Friday 13 September 2019

"How long did it take you to hand quilt that?"

Yes, I frequently get asked, "How long did it take you to hand quilt that?".

Well, this week. as I put the final stitches into my Shuttles quilt, I tried to quantify how long it had taken me to hand quilt it.


But before I came up with a number, I started to wonder if there is some magic number that people are looking for!

If I say two months, will that scare people off even trying hand quilting?

If I say two weeks will they still think that's too long when they could just send it out to a long armer who could quilt a pantograph (edge to edge design) all over it and return it to the maker within a week?

What number would be acceptable I wondered.

I hand quilt because I enjoy doing it, and I love the unique finish it gives to my quilts.  My hand quilted quilts are personal - they are a part of me.  I can remember what was going on in my life at the time I hand quilted most of my quilts.   Some have stretched over six months or more, but I can usually pinpoint something significant that happened during the course of the quilting. I also think it's important to keep traditional arts and crafts alive, even if my style is a modern interpretation of hand quilting. 

Of course there's a place for long arm quilting too.  I've had pantographs quilted onto two of my quilts.

quilted on a long arm with a pantograph

I chose to have a pantograph on Tussie Mussie because I bought the fancy Kaffe Fassett wide back before I realised it would be too thick to hand quilt through.  I didn't know it was sateen before I bought it, but I do love the design and really wanted it on the back of this quilt.

The second time I chose to have a pantograph is when I got Spotty quilted.  I don't especially love this quilt, and I will probably give it away soon, so I didn't want to spend hours hand quilting it.

I've also had long armers do free motion quilting on two of my quilts. I'll talk about those ones next time, but again, there were special reasons.

So back to the initial question - how long did it take me to hand quilt my Shuttles quilt?

I started in late June 2019 with a few blocks to get a feel for the plan I had in my head.
I did a bit at our retreat in July.
I did some more during August.
Most of the quilting occurred during the two weeks of the US Open tennis championship, and the following week.
So all up I think I would have spent about 75 hours on this quilt, spread over 3 months.

Of course that doesn't mean that my next quilt will be done that quickly.  This quilt isn't huge, and the quilting is quite straight forward.  I've only used one colour throughout which also makes it a bit quicker.

The fact is that I enjoyed hand quilting this quilt, and I'm happy with how it looks. I just love that yellow Aurifil 12wt that I chose to use, and the big stitches. 

Is 75 hours acceptable? Would you hand quilt something if you knew it might take 75 hours?

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  What have you been up to this week?  Feel free to link up below.

PS - I'm going to stop mentioning the Peacock Party in the title of my Friday posts, however you can be sure that there will be a Peacock Party every Friday, even when I'm away from home.  I know how disappointing it is when you've got something special to share, but your favourite link party host is on holiday.  I won't do that to you!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Kim said...

I love hand quilting a quilt regardless of the length of time it takes....and sometimes a hand quilted quilt does seem to take forever. There is just something about the texture of a hand quilted pretty. Your quilting stitches on your beautiful quilt is lovely. Love the yellow Aurifil thread.

dutchcomfort said...

Nice question and pondering Wendy!

I love handquilting, but I mostly use it on quilts that I also pieced by hand or when it would become too expensive to have it custom quilted. I love the texture that comes alive with the handmade stitches. It generally takes me much longer than 75 hours, but I don’t keep exact track of it. I don’t quilt in a ring or frame and have to turn over the quilt a gazillion times. Aurifil 12 is the thread I love most and big sitches!

It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks here (or even 3 months) to have a quilt quilted by a longarm quilting service). I had a lot of quilts quilted this this year as I had an exhibition and would never have been able to quilt them all by hand.

Gretchen Weaver said...

I'm a hand quilter most of the time and I don't think 75 hours was that long at all! I don't keep track of the hours, I normally keep track of the yards of thread if I'm only using 1 thread on the quilt. I hand quilt if it's a special to me quilt. I have quilts long armed if I want them quilted but don't want to take the time to quilt them. I do have 2 twin quilts that will be long arm quilted this fall. They're Christmas presents for grandsons and machine quilting holds up better on children's quilts than hand quilting. Happy Stitching!

Daryl @ Patchouli Moon Studio said...

When I first started quilting decades ago, I did it all by hand, even the piecing or applique. Later I did piecing by machine but still hand quikted. Slowly I learned to machine quilt to get it done faster, but those were wall quilts since large quilts were and still are a struggle to quilt under a machine. Now I use a long arm quilter for large quikts. There weren't any long arm quilters when I first started quilting. Hand quilting, hand applique and knitting are all enjoyable, but I prefer to knit now when I want hand work to do. Your hand quilting is beautiful as are your quilts in general. It's ni e to see there are still hand quilters keeping the tradition alive.

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

I don't hand quilt because of the time required, but I aspire to do at least one hand quilted quilt, one day. I currently FMQ all my own quilts, so I still feel very connected to the quilting phase of the quilt and also have special thoughts and memories tied up in the making. I can very much connect with many of your thoughts in this post. Thanks for sharing your hand quilting, I love your version of this craft and am glad to see you keeping it alive and relevant. Thanks for the linky party.

Denice Barker said...

