I love to hand quilt but I still need some practice. I've been hand quilting my small quilts for years but I don't feel like I have it mastered yet. My stitches are too big and sometimes quirky. This doesn't stop me, however. Luckily, the hand-quilting police haven't pulled me over yet, although I've had some close calls. I hand quilted all of the quilts in my first 2 books, the little ones in my 3rd, and some in the new book - not because I am such a purist, but because it's just easier for me to get that simple quilted look that you see in some antique quilts. If I could figure out a way to use the machine to get the look I like, trust me, I would, although I admit I love the calm, relaxing thing about hand quilting when I'm not in a hurry.
The problem is that most of the quilts are for books and I get rushed making them on a deadline and so simple hand stitching always seems the easiest way to get them done so that they have that old-fashioned look. But I never seem to have time to do all the quilting I'd like to on my quilts and most of what I do is straight lines to get them done fast. Now that the book is done, I just may try to branch out and do a little more.
I also haven't mastered machine quilting my small quilts at all and when I do try it I sometimes don't like the way they look when I'm finished. I need to practice that too when I have time. I love the look of a little antique doll quilt quilted very simply and you really can't get that soft, puckered look from a machine.
I do want to get better at hand quilting, however, and lately I've found quite a few stencils here that are easy to use with a water soluble marking pen. They also have quilting stencils for small quilt borders so check out the border page. This little one is one of my favorites.
I found this old book that has quite a few quilting designs (300!) especially for small quilts and I'd really like to try a few of them but I'm not sure how I'll go about marking the designs on my little quilts. Any suggestions? It seems like way too much work to trace them onto template plastic to make a stencil and then cut out the pattern.
One thing I've heard is to use the tear-away method. Have any of you tried this? I think you trace the pattern and mark it onto special quilting tissue-like paper. Then you stitch onto the paper, following the design, and tear the paper away. I wonder if this will work? I already bought the paper but haven't tried it yet. I'm sure this will work with machine quilting but I can't imagine hand quilting through the paper. There has to be a better way. Help! I really want to use some of these designs.