Hand Quilting Survey Results

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Hand quilting is a topic near and dear to my heart. It’s where my quilting journey began, around a floor frame, quilting with dear ladies possessing far more wisdom than my young self. I cherish those hours spent listening to their stories as we stitched, it was like stepping back in time.

Many of you shared similar stories about hand quilting and what it means to you. As the survey results came in, it was clear this old craft of hand stitching stirred many memories, with nearly 3000 responses and over 6900 individual comments.

When asked to rate the importance of the heritage of hand quilting the results were overwhelming…

  • 54% respondents feel that hand quilting is extremely important
  • 30% feel it is very important
  • 11% feel it is somewhat important

Hand quilting is history, it’s our history, but is also relevant today.

Several of you gave some great ways that hand quilting remains a relevant part of the quilting industry today…

  • Minimal start up costs
  • It makes quilt-making more available to everyone since you don’t have to pay to get it quilted or buy a machine
  • It suits a style of quilter that is on-the-go since it travels easily
  • It is one of the creative expressions in quilting today
  • It fits into embroidery, needlepoint, and other handwork areas
  • It is another technique to add to a vast repertoire of sewing skills
  • It adds a choice to the quilter’s art palette

There are many reasons given to hand quilt, and often those listed were personal. But several quilters had suggestions of ways they use hand quilting to add something extra to their quilts that they can’t achieve another way.

How do you use hand quilting in your quilts? 

  • Add texture
  • Add detail
  • Create natural effects in landscape quilts
  • Control of where the stitches are placed
  • Create unique designs
  • Create a vintage style
  • Precision
  • Embellishment
  • Specialty threads
  • Establish drape of quilt
  • Mimic the piecing

Quilters, crafters, and admirers from all corners of the fiber world shared with us their love for hand quilting, whether as their personal oasis, their connection to foremothers, a fun technique in their toolbox, or a finish that pleases the eye and hand. We heard from heritage stitchers focused on passing on the tradition, to big stitch quilters putting a modern twist on a classic technique. Hand quilting has always pushed the quilting industry, and we’re excited to see where it takes us in the future.

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I loved this article. I am a hand quilter. Thank you for bringing hand quilting to the forefront.
Hand quilting is a work of art .

Carolyn

I did a 80″ x 80″ Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt by hand (1″ hexes) and felt it should be hand quilted. But my hands are no longer capable of hand quilting or sewing for such a task. It was very hard to find someone who would do it for me. Where are these hand quilters?

Wendy Welsh

Most hand Quilters are fully occupied Hand Quilting their own quilt tops. Very few offer to hand quilt for others, partly due to the time involved and the very low rate they can charge for the hours and hours of work.

Kristin

There are 17,000+ of them in a Facebook group called Celebrate Hand Quilting. : )

I love hand quilting. It is where I started and I wish I could continue with the hand rocking stitch. It adds a texture to the quilt unlike any other method. Unfortunately, my hands did not allow me to continue with this craft so I had to switch to machine, which I also love as it enabled me to continue quilting, my first love. So, I encourage all hand quilters to continue on … it gives a beauty to quilts that cannot be matched by any other method.

Lee

I’m in a facebook group with over 20 000 hand quilting members. I hand quilt for about 3 hours every day but I am unlikely to quilt for other people since I only get 3-4 quilts done a year and have a long to do pile. Also, if I spend 6 months on a single quilt, you probably can’t afford me to quilt fof you 🙂

Karlie White

AQS needs to promote hand quilting! Local shops just don’t ‘get it’. They refuse to stock hand quilting supplies and most are only interested in selling fancy machines and More fabric. I have been told “Nobody hand quilts anymore!” I tell them “This body does and I won’t bother coming in again!”

Josette

I applaud you, Karlie White! Great response. i was at a rather large quilt show, and there were very few hand quilting stencils to be found. Only a few small ones. Thank goodness youcan still get them on line from a large stencil company.
I agree that AQS needs to promote hand quilting.

Jacque Johnsom

Hand quilting breathes life into a quilt in the form of texture, dimension, warmth, depth and love. It is a nod to the history of our ancestors who went ahead of us with little to work with.

Mary Lou

I want to hand my quilts and have done so with most of my quilts. I have to say I have practiced and practiced and still cannot get the back of the quilt to look like the front…Usually the stitches on the back are much smaller and look uneven. I am taking some more classes in the near future and try some more. Any one have suggestions, I would love you to post them. Thanks

I believe that while we strive toward expanding our skills using improved equipment it is important that we do not lose sight of our quilt history. My thanks to all the quilt historians who have made information available to me from now to way back telling stories and sharing earlier techniques and patterns.