Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Why I Quilt My Own Quilts

You're probably expecting me to wax poetic about the loveliness of completely making a quilt from start to finish, right?


Nope. There's one MAJOR reason I have never sent a quilt out in 6.5 years, and probably never will. Not even show quilts.

It's cheaper to quilt it myself, on my home machine!

 I typically free motion quilting, but sometimes I straight line quilt with my walking foot. Here's my work in progress this week - I've marked lines with my chalk pencils. And this quilt is based on a beer bottle... more soon!

When I first started making quilts, I was in the middle of earning my undergraduate degree in history and teaching. I had several loans out and more looming on the horizon. I worked a couple of part time jobs while I went to school full time. (which didn't really amount to much cash anyway). I was 20, and I discovered the WORLD OF QUILTING.

That magical world that you've probably discovered at some point! You know, you're going about your normal, non-quilty life and then all of a sudden, you get sucked in. You can't look away. KONA COTTON! THREAD! COLOR CARDS! ANNA MARIA HORNER! AH!

I just stumbled upon this photo from a guild retreat in 2013! I was quilting our nearly-queen sized Dresden Rainbow wedding quilt. Wow, time flies, and I look so different now!

So, when I was a brand new baby quilter, I did NOT have the money to buy most or all or hardly any of these things. As Google and lots of blogs taught me the quilting process (milennial here - we use the internet a lot), I balked at the longarm quilting prices.

EDIT: I actually should explain this part, too - I didn't really understand how exactly quilts got sent out for quilting until I joined a quilt guild several months later. So another reason I started quilting my own quilts is because it just seemed easier!

Now, I love long arm quilters - I have several friends and they do AMAZING work. It's often expensive to get a quilt longarmed, and rightly so! You are investing in someone's talent, machine, and business. I know lots of piecers want their quilts to have professional finishes. That's wonderful, but remember that's only one route to a finished quilt.

I personally love to save money where I can. There's no way I could financially indulge in the amount of quilts I make if I sent them away to be quilted.

 Metropolis being quilted. I just kind of went for it with long free motion curves in the border.

There are actually a lot of reasons I think people should quilt their own quilts, if they can invest the time and energy. These are reposted from one of my most popular posts in 6 years, Top 10 Tips: Quilting Large Quilts on your Home Machine:

Why should you quilt your own quilts?
1. You have complete control of the outcome. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
2. You will finish a quilt from the very beginning to the bitter end. That is a huge accomplishment! [okay, I did mention this, but really, it's an awesome feeling]
3. With practice and the right tools, you can create beauty!
4. You can strengthen your arm muscles. :D [but really, no joke]
5. Creating a design on top of the design you've already pieced is so satisfying.
6. You aren't spending extra money on sending your quilt out [which also leaves extra for fabric, thread, and batting to make another quilt]

Keep in mind that you might have to invest in tools and thread to quilt your own quilt. At the very basic level, you just need a sewing machine and some thread. I quilted (free motion!!) on a tiiiiny Brother machine for 3 YEARS and didn't have too much trouble (and you can read about my upgrade process here). It's all possible. You just have to try, and practice. There's a lot of us doing it! You can, too! :)

Quilting on your home machine isn't always a pretty picture. My Epic AMH Medallion quilt is an oversized queen, and it took a lot to maneuver it around (and it's backed in flannel). But I did it, and I LOVE IT.

Oh, and by the way - since I've just started becoming interested in hand quilting, I'm actually considering quilting one quilt entirely by hand this year. Where this comes from, I don't know, but I'm excited. :P

So... a couple of questions for you.
1. Do you quilt your own quilts? If so, why? Do you send some out, or all of them?
2. Have you hand quilted an entire quilt? Do you have any advice for me? I'm pretty much a beginner when it comes to hand quilting! Should I use a hoop, for example?

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50 comments:

  1. Good post. I quilt all my own quilts because I love the challenge and I am a control freak. At this stage in my life, I can afford to send them out (which wasn't always the case) but I really want to do the whole thing, from start to finish.

