A Little Hand Work

There's nothing I like better than setting up my stand alone quilting hoop in a sunny, comfortable spot in my house.  One of my favorite places is in my living room in late afternoon.  This time of the year the light is beautiful and perfect for some serious hand quilting.

What is in my hoop right now is what I'm calling my Psycho 70's Apple Core quilt.  It's a rather modern creation.  I hand pieced all the apple cores together then machine appliqued a substantial strip of them off center onto a pure white background.  The back is also plain white.  I then sandwiched it and machine quilted lots of wavy lines perpendicular to the strip of apple cores using variegated thread in multiple colors.  I'm now hand stitching in the ditch around the apple cores with deep red, heavy gauge embroidery thread so that on the back I'll get the outline of the individual apple cores.  I also want the hand stitching in this area to be big and noticeable hence the use of heavy gauge thread and the larger stitches.

 I want to talk a little about hand quilting.  I know the accepted belief in hand quilting is that you want your stitches as small and as close as possible - and I'm not necessarily disputing that.  I believe however hand stitching really is a personal choice.  I sometimes think that if I'm going to all the trouble and time of hand quilting a piece then I want those stitches to show.  That's not to say I'm going to make huge stitches (unless of course I want the effect I'm going for like above).  Having said this I'm certain none of my hand quilted quilts would win a prize at some national quilt show because my stitches aren't that small or that invisible.  But I'm happy with them.

Also, when it comes to hand quilting, I'm a stab stitcher.  Meaning I work my needle one stitch at a time 'stabbing' the needle straight down into all layers of the sandwich and with the hand underneath, stabbing the needle back up to complete the stitch.  I'm not a needle rocker and never have been.  It was once commented to me by a member of the 'rocker' camp that she couldn't believe I hand quilted one stitch at a time.  It made me laugh because isn't that how all stitches are made?  Of course I understood her meaning in that she believes I complete one stitch as a time before moving to the next.  I don't though.  Even with the stab method you can take multiple stabs (around three at a time for me...) before pulling the thread through.

My needle going into the fabric completely straight up and down

You can see a successful 'stab' must be executed with the needle straight, no lazy angles.

The needle coming up from the back - again straight up, no angles.

My multiple stitches.  I stab the needle about 3 times before pulling the thread through.

I'm almost finished with this quilt.  Hopefully I'll have it on the bed within the month as a few of the quilts I use on a regular basis needs some TLC.  One needs a new binding and another needs mending in places.  I NEVER keep any of my quilts stored away for special occasions.  I believe everyday is a special occasion which means of course that none of my quilts will go on in perpetuity.  But that's ok with me.  I'd rather use them and love them because for me that's why they were made.  I'd rather have the memories made under them then the museum piece for future generations.

Time for some more stitching.

Oh - and this is why I can never get much hand stitching done.  What is it with cats and quilts?


  1. Hooray, another stab stitcher here :) I learnt to stab stitch from a book over 30 years ago, (although I think it was called punch and poke) I've tried the rocking method but it just doesn't feel comfortable to me.

    I've only recently started making multiple stabs (3 is my maximum) and it works well. I strive for evenly spaced stitches rather than small and close together. Is that a Thimblelady hoop you are using? Cats do seem to think that quilts are made especially for them, mine is always trying to get on them or under them.

  2. We must be twins! I can't rock stitch but love to hand quilt so I'm a stabbed too. I also believe quilts are made to be used ( although my Christmas quilt has lots of bits and bobs on it so it doesn't fit into the snuggle category

  3. So glad to hear there's more then one of us out there! LOL


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