I have fallen in love with the charm of hand quilting. It was something I never really had the desire to do until I saw some of the beautiful work done by Mommy by Day Crafter by Night. Even when she machine quilts she usually adds a special finishing touch with a little hand quilting. Which I have learned is the way to go with larger quilts.
One of the reasons her quilting appeals to me is she uses perle cotton. I loved the difference the thicker thread makes. It stands out more than the traditional way of quilting, and the thicker stitches are a great way to add to your quilt designs. Perle cotton comes in all different colors, and when you are using pretty thread who wants to hide it, so bigger stitches are perfectly acceptable!
My first suggestion for a beginner would be to start with a small project, a wall hanging, table runner, placemat or doll quilt is a perfect way to practice your stitches.
Secondly, there are a few tools that you will want to collect before starting. Thread (of course, Perle Cotton, is my choice), Marking Tools, Chenille Needles, Quilt Frame and Thimble- these last two may seem like old fashion tools, but they really are important. I had put off using a thimble for years, but with hand quilting it’s a MUST. For more information about each of these tools check out this supply list from Stitched in Color.
Using the thicker thread isn’t for everyone, some people favor the more traditional look. If you would prefer your quilting to blend in more you might want to check out this hand quilting tutorials from she can quilt or sew mama sew using traditional quilting thread.
Finally, there are several different methods that hand quilters use, find one that works well for you. If you don’t feel comfortable loading several stitches onto a needle, then it is okay to do one stitch at a time. Try to remember that even the most perfect of hand quilters, aren’t perfect.
Yes, your stitches will get better with time, but something done by hand isn’t going to be perfect. It’s the little imperfections that add to the charm, and are a reminder of the hard work that comes from doing something by hand. I have to remind my perfectionist nature this several times during a project.