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Combining Hand and Machine Quilting

Is it okay to combine machine quilting and hand quilting on the same quilt? (i.e. stitch in the ditch along seam lines with the machine, then hand quilting in larger open spaces in the quilt)


In two words, "Yes...Absolutely!" And here's why...

It's your quilt!

I am all for "following the rules" about construction techniques when I make a quilt, simply because I do want the quilt to hold together for a while...through use and wear and washings.

The other rule I adhere to is I don't EVER use cheap quality supplies in my quilting (no cheap quality thread or fabric or batting) because my time spent quilting is worth something. Having to spend extra time because the thread shreds or the fabric doesn't hold up to washing or hold a crease, just isn't worth the $$$ I saved initially. My time is worth more than that.

As for the idea of ditch quilting the seams and saving your hand quilting for the "showy" parts...good for you!

If you love to hand quilt, I can't imagine that stitching in the ditch is much fun...AND it is time-consuming. I'd spend my hand quilting time doing the fun stuff.

There are only so many hours in the day, and if this makes better use of your time, then just DO IT!

And we're not the only ones...

In fact, there's a book by Anita Shackelford that addresses just this idea. It's called: "A Modern Mix: Machine & Hand Quilting" and available on Amazon. (Don't forget to try your local library, too.)

Anita is an absolutely amazing hand applique artist and hand quilter.

My first exposure to hand stippling was her 1/8" apart, hand quilted stitches in her "Shackelford" quilt. (It's probably got another name, but it's got a pinkish background and "Shackelford" appliqued across the top of the quilt.) I stood and drooled over than quilt at the Lancaster quilt show some year back--the hand embroidery, the hand stippling, the hand quilting--OOO-LA-LA!!

But the point is, Anita is at the top of her hand quilting skill, and SHE sees the benefit of combining the two methods of quilting.

So go for it! Enjoy it! And if anyone gives you any grief about it...send them to me!


Julie Baird

Comments for Combining Hand and Machine Quilting

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Combining hand and machine quilting
by: E. L Francis

Thanks for your commentary on the challenge that faces me. There are 25 floral medallions quite large on a topping that someone gave me. The size is for a queen bed. I have no long-arm machine and wondered how I would fare trying to twist and turn the project to get all those flowers quilted. Now I can take my time and use my hoops and quilt a few a day till ready to use the machine for the rest of the project. My plan is to send stitches from the ends of the petals out to the next flower and from the centers of the flower to the edges of the quilt after hand stitching around the petals. Then fill in at 2-3inch intervals to make the pattern look like rays of sunshine going to the corners and edges of the quilt while assuring that the batting stays in place. Thanks so much. You have restored my confidence and taken away the fear of completing this project.

E. L. Francis (very amateur but creative none the less.

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