By Clive Jenkins
The history of hand quilting was written by all women who have dedicated their time, passion and skills in creating true masterpieces from simple pieces of fabric and thread. Those women were building something marvelous and timeless every time they stitched one piece of textile to another, one memory along all the others. This is the true meaning of hand quilting: the more work you put in it, the more valuable your quilt will be.
If we make a short trip back in time, in the 18th or 19th century, we will find out how different the women of those times were living. Practically, a woman had to know how to make herself lots of necessary things for daily house activities, such as clothes, bed linens, cooked food, quilts and even soap. They did not have the facilities that modern women have today, like linen stores, restaurants and supermarkets. The modern technology made possible for today's women to spare their already busy schedule for things like hand quilting.
Hand quilting was a tradition in the 18th and 19th century, not just a hobby as many of you might think. All mothers were teaching their daughters the secrets and the complicated techniques of hand quilting. Generation after generation, this passion was transmitted and taught, keeping it alive and improving with time. The material proof of hand quilting were the quilts, every one unique in its own way, and truly representing the spirit of one's family for generations, passed from grandmothers to mothers, and from mothers to daughters, in a strong and continuous line of dedicated women.
Quilts represented a great way to imprint and keep alive the ancient traditions, the family's spiritual heritage. Every quilt had a story; it was not made just to keep warm in cold winter nights. The hard work of hand quilting had a higher purpose: to enchant the eye with exquisite patterns, to be functional for the entire family and to say the story to the following generations. If you decide though to follow the original technique of hand quilting instead of using the modern technology, you will need a lot of practice. You will see that in time, your technique will gradually improve and you can obtain a unique hand made quilt.
Usually, the quilts are made from cotton, but you can use any kind of fabric you have or any combinations. Cotton is recommended because it does not stretch and can be easily ironed. After you decide what kind of textures you will use, you must prepare them. Wash them in luke warm water with a light detergent to remove the color excess and to avoid the shrinking. If the colors bleed, use for the quilt only fabrics with similar colors. You can combine successfully the colors in a quilt if you use fabrics with different nuances, dark colors and accents of another color used in the quilt.
The quilt is like a sandwich formed by three lairs: the front lair, the middle lair and the back lair. The front lair is the decorative one and it is realized from pieces of fabric sawed in an artistic and creative manner in blocks, than the blocks are assembled together. The middle lair gives the warmth and the thickness of the quilt and can be made from cotton, polyester or wool. The backside of the quilt is usually made from a single textile piece or it can be assembled from many decorative blocks, such as the front.
Hand quilting requires some additional tools: a pair of scissors, number 8 or 9 needles, thimble and dark colored thread that can help you see the stitches better. (Cotton or poly-covered cotton). When you begin to work, find a comfortable place to sit, with a good light, because you will need plenty of it if you want to do the stitches right. You can practice your stitches slower in the beginning and increase the speed when you will feel surer of your hand.
If you enjoy hand quilting, you will find it easy and fascinating and you will have the satisfaction of something you have done yourself, even if it doesn't come perfect from the first time.
If you are truly interested in learning more about hand quilting then be sure to visit the Long Arm Quilting Machine Site. Clive thoroughly recommends this site so check it out today here: - www.longarmquiltingmachinesite.com. For comprehensive and helpful quilting advice and tips.
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