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My Two Favorite Pastimes

hand quilting
Ray of Light

I taught several classes at my shop last week and we were doing hand piecing as part of the lesson. There was a discussion about hand piecing and hand quilting and how pleasant and relaxing the handwork is. I was surprised at how many of those in the class said they loved to hand quilt.

For a long, long time, people have shied away from hand quilting and moved to machine quilting, either doing the machine work themselves or sending it to a long arm quilter. There are many beautiful machine quilted quilts out there. But I have always loved the relaxation of hand quilting and it seems that there is a trend back to it. More and more people simply like the process.

It also seems that more and more people like the “feel” of hand quilting. A machine quilted piece with a lot of detail gets very heavy and stiff from all the excess thread and is often better for display than for cozying up under on a cold winter’s night.

I have not done much hand quilting in the last few years, as I have been too busy designing fabric and quilts for those collections, but recently, in anticipation of baseball season, I put my Calliope quilt top in the frame. I forgot how much I look forward to sitting down and just taking a few stitches when I have a free moment.


Calliope quilting close up
A close up of the quilting on Calliope

Looking at the colors in my Calliope quilt, my choice of thread colors was an easy decision. I’m using grey, black and red YLI hand quilting thread. Besides thread, on the underneath side of the quilt, I use the TJ’s Quick Quilter Spoon to protect my fingers from getting pricked.

Olde World Star Quilting
Olde World Star

Being the avid baseball fan that I am, I look forward not only to the game each day but also to sitting at the frame while my beloved Washington Nationals play and getting in a couple of hours of stitching, enjoying two of my favorite pastimes…baseball and hand quilting.

8 thoughts on “My Two Favorite Pastimes

  1. It makes me happy to hear you’ve been getting time to do the things you love. I will look forward to seeing Calliope in all its glory.

  2. I am a hand piecer and hand quilter, and love it!! While machine quilted pieces get finished much quicker, I just love the look of hand quilting, not to mention how relaxing it is…..I plan to continue on, only using my machine when absolutely necessary….
    Thanks for all the inspiration you give!!

  3. Jinny,
    I am curious if you piece all of your quilts by hand and then hand quilt them or if you use the sewing machine to piece them? I am an avid fan of your patterns and your fabrics are the best out there. The saturation of color really speaks in your designs.

    Thank you,

    Deb Dzunda

    1. Thank you for your question Deb. I do all of my piecing and quilting by hand.

  4. Jinny, thank you always for your inspiration in hand quilting. I think of you every time I work on any project purchased from your shop. I too enjoy the process of hand quilting on the frame made like yours. Thank you for making it possible to learn to love hand quilting with beautiful fabrics, tools needed to make our projects and always having a knowledgeable staff (friends) only a phone call away.
    When visiting Virginia the highlight of every trip is to come to the shop to visit with everyone, select more fabrics, along with the newest treasures you have on display, and leave with more projects to inspire me till I come back there for another visit.
    I enjoy all of the posted pictures on your blog, its a treat to see everyone’s finished projects. Also love the up close pictures of your hand quilting, whether its from Ray of Light or the newest Calliope.
    Thanks Jinny for everything you have contributed to the quilt world, you are a wonderful blessing!

  5. Learning to do hand quilting any suggestions on how to practice my stitches?

    1. Just practice on a sample quilt and by the time you finish you will be an expert. Also be sure to use a very thin batting and don’t quilt on top of seams.

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