So, what makes a quilt top worthy of hand quilting? :) The Goodwill quilt top that I am currently working on, probably never dreamed it would ever be picked up, bought, washed, repaired, washed over and over several times, cat hairs picked, and then hand quilted, of all things!!
What makes this quilt worthy of hand quilting for me is:
The mystery of it all (who made it? why was it never finished? why did someone give it to Goodwill? )
All the beautiful fabrics (there are few repeats in this quilt, so many pretty fabrics and hand quilting gives me the opportunity to enjoy every single triangle. Did this quilter have a huge stash? Did she (or he) exchange charm squares with others?)
As far as my own quilt tops, I have one quilt top waiting to be hand quilted. It's the Underground Railroad Quilt that I made from Eleanor Burn's book. I learned a lot while piecing this one and just could not dream of meandering meaningless stitches all over the top using a sewing machine. Most quilts look better with the quilt stitches outlining the seams and I'm sure the Underground Railroad will look good this way, too. That's not to say that a professional machine quilter couldn't make it look pretty, but that seems to take 'my' heart out of a quilt for me.
Having said that, I recently purchased a mid arm quilter and I have a quilt in the machine now. Some quilts just need to be done quickly and simply by machine. I'm hand quilting tonight and it made me think about how we decide what deserves our time to hand quilt.
I mentioned before that I was trying a new frame for lap quilting. I bought this one:
It's a Q snap 11x17 size frame. When I first started with it, everything felt too tight to quilt. (those little snaps are tight, I promise!!) I was able to loosen the quilt in the frame and I ended up taking one end of the 'snap' off, so that only three sides were secured into the frame. It truly helps with making the backing stay tight and neat.
Tried and true: My UltraThimble fingertip shield. I've tried different thimbles and used to swear by leather ones. (they wore out too fast). For some time now, I have been using this one that sticks on the tip of my finger and I love it. I don't wear one on my underneath hand; I depend on my calloused middle finger for that side. :)
So, what makes you decide which ones to hand quilt and which ones to machine quilt?