Friday, November 9, 2012

Finishing Quilts: The End Game

Hand quilting is a relaxing process that should be savored and generally calming to the person doing it.

When the needle and thread are in my hand, I am relaxed and always having a good time.

I'm sure we usually move forward with the quilting process in the same general order, but here are some of my thoughts about what happens along the way:

1)  Your Quilt Top is Complete:  At this point you need to have a little party for yourself and your quilt.  Many quilters ship their top off to be quilted now.  I can see how that simplifies life, and I have had long arm quilters do work for me, but these days I love hand quilting too much to delegate it.

2)  Baste it:  Yes, it's time to put those 3 layers together.  I like this process for one reason only.  My DH usually helps me!  It's always some late night quality fun time together.

3)  Hand Quilting:  This is by far, my favorite part of the process.  I like it much more than designing the quilt and piecing the top.

I put a lot of thought and effort into planning the quilting design.  I often quilt a message into the quilt using the quilting stitches themselves.  I try to put the person's initials in there with quilting if I know the quilt is for a specific person.  

I can hand quilt a queen sized quilt in 30 days flat, but that involves heavy work on weekend days, and also heavy work every night (at times until 1am).  I haven't tried to pull that off in a while, but it's good to know how long it takes to quilt a quilt.

4)  Trim up the quilt and bind it:  I enjoy squaring up the quilt, and putting the binding on is not all that bad.  I don't really enjoy making the binding, but I do enjoy the 2nd part of hand stitching the binding down on the back of the quilt.

5)  Make a label:  For goodness sake, all quilts need labels.  If you are out there making quilts with no labels, you are doing a dis-service for your quilt!  They are much more valuable with labels, and they are so much more personal this way.  I do a lot of planning when creating the label.  I either do calligraphy on them, or applique, or both.  Put your name, where you live, when you made the quilt, who it was for, a poem...get creative!

6)  Take it off to the quilt show:  Ok, not a required step, but wouldn't your friends want to see it hanging up in all it's glory?  Think about it.  Share it with the world.  Who cares about the judges.  Let the people photograph it and be inspired!!!

Anybody out there think I'll finish my niece's quilt in the next week?  I am pretty close....I would love to have it done for her sooner rather than later.


Cynthia@aquilterbynight said...

I very much agree with you about labeling quilts!! How I dearly wish my great-grandma had labeled her quilts!

Julie Fukuda said...

Oh, I am very bad at remembering labels. Quilt police? I didn't make it for them anyway. I'll bet you get that quilt finished up soon.

Kate said...

Marissa, totally agree with everything in your post. I love hand quilting, love binding and each quilt finished has a label...but I'm a bit in awe of your ability to quilt a full sized quilt in 30 days - sheesh!!! Can't do that!

AnnaVallance said...

Wow, you make it all sound so easy. I just finished a scrap quilt and I am paying someone to quilt it for me on their machine. I really don't like basting a quilt but I do enjoy the finishing. Will definitely make labels from now on. Thank you for the reminder.

Colleen said...

Yes yes finish the quilt!!!! Your niece NEEDS!