Worldwide Friends: Easy does it…

I gave myself some time out for fresh air and exercise in the back yard. Frankly, I needed a bit of a breather and time to look at greenery. But I’m back.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 6.51.00 pmI’m quilting WWF without a hoop or frame. It means the stitches aren’t quite as neat or as straight as they would otherwise be, but it also means I don’t have kilos of heavy, hot quilt in my lap during the process, I don’t have to shift said kilos of quilt around as I stitch in the ditch around each red hexie, and I don’t have to shift the frame every two hexies. The quilt sits on the table, slightly bunched up in the area where I’m working, and lies stretched over my lower hand. I have enough slack that I can turn just this working area a little as I stitch round the corners. The rest of the weight is on the table. I can withdraw my lower hand, stand up and walk away.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 6.50.31 pmThe pin basting is in the centre of each red hexie, so a hand’s breadth apart. I was concerned I’d be catching the thread on the pins, but so far it’s hardly been a problem. I stitch one side of a hexie to anchor it, then remove the pin and stitch the rest. I’m burying the knots as I go — it’s the only way on this dark quilt, as locating strays at the end would be time consuming and tedious.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 6.51.32 pm

5 rows completed; the arrow shows where I’m up to. 15 more rows to go, and then I can start the facing.

I’m not aiming for perfection in the finished result. I’m human, and a defective one at that, and I can forgive myself for slightly wonky, slightly uneven stitching. The hexies themselves are pretty perfect, and if the quilting is less so, well, so be it. I’m not entering this quilt into the Show for competitive reasons, and I don’t expect or hope to win anything, I just want to share the friendship, the collaborative process and the joy that quilting brings me.

Right. Time to stop typing and set a few more stitches. Slow and steady does it.


34 thoughts on “Worldwide Friends: Easy does it…

  1. tialys says:

    I spy a thimble!!

    • katechiconi says:

      You do indeed! The holes in my fingers got too painful… This is a very fancy one, with a metal tip and squishy jelly body, which is more comfortable and flexible than normal ones.

  2. Looking amazing 🙂 And nice thimble.

  3. what a job ! you have the patience of an angel !

  4. Thank you for the details of your method. I am incapable of using a frame – much to Jock’s disgust, as he creates his wonderful embroidered portraits on a floor-mounted frame, and can’t understand why I can’t!. I usually treat the piece I’m quilting as a comforter on my lap and round my legs. But I can see that it would be easier to do it at the table. My stitches are not always straight and even, but that’s part of the charm of hand-quilting, as you know there’s a human being about.

    • katechiconi says:

      I can quilt in a frame, but it’s not right for this job, where you have to go around a small shape – I’d be turning and turning and turning the thing the whole time. It’s getting cooler here, but it’s still too hot to sit with the quilt in my lap, hence the table solution. This method isn’t for everyone, but it works well for me, and I’m sticking firmly to the axiom “finished is better than perfect”!

  5. I’ve only ever hand quilted but can’t seem to manage with a hoop or frame – so my quilts are not perfect but made with pelasure and with love!

    • katechiconi says:

      I can use a hoop, but for this particular quilt it would be an exercise in frustration and hauling all the fabric around constantly. I’m settling for human love and imperfection too!

  6. claire93 says:

    If you’re most comfortable at the table, then it must be the best way for you. I’m not keen on hoops either.

  7. Love the fact that you are human! LOL!

  8. Grannymar says:

    I am joining the ‘thimble club’, I have never seen one like that before and wondered for an instant if it was another Sugru surprise you had for us. I have a couple of silver thimbles, but they are now like my sewing needles, misshapen. The metal is too soft and the sides are short, so I spend half the time searching about on the floor. Like you, I regularly have holes or welts on the tips of my fingers from pushing needles through layers of fabric.I must do an internet search for one.

  9. I just finished a baby quilt with letters all over with this exact technique. I find it less stressful on my neck, shoulders and back than a floor frame or hoop. The stitches do suffer a little, though. Your quilt looks great!

  10. rutigt says:

    I think handquilting are supposed to have different length of the stitches. Then you can reallly see that it´s handquilted! Good work!

  11. anne54 says:

    How amazing that you are hand quilting this! Do you usually quilt like this?

    • katechiconi says:

      It varies, and depends a lot on the quilt. This one’s being quite lightly quilted, just around each red hexagon on the front. My Heirloom quilt (on the Chiconian Quilts page) was closely and entirely hand quilted in a 2″ scallop pattern. I also hand quilted Amistad (on the same page) because I wanted a certain softness and lots of circles, which are much easier done by hand than on the sewing machine! Mostly my quilting’s a bit perfunctory, something to hold the layers together. This one deserved careful hand stitching…

  12. wombatquilts says:

    Wow. I am so impressed by the amount of work you have done on thus. When you are finished do you want to sew my hexie flowers together?

    • katechiconi says:

      Sure! Send ’em on over!
      I’m chugging slowly through the quilting. All the red hexies round the edge are still unquilted because I have to face the flowers round the edge instead of doing a binding, and I need to get in there and remove the papers. Adding the facing is going to be a major fiddle, but will be worth it in the end. I’ve started to stitch all the red hexies I’ll need for it while I watch TV in the evening, so that’ll get done quite soon. Looks like I’m going to make the deadline!

  13. pattisj says:

    I agree, some days we need to get outside in the fresh air. You made a lot of progress on your quilting!

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