    As for the hand quilting.....I never managed to finish anything I started.

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  2. I have never sent a quilt out to someone to quilt it. I started out thinking that my piecing skills were not good enough to justify spending the money for a long arm quilter. So, the first few years I FMQ on my sewing machine or used the walking foot. But I found I loved free motion quilting! Despite being physically exhausting on the large quilts, I found it relaxing and quite therapeutic! The next step was to acquire a sit down quilting machine which pretty much guarantees I will continue to quilt my quilts! BUT I would love to learn how to hand quilt!

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  3. Before kids,I hand quilted all my quilts. I didn't know how to find a quilter, didn't have a machine that could get through all the layers and could easily sit down after work and quilt while watching TV with my husband. Two kids later and, yeah, I'm lucky I have a friend with a longarm who loves company in her studio or I would never finish anything.

    I did not use a hoop (hated it and got huge stitches when I tried it), preferred slightly thicker thread and always safety pin based. That really doesn't mean much,though. It's such an individual thing. Try it all and find your comfort zone. It is worth learning to "rock" the needle in a true running stitch, though. It's much faster once you get the feel, making it more reasonable to finish a quilt. And I think it's easier to get even stitches, too.

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  4. I've been quilting for 8 years and quilted all my quilts except one. It was a special quilt for my daughter's wedding. It turned out really nice but after she had it on her bed for about a month, the stitching has started popping out and coming undone in several places. Lesson learned.

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    1. Hi Sherry, I'm sorry to hear that. I know lots of longarmers who take great care in their work. Sometimes, though, you feel better doing it yourself (which I totally get, because I feel that way!).

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  5. I watched Jen Kingwell's video at Fat Quarter Shop. Bo hoop and perle cotton. I havenow hand quilted 2 queens and a bunch of throws and love it. Nice to have hand work for the evenings. The queen sizes: I sew the top together in 4-6 medium size pieces. Sandwich and quilt each one. Sew the sections together. I then cover exposed seem on back with binding.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Thanks for the video reference. I'll check it out! I agree, hand work is wonderful. Great idea to split up the quilt like that! Thank you!

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  6. I'm a cheapskate control freak too. Plus, I like the warmth of imperfection. I want a quilt that says 'use me' and pristine quilting doesn't say that to me. I did luck into a free Grace Frame and it cuts down on time and fatigue but it is very clunky and limited. If I want more detail or straight lines I will fmq or use my walking foot.

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  7. I quilt all my own quilts. While I appreciate the workmanship of longarmers, I prefer a simpler, looser look for my quilting. The saying "the quilting makes the quilt" doesn't work for me. I prefer the colors and pattern to "make the quilt". Just my own preference ... and they're my quilts!

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    Replies
    1. True, so you can do what you like with them! :) It's nice to be able to decide how much quilting/what to quilt all on your own.

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    2. So true, anonymous! The color and pattern grab 90% of my attention with the quilting rarely stirring my interest. I give lots of my quilts away to people who don't ever notice the quilting, or even what it is. So I would be crazy to emphasize it.

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  8. I always do my own quilts because of the cost, but it is my least favourite part of the quilt process. I am not very brave about how I quilt and am rarely completely happy with the results, but it saves me a fortune. x

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  9. Great post! I have quilted everyone of my quilts myself. Partially because of cost - I made 23 quilts in 2016, and almost that many in '15. Cost is not the only reason, though. I thought about sending a couple out; but just couldn't do it. Those two happened to be quilts that I created the patterns for and it just seemed wrong to me to have someone else do the quilting. I will probably continue too do all my own quilting because I enjoy it... for the most part. Although, I reserve the right to send off the king-size quilt I hope to make for our bed someday. That might be too much quilt for me to deal with on my home machine. 8-)

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  10. Lovely post. My machine does all the quilting for me. I like having the control and just getting a project done. I have perfected straight lines and some wonkiness. As for hand quilting...nada. Now that is just crazy talk. It's something on my to do list for the long term. Maybe if my kid gets into a sport or a small project. I enjoy reading about your quilts and the process.