I hand quilt and hand applique and since I don't particularly like piecing, if I am going to use up scraps just to clean up the stash then I will use a machine to piece - but I hate it! I have other things in my life besides quilting so sometimes just take a break from it and that means in time, it can take a very long time to hand quilt something. That being said I just finished three quilts in 4 months for my grand daughters for Christmas. I hand quilt because it relaxes me and I'm just not in a hurry. People are in such a hurry!

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

Oh Wendy, you write lovely posts. I'm always interested in reading what you have to say. Yes, that yellow thread is perfect and your hand stitches so even. Another wonderful finish.

Cathy said...

I love hand quilting too no matter how much time it takes!

Susan said...

I think I'd dodge the whole question with a "I enjoy it so much, I don't keep track of the time!" No way to pass judgement on that. Beautiful quilt BTW!

For the love of geese said...

I can't advise what is too long, I think for some a week would be too long. Some people just ask to find out how dedicated you are, like WOW. All of the quilts you share are stunning and I envy your dedication to hand quilting.

Slice of Pi said...

I have never hand quilted, but my grandmother hand quilts every day. I appreciate your estimate of how long it takes, as I would not have any idea how to forecast or estimate that work. Knowing an estimate would really help me plan ahead if I wanted to attempt it. Maybe one day, but not today. ;)

Sue Rostron said...

My life is oftens spent in a rush so I call hand stitching my working meditation. I find it immensely soothing and calming with the added bonus I now have some lovely train friends who enjoy chatting to me about my stitching!

Sue Rostron said...

People get the concept of Slow Food, well I am all for Slow Craft.

Julie said...

It diesn't really matter how long it takes, as long as you are happy doing it and love the result. All yours are heirloom piecces in themaking I feel. What weight is the yellow thread you are using?

Julie Fukuda said...

I do everything by hand ... no room for a machine except on the dining room table which is small and round and needs to be used for eating ... Some patterns take a lot of turning and that makes it longer in time. Also, I prefer to wait for cooler weather if I have to sit under a quilt while working. I do love to put my thoughts and love into each stitch since most that I make are gifted to friends and family.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

I too think it doesn't matter "how long it takes"... you seem to enjoy the process of hand quilting so much, and that's immeasurable. I'm guessing people like to compare?
And, any quilt I have sent out to a longarm quilter certainly takes much much longer than a week, 6-8 more like, even if it's just an edge to edge pattern.

I hand quilted everything in the past. These days, it's for those special quilts, ones I want to keep or give to family. I also enjoy combining a little machine quilting with some big stitch hand quilting, it can be a good way to do both!

A Patchwork of Crafts said...

I have hand quilted all but one of my quilts (the one done by machine was small and my first attempt at free motion quilting on a machine, my second attempt was less successful and I went back to hand quilting...Machine is OK for bags as I can manage the smaller size) and I agree I can recall what I was doing, thinking when quilting them. I find it at times soothing, irritating and frustrating mainly depending on there being a deadline for finishing or not. I am late to the Peacock party, what is it?

Karen said...

Love your yellow stitching on your latest quilt! I have taken two hand quilting classes and love the time I have spent doing it. Someday I plan to take the time to hand quilt a small quilt just to see what it would be like and how it would look. So far, all the quilts I have made have been gifts for family members, so there's always a date when they need to be finished. I do love the look of my quilts when they come back from the longarm quilter! They are well done and I know they will last for many years of using and washing!

Unknown said...

I was blessed to have my great grandmother teach me to hand quilt, nearly 60 years ago. It was fun then, just as much as it is now. I machine quilt some, but hand quilting is hard habit to break, no matter how long it takes.

Robin said...

My last quilt took 5 1/2 months to quilt so 75 hours doesn't sound bad at all. Your stitches are so nice and even. I haven't quite found my groove with "Big Stitch" but I'm still working on it. Your quilt is just lovely. Also, do I want to spend my time or my money on quilting? It's hard to pay the price for a machine quilted piece and then give it away. I guess I'm just too frugal.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Wendy, I used to only hand-quilt until I learned to free motion quilt. I understand what you mean about getting to love a quilt after spending so much time on it. Hand quilting is really special and I know that I'll eventually get back to it. About your takes the time that it takes, and when you love doing it, it feels like no time at all!
Your quilt is really lovely. That big yellow quilting is great.

audrey said...

Such an interesting question. I think it's probably one that matters more to people who are just getting interested in hand quilting. Anyone who already hand quilts and loves it knows absolutely that it's not about the time. That's not even really ever part of the equation.:)

oldsoul3333 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oldsoul3333 said...

I'm currently handsewing (in my limited spare time) a double sized hexy quilt, and plan to hand quilt it as well. It has taken me 19 months to get halfway, and I imagine it will be the end of 2020 before the quilt top is finished. I am then estimating it might take another year to quilt it, making this a 4 year quilt. I've always made things as quickly as possible, But I am loving having a long-term ongoing project. I plan to keep the quilt forever, so it seems like a good investment of my time! (Your quilts are gorgeous!)

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

Its not about time for me I truly do it for the enjoyment. I agree how you remember things that went on in life as you quilted it which is an added plus. I have machine quilted a few but still prefer the finish of hand stitches