Friday, September 17, 2010

Some Hand Quilted Items

While cleaning out the sewing room (where have I heard this before?) I came across some quilted items I thought I would show you.

Several years ago, I don't know how many, I took a hand quilting class from Juanita Swarts who lives in Orange County, California, and teaches locally. She is a fairly famous hand quilter here in Orange County who excels not only in hand quilting but also in hand applique and is also an excellent teacher.

This is the design we worked in the class I took from her. the padded parts are trapunto, which is a bit unusual as it is not worked in the traditional method of stuffing the quilt from the backside in a slit and then sewing up the slit. She had us use a large chenille needle threaded with white yard to add the stuffing to the right side of the fabric. We were instructed to leave little tails on the entrance and exit holes, then cut them off at the fabric, and scratch the yarn in between the fabric layers. And it worked! It looked pretty horrible with all the holes showing, but once the piece was completely quilted and washed, the holes disappeared and the trapunto was intact, looking absolutely beautiful. The large puffy areas have no quilting, so I may do something with it at some point in the far distant future. This piece is a 24 inch square quilt edged in lace and used sometimes as a dresser scarf, when it's not hiding in a closet.

After taking the class I was so inspired to hand quilt something, so I made two pillow covers, one of which is shown above. I'm not showing you both of them because, well, they are identical. The outer border consists of some rose motifs with a lot of stipple quilting, which can drive you absolutely nuts in no time at all. 

Hand quilting can be very peaceful and meditative, as your pattern is completely marked and very little difficult counting and thinking is involved. Wow, this is right up my alley! But I don't do too much of this any more, preferring the challenge of colorful (or white!) embroidery. 


  1. These are beautiful. I love quilted things like this.

  2. Lovely! How do you transfer the pattern to the fabric? I once attended a demonstration by Amy Emms, who was a quilter who worked in a similar style, and she said she transferred the pattern just by running the eye end of a needle over the pattern, to impress the line into the fabric. She must have been in her 80s by then but she must have had better eyesight than me, as I couldn't see it!

  3. Ruth,
    I've known people who can do that with a table knife or a spoo, but I can't. To do this with the eye of a needle must be really difficult! I used a washout blue pen for my markings. It looked really ugly as I quilted it but ended up quite lovely once washed and dried.


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