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  11. I machine quilt pieces up to a certain size and send big quilts to a longarmer. I don't enjoy wrangling the big ones enough to do it myself and I'm fine with all over pantograph stitching. I enjoy hand quilting but recognize that is only for certain special projects and that they will take a long time. I use a rectangular Q-snap lap frame. Big stitch quilting with #8 pearle cotton is fun and goes much faster than regular hand quilting.

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    1. That's a great way to go about it! I only quilt king size with wavy walking foot stitching now (and it's rare that I quilt a king size). Queen sizes are tough too and if you don't have the space or equipment they are certainly tough. If I hand quilt I definitely think I'll do big stitch! Thanks for the lap frame suggestion - I'll look into it!

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  12. I have send quilts out to be long armed before, but generally, I quilt my own quilts. I love the look of custom quilting and I realized early on, to have that on one of my quilts I was going to have to learn how to do it. One it's expensive to pay someone to do it and two most long armers in my area only do all over edge to edge quilting with pantograhs or computerized. And though it can be crazy frustrating manhandling a big quilt, there is something soooo rewarding about being able to say you conquered it in the end.

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  13. I've gone full circle with my quilting. I hand quilted my first quilts because I thought that was the norm. Then, because time wouldn't stand still, I sent them out for quilting for the next several years. Then, my budget got the best of me so I started quilting on my domestic. I haven't looked back and continue to love them all, every imperfection and all. You continue to inspire me. Thank you Jessica.

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  14. When I first started to quilt, I made my daughter one for Christmas and has it quilted so it would look "professionally beautiful ". When she opened it, she was actually disappointed and said, "But you didn't make the whole quilt, I don't even like the perfect quilting!". My feelings were hurt but I saw where was coming from and thanked her for that. I have since (23 years), quilted all my own, on my 23-year old Pfaff, and given her many, many of them for her family. I love the whole process.

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  15. LOL My experience is just so backwards. I had no money, but I thought the only way to have a quilt finished was to do it by hand or pay someone to quilt it on a longarm! I have felt so much more empowered now that I can do all the steps and quilting. Oh, and I've learned to never say never... you don't know when having your quilts quilted by someone else will be just the solution you need. ;)

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  16. I quilted some but just a simple design, rather functional. My friend quilted some I have on wall as art but I didn't pay for those. We have exchange type of friendship, lol. My main problem is basting. I really do not enjoy that stage of quilt making.

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  17. Well, I have never sent a quilt out to be quilted. When anyone looks at a quilt after they say ooh or ah, they ask who quilted it. I just want it to be all mine. If I didn't quilt it then to me I haven't finished the process. I have handquilted quite a few but probably never again. I have way too many to quilt at this point. Time is a factor. It takes too long to do hand quilting. Thanks for starting this post.
    Pam
    pearbour@gmail.com

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  18. I quilt mine for them same basic reasons you do. When I started I had a young family and hubby was in school, so no extra money. Now I guess it's just cause I'm cheap. I'd rather spend my money on other supplies, ie fabric.

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  19. I attempted to had quilt my very first handmade sampler, but even though the teacher helped me baste it well and I used a hoop it was a disaster, I took it out and gave it to a longarmer. For a few years I continues in this vein but then I started making smaller quilts and tried quilting with my walking foot, just simple stuff really. Now I still make smaller quilts, up to about 60 inches square which I fine a very usable size, but I want to do more. I can quilt spirals with my walking foot and do a stitch 4 on my Bernina which is very effective, but I still want to do more. I have used FMQ on one quilt, just loopy swirls but it's still not enough. So now I have a Bernina with a 10 inch throat and some Craftsy classes, of yes, this is the year I conquer my fear and just do it.
    I once went to a week long retreat in France with Sandi Lush, a well known and very talented hand quilter, it was wonderful, she advocates using a hoop but don't have the fabric tight but have it as if the cat sat in it. I designed my own cot size quilt but alas it turned into a UFO. I would love to hand quilt a small quilt and the idea of perle and bigger stitches appeals. I look forward to seeing your progress.

