Hand vs. Machine – There’s Room for Both

titleCardWe are approaching the third month in the Craftsy 2015 Block of the Month. This is a project I have been working on for almost a year. It has been exciting to see the level of enthusiasm and how prolific the students are. I developed the design to cover a wide variety of quilting techniques. These include both hand and machine piecing, foundation piecing, two different methods of applique, working with border prints, mitering corners and so much more. It has been interesting to hear some of the comments.

Craftsy block 1 (1)In the first month, I introduced hand piecing. Some were confused, thinking the quilt is made all by hand. We just hadn’t gotten to some of the machine techniques. Those who gave hand piecing a try, though, seemed pleasantly surprised. One student, Tracy, seemed so thrilled with her completed block that she posted this photo of it on my Facebook page with the note, “My first ever hand pieced block; this is going to be a great challenge. Thanks Jinny!” You’re welcome, Tracy. This is just the reaction a teacher loves to see.

The second month, some people were surprised that I was introducing machine techniques. Since I do all my piecing by hand, some wondered if I have “sold out” to the machine sewers.  No, no, no. Not to worry. I still hand piece and hand quilt all of my quilts. That does not mean that I can’t sew by machine. I learned to sew on my mother’s treadle machine when I was five. I have pieced by machine but find that it takes a block of time at home to do that. I never seem to have that time. I have time when I am in a doctor’s office, on a plane, in a hotel room, on a long car ride…..or watching a baseball game with my family.

Jinny piecing1I have always found handwork relaxing, and that is why I love quilting by hand. I think my very first quilt is still the one I enjoyed making the most and it was all by hand.

flower garden quiltPeople have also wondered about the durability of machine piecing versus hand piecing. I personally think hand piecing can be more durable. Machine stitching is very “tight”. If the quilt gets stretched it is possible for a stitch to break and then several stitches either side of the break unravel as well. Hand stitching is a “softer” line and the thread is less apt to break when the fabric is stretched. Just look at all of the hand pieced antique quilts around us which have survived a few generations of use.

But you know, where quilting is concerned there is no “this” or “that”, but what each individual wants or likes to do. It is still nice to be introduced to different techniques because you never know if you might find something new that you will enjoy!

If you have not signed up for this free program you can still do so. Just follow this link from our home page. You can access all of the past lessons and replay them whenever you want. New lessons will come at the beginning of each month.

First 3 blocks