Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fuss Free Hand Quilting

This is the quilt that you saw a peek of in a recent post. It was hanging on the back of the baby crib that Roscoe the cat was sleeping in. I have received several questions regarding this quilt - so here is some info. First of all, I made 2 of these quilts. Same pattern, same fabrics. The pattern is not one of ours - it is a copy of an antique quilt that was published in American Patchwork & Quilting in the spring of 2006. I loved the antique quilt when I saw it and thought it would look great in our fabrics. At the time we had done 2 fabric collections with Moda - Nantucket and Coming Home. This quilt, and it's twin were made with the scraps of these 2 collections. Polly has one and I have one. Secondly, no I don't have any more copies of that issue (April 2006), but I bet you do. Don't we all have several years of these issues squirrelled away?
Here is a little closer view of the hand quilting.This quilting design is kind of a free form fan design. The fan design is most commonly known as "Baptist Fan" or "Methodist Fan" because it is a very common utilitarian quilting design that was often used for quilting bees in the basement of churches - hence the name. These utilitarian quilts from the last half of the 19th century and early 20th century were quickly quilted by the church ladies for fund raisers. Those sweeping fans, you see, are easy to quilt when you are sitting around a quilt frame. They follow the natural movement of your arm. Each person did the section in front of them, then the quilt was rolled and a new section appeared before you to be quilted. This design is seen over and over again in antique quilts. It is a favorite of mine. It works over everything and more importantly, it is still easy to hand quilt today - even outside of a quilt frame. I have many quilting stencils with varying fan designs. I use them all. I even developed my own - the one you see above. This quirky and free form fan design is easy to mark and to quilt.
To start, lay the basted quilt out on the floor or a large table. Being right handed, I start at the bottom right hand side of the quilt. I mark concentric arcs on the top - about 18"to 20" tall and wide. I use either a Hera marker or a chalk wheel marker.
The Hera marker is a Japanese tool that is much like a bone folder used in book making and scrap booking. I'm sure the originals were made of bone - but this is a hard plastic. It marks by making a sharp crease in the fabric when you press down. It is a great tool for marking a top. The chalk wheel pencil works by putting down a chalk line with a ratchet wheel tip. Both are favorite tools of mine and I use one or both in marking. All tops are different - basically what shows up better. When marking against all colors and shades of fabric like this top - the chalk is probably your best bet. Try a yellow or the light blue. When I mark I just make big sweeping arcs and I am not trying to be particularly accurate. I like the randomness of it and the quirkiness of it. It won't take long for you to get the hang of it. I mark one section at a time (and quilt one set of concentric arcs at a time) and then mark the next one. It goes very quickly. You can hand quilt a queen size quilt using this method in less than 2 weeks. I have been known to hand quilt a twin size quilt using this method in a long weekend. Your antique reproduction quilt will look even more "antique" using the church lady technique.
Laurie

27 comments:

little acorns said...

Oh how I love hand quilted quilts! I have 2 (small ones) of quilts that I made. . . but lately they all seem to "need" to get to the quilter - because of deadlines. Yours is wonderful & I love the idea of the fans being free form!
xo, Bren

Kim said...

Fabulous! I love the free-formedness (I know...not really a word but hey....)!

Mimi said...

Wow! Love them. I think that has given me some ideas now for my thimble charm quilt that I want to hand quilt. Gotta finish putting the rows together (by hand) before I can hand quilt it, but this certainly peaks my interest. Thank you. I so need to get away from perfectionism. LOL

Anonymous said...

I am making this quilt right now out of the moda line called Coming Home. I also fell in love with this pattern when I saw it in APQ magazine. I save all of my APQ and now I have a great idea on how to quilt this quilt. Thank You.

Jodi@SimplyThisThat n.. said...

The quilt is fantastic! Love it. I love hand quilting. I have one quilt I've quilted by hand. But hope to do more someday. ooxx`jodi

WoolenSails said...

I love the clover roller chalk, makes quilting so much easier when I can see the lines and it doesn't float away. Now if I could just stay on the lines;)

Debbie

Carrie P. said...

Beautiful quilt and quilting. I love using a Hera marker for my hand quilting too.

julieQ said...

I really love this quilting...it is so freeing to just be able to quilt, not worry so much about the perfection of it all. Thank you for sharing it!

Dianne said...

wow that is gorgeous! I love the pattern...very pretty with the lights and darks...

Elizabeth said...

So beautiful and looks like it was so much fun to do. Well, I'm off to see which old APQ's I've still got!

Sharon said...

This is beautiful and an inspiration to those who hand quilt. I always want to mark "perfect" lines. I love this look, it couldn't be more perfect! Thanks for sharing

Jeanette said...

Thanks for that! I love how that looks and wouldn't have thought about drawing the lines freeform like that. It really makes it look like an antique quilt.

Stina said...

Love the quilting.. it is perfect... :o)) And the quilt is gorgeous!!! Will have a browse through my old mags... maybe its there.. :o))

Kwiltsfl said...

Love this quilt! I bought a back copy of AP&Q on eBay. I could have a copy buried somewhere in my sewing room.......but this was easier! I like the idea of a fast quilting pattern - it makes so much sense to quilt in the natural direction the arm moves. And I have a back log of tops that need quilting....
Karen

Jeanne said...

Great quilt! I love using my hera marker, but never thought to use it for Baptist fans. Thanks for the idea.

Finn said...

I'm sure both versions of that antique quilt are stunning. I love the very vintage look of it, quilted with fans. Great job on both the marking and the quilt stitches. They look great! Hugs, Finn

jaybird said...

thanks for all the tips!! i love the feel of hand quilted quilts!

Anonymous said...

Love the quilting! Beautiful job.
Do you remember what batting you used?
Thanks for sharing your talents--
~~Sandy D in Texas

Minick and Simpson said...

Sandy D

On this quilt I used a wool batt. It is lovely to hand quilt through. I also like to use 100% cotton batts (either Hobbs Organic or the thinnest Dream Cotton). When I use wool, I use Hobbs's 100%wool or the Dream wool batts- they are both great.

Laurie

suz said...

I recently saw a small quilt with the "baptist fan" quilting design and was intrigued - thanks for all the information about it. Sounds like a great way to finish up a utilitarian quilt.

L. Gray said...

Thanks for sharing the details on these lovely quilts. So inspiring and I adore the free form fans.

Quiltcetera said...

Love love LOVE this quilt! It looks familiar so perhaps I do have one of those mags in my cupboard.
I am also really like the Baptist Fan quilting pattern it seems to suit any quilt. Thanks for the history on the pattern, it's really neat to learn where the original ideas came from.

Kwiltsfl said...

Have you had any trouble with bearding when using wool batting?

Karen

Minick and Simpson said...

Kwiltsfl,

No, I haven't had any problems with bearding. I think you could have if the batting was wool and the top was wool also, and if the batting was unfinished. This isn't an issue if the top is cotton. Also, both the Hobbs batt and the Dream Batt have a finish on them. Antique quilts that used wool roving as a batting (unfinished)had this happen occasionally.

Laurie

Kim said...

Laurie---do you quilt in a hoop or on a frame or ?? Would love to hear your favorite way, as I would really like to handquilt more of my tops instead of shipping them off to the longarm quilter. Thanks!

Janet said...

What a beautiful quilt! I adore baptist fan but I've never free hand done them. I'm definitely going to try it, thanks for the information.

Margie said...

Is there a "rule" for placing the pivot point in marking a new fan?

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