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  20. I have never quilted my own quilts because of the expense. I just collect quilt tops,my own. :) There will come a time soon when I'm going to have a change of heart and bite the bullet.

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  21. I have only sent a few quilts out--the cost bothers me a lot. I would prefer to spend on fabric, books and classes. I am learning MQ but love hand-quilting the best and always have one "in the hoop." I have hand-quilted both small and very large projects but also love that my production levels have increased like mad since I started using a walking foot. Maybe 2017 is the year for FMQ! As for advice on HQ, I use a 14" hoop and find it difficult to quilt *without* the hoop. But Janneke doesn't bother with a hoop at all and her work is wonderful.

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  22. I started quilting about a year after you did. I took a My First Quilt Class to learn the basics. It was her suggestion that we have our first quilt professionally finished so that we'd actually finish it (and not get stuck with a quilt top because we were too afraid to quilt it ourselves). I'm so glad I did that because I wasn't afraid anymore. Since then the only quilts I've had professionally quilted are the quilts for my son. He's 6'3" and wants quilts that completely cover him head to toe (why he wants his head covered, I have no idea!) I could quilt these myself but I choose not to struggle with them as a general rule. Oh - I was wrong - I had another quilt professionally quilted because it was a commission job and we agreed on this step. I enjoy straight line quilting but I don't enjoy free motion squiggles, etc. I just don't. I can get pretty creative with my walking foot. I also don't enjoy the look of a lot of dense quilting (I know this makes you cringe!) so that's another reason I do them myself. I have hand quilted a twin size. I tried several methods (with a hoop, without) and ended up with better (even) stitches without a hoop. My mother was in the hospital at the time so I got a lot done while I was visiting her. I would say the most important step is to find the needle and thread that works best for you. I love a leather thimble but I was taught to use those stick on patches. Good luck!

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  23. I have machine FMQed all of my quilts myself(and I'm proud)! While longarmers do a wonderful job, I don't want to put out the money(no disrespect to longarmers!) I also like to make the quilt from start to finish so it's all done by me! Also, nothing I do is perfect-not the piecing, sandwiching, quilting or binding--and that's what makes it special!

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  24. I have never sent a quilt out to be quilted, but I've not made anything very big. Right now I am piecing largish throws for three of my kids, and I am a little scared about quilting them on my own. I am not comfortable with free motion quilting and stick to straight line quilting. I prefer to spend my money on fabric and not professional quilting. I know many designers have their quilts quilted by someone else, but if I sent my quilt out to be finished I don't think I would feel 100% ownership in the final product. I would only have made part of it.

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  25. Oh I love all of the responses here.
    I have never had anyone quilt a quilt for me, so .... I have seen many nice designs at the quilt shop in Fairfax that is done on a fancy electronic long arm.
    That is so lovely, but personally, and only personally, I feel like I want to do all of this myself. it may not be perfect but I made it. - mistakes and all.
    I have hand quilted, but they were small throw and baby quilts. I did not use a hoop. I just hand sewed. I like the way they turned out. Not perfect.
    Lastly, I have NO money to throw around.
    And then, totally last, I am self conscious about someone else, (a pro, or a neat freak) that might look at my quilts and you know.... judge me as a super slob.
    as always, good query Jess!

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  26. I quilt my own quilts, but all the quilts I do are small because up until recently, I didn't have a sewing machine that would accommodate a larger quilt. The hubs fixed that this Christmas, so now I just have to find a place for it and get it set up :)

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  27. Well, I do quilt some of my own...up to lap size. Anything larger and I have to have someone else quilt it or my neck and shoulders are in trouble for WEEKS if not MONTHS!!. I do a combination of free motion and walking foot....sometimes both in the same quilt. I like my quilts to be less densely quilted and do let the longarmer know. I do wish they would leave the thread tails so I could knot and bury them myself.

