get all the projects on my wish list started, let alone finished.

    Since joining this board, I have seen so many beautiful examples both hand and machine quilted....all are exceptional in their own way...I find handquilting meditative but I am getting a real kick out of using my machine. I couldn't imagine giving up hand work as I love to embroider and embellish...so I think both are skills to hone. The main thing is do what your heart desires and keep the passion alive, whichever method you use.


  13. #13
    MNQuilter's Avatar
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    I have only hand quilted or tied quilts. Any time I have tried to machine quilt, it looks terrible and I can't FMQ to save my life. It takes longer but I feel like I have more control with a needle in my hand! Now I will admit the I haven't had to do a large quilt yet so we will see what happens at that point.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Sandy1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kluedesigns
    i do them both and typically in the same quilt.

    i like machine quilting for thin and dense stitching and i like hand quilting for thick and spaced stitches.

    they both have a distinct look and add different texture to a project.

    i can hand quilt with much thicker threads than i can thru my machine.
    Klue,

    By thick stitches do you mean they're thick because of using thicker threads? What exactly do you mean by spaced stitches? Do you mean the rows are spaced farther apart than when you machine quilt? Or do you mean the stitches themselves are spaced farther apart? Just curious.

  15. #15
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    I much prefer hand quilting to machine quilting. However, I believe there is a place for each. Whenever I want a piece to be done quickly, and if I know it will be worn to death and washed a lot (like for my grandsons), then off it goes to the longarmer to be quilted.

    I do not like to machine quilt myself; premarily because I do not yet have that skill, I think. I have never been taught to do this, and I also find that I do not have the skill with the machine and feet I have at my disposal. I would like to learn it, but I really do prefer the look and feel of a hand-quilted quilt. There is nothing like it.

    I also do admire a well-done machine quilt. But they lay differently and hang differently. There is more a stiffness to them, in my opinion.

    This is a good question, especially as we all do different things and have different skills.

  16. #16
    Super Member Eddie's Avatar
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    I do only machine quilting and do it on my sewing machine. It's all about time to me, I don't have the patience for hand quilting, as beautiful as I think it is.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy1951
    Quote Originally Posted by kluedesigns
    i do them both and typically in the same quilt.

    i like machine quilting for thin and dense stitching and i like hand quilting for thick and spaced stitches.

    they both have a distinct look and add different texture to a project.

    i can hand quilt with much thicker threads than i can thru my machine.
    Klue,

    By thick stitches do you mean they're thick because of using thicker threads? What exactly do you mean by spaced stitches? Do you mean the rows are spaced farther apart than when you machine quilt? Or do you mean the stitches themselves are spaced farther apart? Just curious.
    yes, when i say thick i mean i can use thicker threads even embroidery floss.

    when i say "spacing" i referring to the distance between each stitch.

    when you machine stitch each stitch is right next to the one behind it and the one in front of it.

    when you hand stitch thats not the case, you can leave a space in between each stitch. the distance between each stitch is totally up to you.

    i'll do many rows of this type of hand stitching. its great from providing texture and shading in a design.




  18. #18
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    I have only hand quilted, and I love doing it. In fact I think I will always have something in the process of being hand quilted. The problem is time. There are so many more quilts I want to make than what I would have time to hand quilt. I am getting ready to take a quilt to a long armer for the first time, I'm a little nervous about turning it over to someone else. I only recently discovered that my old (23 years old) bernina will actually work to quilt. It has a darning foot and the feed dogs will drop. So I have played around with FMQ a little bit, but with the little bed that it has I doubt that I will ever do much more than a baby size quilt on it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Sandy1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kluedesigns
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy1951
    Quote Originally Posted by kluedesigns
    i do them both and typically in the same quilt.

    i like machine quilting for thin and dense stitching and i like hand quilting for thick and spaced stitches.

    they both have a distinct look and add different texture to a project.

    i can hand quilt with much thicker threads than i can thru my machine.
    Klue,

    By thick stitches do you mean they're thick because of using thicker threads? What exactly do you mean by spaced stitches? Do you mean the rows are spaced farther apart than when you machine quilt? Or do you mean the stitches themselves are spaced farther apart? Just curious.
    yes, when i say thick i mean i can use thicker threads even embroidery floss.

    when i say "spacing" i referring to the distance between each stitch.

    when you machine stitch each stitch is right next to the one behind it and the one in front of it.

    when you hand stitch thats not the case, you can leave a space in between each stitch. the distance between each stitch is totally up to you.

    i'll do many rows of this type of hand stitching. its great from providing texture and shading in a design.
    Thanks, Klue. I appreciate your clarification. I like the idea of using both machine and hand quilting in the same quilt.

  20. #20
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I only do machine quilting, my hands just can't take doing it by hand... I love the look of hand quilting and I am very envious of those who do it :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  21. #21
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    I machine quilt because I lack the skill and patience to hand quilt.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mamabird3's Avatar
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    I love handquilting best but I handquilted a quilt a year ago for the very last time. I had about 60 hours into it. And probably a good 55 of those hours were painful. My arm for some reason just can't take it anymore. So I now only do machine, which by the way I am terrible at!!!

  23. #23
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    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    I've always hand quilted until recently when I got a machine that'll drop it's dogs so have done a bit of FMQ now. I love the speed of machine quilting and it can be beautiful - look at the work of some on here (Patti, Jaquemoe, Katrine etc...) And we're talking regular machines, not long Arms. I know there are some machines that have an antique stitch which leaves the spaces KLue mentions. But of course, the stitches are uniform; I love the process of hand quilting and agree that it gives a different 'feel' to a quilt. I think each have their place and one is not better than the other - just a different process. :D

  24. #24
    Super Member sawsan's Avatar
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    If your project is small: hand quilting is easy and fun . 4 big quilt, thin batting ,patient: machine is okay to me Good luck

  25. #25
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    I only do machine quilting, my hands just can't take doing it by hand... I love the look of hand quilting and I am very envious of those who do it :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    Ditto, amma.

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