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  28. I started quilting over 35 years ago but we machi e sewed the pieces together and hand quilted them. As a young mum and missionary I dragged fabric pieces all over the world,cut up used clothing or bedding and quilted as I could without any money. Recently I joined a quilting guild and found the ALL send them out for quilting. They think I'm antiquated and crazy for handsewing. Yet...I finished a quilt for my youngest granddaughter last Christmaz after she watched me hand stitch it for a year, and I still work full-time! My reward was her mum telling me that she fell asleep with the small heart I had quilted into it held over her heart. She had told her mum, "I know Grandma put her special love for me into every single stitch of my quilt." No machine can do that!

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  29. I quilt all my own quilts, no matter how large. Long armers are few and far between over here in the UK and as such expensive. That's not the only reason though. Yes I enjoy the challenge but a top quilted by someone else is no longer my quilt. I know its silly but that's how I feel. It wouldn't matter how good they were and how well they interpreted my ideas/instructions it still wouldn't be mine. I think it's a control thing. xxx

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  30. Hi Jess! Great post! I hand quilt all my quilts. 1) My machine couldn't quilt bigger quilt and that's why I first tried hand quilting and loved it from the beginning. 2) I couldn't afford to send my quilts to be quilted. 3) I think I should send it to US and you understand that wouldn't work. 4) I enjoy feeling that I made the quilt - my piece of creation - from the beginning to the finish. 5) I hope one day I have a {super magical sewing machine} with quilting candies and can make free motion stitiching! x Teje

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  31. I quilt all of my quilts myself. If they are for kids or people who let their pets sleep on them, I´ll machine quilt them on my domestic machine. I find that machine quilting is not as fragile. All others no matter the size, are hand-quilted with pearl cotton #8 in different colors and big stitch. Sometimes I´ll use a round hand held hoop or a large floor hopp, but most of the time no hoop. This year I´m going to challange myself and do a white colored quilt with tiny white stitches. My preferred style is bold and strong colors :) Sisi B.

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  32. I have quilted my own, sent them out and hand quilted, and I have to say, I prefer sending it out or hand quilting over my own machine work. Yes long arming it is expensive, but I know if I want a certain look then, I'm not going to be able t do that to a standard that I'm happy with. And after spending hours and hours piecing it, and however much money on fabric already, then I would rather spend the extra money and have it quilted well, rather than me ruin it. For example, I have one smallish quilt that I decided to face my insecurities and FMQ myself, and it is awful, but I've done too much to go back, so I have turned a really nice top into a mess. I do like hand quilting, though. I think because it is slower it means I can do some of that slightly more fancy quilting myself. But simple quilting when hand quilting is actually really nice - it adds that home made warmth. I don't use a hoop if I am doing long straight lines, because I find that by the time the hoop is in place, I do two runs and need to move the hoop again, so it's just in the way, but if I'm doing something a bit more detailed then the hoop is useful - get the biggest one you can though :-)
    E xx

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  33. Great post! I've always quilted my own quilts, mainly for the same reasons you shared. Not sure if I'll ever send one out for quilting. I have a queen-sized quilt that I *almost* sent out, but decided I wanted complete control on the quilting. I'm currently hand quilting a small portion of one of my quilts. Not sure I'll ever want to do a whole one, though.

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  34. Thanks for this post. I prefer to quilt my own quilts, for the cash reason, and the satisfaction (OK, and control!) of doing all the work myself. I did send two out to a longarmer last year because of a time crunch. I love one, but it took a chunk out of my wallet. The other is just OK (and also took a chunk out of my wallet). To be fair, the quilter quilted it just like I asked, but in the end the design didn't work the way I thought it would. When I quilt a piece myself, I have to option of stepping back and changing tack if needed if a design isn't working the way I thought it would - and believe me,I've changed tack a lot!
    And yes, I have hand quilted several quilts :) It's a relaxing thing to do if there isn't a deadline involved! I love the look and feel of hand quilting, and I try to have one hand quilting project underway for whenever I need some slow quilting relaxation, but I couldn't keep up with the piecing I want to do if I had to hand quilt all my quilts.

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  35. I only send them out if they are bigger and heavier than I can handle - or my machine.
    That's happened twice. Two other times, I just didn't have the time to machine quilt it myself. This year I want to be able to confidently machine quilt them myself, unless they are just too bit for me to handle.

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  36. I do quilt all my own quilts, on my older Bernina (meaning a small throat) and yes, it is a challenge. However, when it's done, I can say I did it ALL and that feels so darn good! It seems like each one gets better so it's worth the effort if anyone has the interest in self-improvement. You asked if I had hand-quilted a quilt I made. Yes, one. It is my husband's favorite of all my quilts and this year I hope to finish my EPP quilt, LaPassacaglia, and want to hand-quilt it also. That one will be a true accomplishment and I'll be keeping it for myself. You bet!! Tip: Expect your hand quilting to be fairly large and get smaller as you work on your quilt. YOu might want to try hand-quilting a mini quilt just before you are ready to do a full size quilt so you can get those larger practices stitches over and done with. Hugs and thanks for a great blog,

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  37. I hand or machine quilt all my quilts... except one, a queen sized which is being custom quilted by a long armer right now. I felt overwhelmed by such a big quilt, and a little bored by the idea of quilting it, so I am taking a chance. It feels like such a luxury! My Grandma taught me how to machine quilt in the mid 90's and I just love being able to do simple utilitarian quilts from start to finish. Walking foot, and some free motion. I use monofilament thread in the needle, so that the overall look of the quilting is subtle - you see the lines, but not the thread. This my grandma and I learned from Harriet Hargrave way back in the day. I now have quilts that have lasted through two decades of hard use and many washings - and have held up really well, and have that soft vintage feel. And I've made and given away countless baby quilts, all machine quilted on my domestic machine. That said, more power to long armers - they help keep the industry going and that's so good for all of us! All of this said... I think there's nothing so pretty as a hand quilted quilt, and I do enjoy hand quilting (with or without a hoop, and not worrying too much about stitch length), especially if the quilt has involved a lot of hand applique. To me, the beauty of a quilt comes with its use over many years. As quilts fade and get softer and even a little (or very) worn, they become more beautiful and certainly more meaningful. Thanks for such an interesting post!

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  38. Finally read your post! I really do love free-motion quilting, I think it's such fun! I don't like straight line quilting (boring!) and the only time I've used this for a full size quilt since I started FMQing was when my machine was playing up and I had a deadline to make. As I started making quilts back in the dark ages (nearly 30 years ago!) there wasn't such a thing as long-arm quilters so it would never have occurred to me not to quilt my own quilt. I did recentle 'collaborate' on a quilt with a friend who is an amazing quilter (and has a long arm). We just wanted to work on a quilt together with me piecing and then passing the top to her to quilt. I didn't pay her for this, and we therefore we both own the quilt.It didn't get into quiltcon but we will enter it to other exhibitions as a two person quilt. This seems a very different proposition to sending quilts to be longarmed. Interesting topic Jess!

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  39. Awesome forum. I love the simplicity of your reasons, and it is the same for me.. Plus the satisfaction of doing it all myself is great. I hand quilt every day, and I do walking foot and FMQ and it is all so fun. Love your bog. BTW, you look the same to me from 3 yrs ago. young and sweet!

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  40. Great thread! I quilt them myself. To be honest, I was clueless when I started. I taught myself to quilt almost two years ago - figured how difficult could it be..and plowed along with a queen size quilt for my first...ha!! Knowing full well I would not be able to sew a straight line, I decided on an organic (in my eyes) wavy quilting line (more forgiving) and have stuck with it since. Seriously had no idea what a "long arm" quilter was.... now I do and LOVE their work, but still enjoy working on a quilt from start to finish - a great sense of accomplishment. Plan to make a smaller quilt, maybe even a mini, and incorporate some hand embellishing too :-) It's all good! Thanks so much for a great blog!!

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  41. Hear ya all and I totally agree - except, as I get older I tend to lust after this great goal of DONE. Yeah, I know, love in every stitch, only touched by my hands, satisfaction of completing a project. But nothing was getting completed. I agree if it is under 60 inches-I'll do it but life it too short for me (and my shoulders and back hurt too much) for me to wrestle those big quilts using my home machine. So - I bought a long arm. Yeah, I'm crazy. I always had trouble moving the quilt under the needle on my home machine. Seems my brain really likes to move the machine. It feels like drawing and my mind understands that. But that was in the old days when money was plentiful and time was too. Sold the longarm and now send my stuff to EverlastingQuilts.com for Debbie Allen to longarm for me. Cost is not as bad as you think. She has this deal where you send her $300 and she runs a tab for you. So, I mail the quilt top and back, she supplies the batting and within a couple weeks I am stitching on the binding. She gives you a big discount, lets you earn points to apply to other quilts, the fith quilt is free - I just let her do the math. Ends up most of the quilts are under $100. And that is for the big ones, girls. Ok, I know, this is discussion about saving money and doing it yourself. I send those quilts out and do my needle point and cross stitch to get m fix of hand work. Just my thoughts.

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  42. Great post, Jess! I used to hand quilt everything because I thought machine quilting was cheating. I'm so glad I got over that one!! I am waaay too controlling to send quilts out to be quilt, lol. Longarmers do amazing work, there's no question, but if it's my quilt then I want to do the whole thing. Plus I'm cheap, lol. I'm not going to pay someone else for something I can do myself. And quilting my quilts myself is so much fun!

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  43. Why do i do my own quilting? That's easy. I'm poor - really poor - so I have no choice! I must say that I pretty much hate my quilting - have ruined several tops with it. I really stink at free motion, it doesn't come naturally to me at all and my home machine has tiny clearance - so mostly i use straight line quilting and a walking foot. i guess there are some templates now with curves and that excites me; I may indulge in buying one when I have some money. My personal preference (maybe because i am a bad quilter) is to let the fabrics speak for themselves and not do a lot of dense quilting. i like a soft drapey quilt or throw that you can cuddle up in. I have done a little mixed machine and hand quilting and I like that effect because you can use thicker thread or somehow make the hand quilting stand out. I hope that with practice - a LOT of practice - that i can get over my abject misery and fear of FMQ!

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  44. I've always sent my quilt tops out to get quilted, but it has cost me a fortune. Several years ago, I traded my Bernina 153, Quilters Edition for a year worth of quilting. The quilts were beautifully quilted, but not by ME!!! I've wanted to quilt my own quilts for a very long time, but I never wanted to mess with doing it on a domestic machine. I've had trouble with carpal tunnel on both wrists, so it was definitely not something I wanted to start hurting again. I've always longed for a long arm and kept saying, "One of these days." The problem is, I ended a relationship and am now living in a one bedroom apartment. I finally broke down and bought me a HQ Simply Sixteen. My son in law set up the machine for me and I left it sitting there cause I was so afraid of getting started. I had the worst problem with getting the tension right and I was on the verge of giving up!! I purchased the Easy Set Tension kit for my machine and it is now smooth sailing:) I've quilted some panel quilts for my niece's children and they love them and they don't look that bad at all. Granted, my only skills at this point are LOOPS and wavy lines, but I'm in heaven:) I'm so happy with doing everything MYSELF and not having to "share" the credit. Now, all I have to do is practice, practice and more practice. Thank you for your article:)

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  45. Can you really say you "made the quilt" when you hired someone to layer and quilt a top you have made?
    I think a more apt phrase would be, I "pieced (or appliquéd) the top of this quilt".

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