Monday, 4 November 2013

Sarah Fielke's quilts and hand quilting

To follow up on my post about Sarah Fielke's workshop in Christchurch, I wanted to share one of the highlights of the workshop, which was seeing a selection of Sarah's gorgeous quilts up close and personal.  She brought quilts from her latest book, Hand Quilted With Love, as well as quilts from her previous book, Quilting from Little Things.

Lady Marmalade

This quilt is called Lady Marmalade and is really fun up close.  Most of the circles in the borders feature fun fussy cut and novelty prints, often with animals.  Did you know that there's almost always at least one animal in each of Sarah's quilts?  I didn't, and I thought that was such a lovely idea.

Bangles

This quilt is called Bangles and every time I've seen it made up in different colourways it looks awesome.  One of my favourites is this version made by my friend Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting.  I bought the templates to make this quilt from Sarah and it's on my to do list - possibly using a jelly roll of Oh Deer! fabric I've got hanging around.
Whirligig 
This quilt is truly stunning in real life.  The hand quilting adds so much texture which was quite hard to photograph inside.  I also really love the little tabs around the edge - so much, in fact, that I used similar tabs on this pillow.

In the Night Garden 

This is one of my most favourite quilts in all of Sarahs's books - it's called In the Night Garden.  All those shot cottons are amazing - and look at that gorgeous hand quilting.  I bought the templates for this one too!

Millefiori 

This quilt is called Millefiori and is such a happy quilt.  There are lots of shapes I love in here - probably too much appliqué for it to go on my to do list though.

String Sane 

This quilt is really amazing in real life.  This picture doesn't capture it but careful colour placement means there is a secondary pattern which becomes clear when you step back from the quilt.  There's plenty of interest up close too.  I'd love to play around with this kind of strip piecing/fussy cutting idea - I think there's a lot of potential for really interesting quilts there.

A wing and a prayer

This quilt doesn't normally travel, but Sarah brought it along because she wasn't able to bring her Fancy That quilt (it's huge and really heavy with all the linen used in it).  This quilt is called On a Wing and  Prayer and it is really really gorgeous.  It includes Oakshotts (love) and text prints (more love) and I can see why Sarah likes to keep it at home safe and sound.  Yeah, I wanted to steal all of these quilts.

Going back to the workshop, Sunday was reserved for people to work on whatever quilt they liked from any of Sarah's books.  I continued to work on my Fancy That quilt, but I also took the opportunity to learn Sarah's method of hand quilting (you can watch for yourself in this free video tutorial).

I'd actually watched the tutorial before and given this method a go, but it helped so much to watch Sarah in person and to have her there to give me advice as I clumsily tried her technique. It took me a little while to get the hang of it (especially since I've barely used a thimble before) but I did, and once I got going I found that it's really rather addictive.



One thing that Sarah covered in person but not so much in the video is the type of hoop to use.  I have a really large oval hand quilting hoop that I bought second-hand (I thought it would be better quality than a cheap new one and I didn't want to invest lots of money before I knew whether I'd enjoy hand quilting or not).  It was really a bit big to travel with so I was lucky that Sarah let me use her hoop in class.  Her recommendation was not to use a really big hoop - you should be able to hold it so it sits comfortably along your forearm between your bicep and your hand.  For most people a 14" hoop or a 16" hoop will work well.  I found that really interesting - I don't think I've heard or read advice on what size hoop to use for hand quilting anywhere else.

Sarah was using a 14" hoop and I found that comfortable, so I've ordered one of my own.  I've done a little bit of hand quilting at home so I don't completely lose the muscle memory of how to do it, and it really is awkward using my giant hoop!  I can't wait for my new hoop to arrive so I can keep quilting.

I'm very new and to be honest I never thought I'd be a hand quilter, but it's surprisingly enjoyable.  So, any other hand quilters out there?  Maybe you're just starting out, like me, or maybe you have been hand quilting for ages and have some wisdom you'd love to pass on.  Let me know!

17 comments:

Samantha said...

I am looking forward to learning how to hand quilting a quilt on day! Good Luck!

sarahquilts.com said...

Thanks so much for the pics! I've always loooooved Night Garden and will definitely need to make it one of these days. On a Wing and Prayer is so very cool too. I've tried a little hand quilting and absolutely love it!

Rachel said...

This post is perfectly timed for me, I really want to do some handquilting on my mini Night Garden. I watched Sarah's video :) feeling much more confident now!

Tamie said...

Thank you for sharing Sarah's wonderful quilts as well as tidbits you picked up from her. I have been quilting a long time (although not prolific). I learned hand quilting from the beginning as that was how it was done. I always found it extremely relaxing. As long as you aren't all about speed it is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it is just better to get it done.

Jess @ The Elven Garden said...

Droooooool. I adore Sarah's style, what a treat to see her quilts in person! Love your plan for bangles!

Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts said...

Oh how beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing. I love the look of Bangles. I wish I could just motivate myself to EPP...

dutchcomfort said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures. I have 3 of Sara’s books and some of her quilts are still on my list. I find handquilting so soothing. When you’re not in a hurry to finish a quilt, it looks so much nicer than machine quilting. I learned to use a hoop, but I quilt without one most of the times. I finally found a thimble that works fine for me.

audrey said...

Thanks for sharing Sarah's quilts and the little bits of insight. Love them all. I was also someone who never thought I'd be a hand quilter, like NEVER. lol I've been hand quilting now for just over 10 years--still not a pro, I only get 4-5 stitches to the inch, but I just love the texture in my quilts and the total relaxation I get from doing it.

Little Island Quilting said...

Very interesting read and a big YAY for enjoying hand quilting :-)

Anne said...

Oh those quilts! So gorgeous! I'm a hand quilter, but I've only hand-quilted with perle cotton. It does take long, but it's very relaxing and the feel of a hand quilted quilt is totally different (softer) than a machine quilted one.

Cille said...

I so need her latest book :)

Leanne said...

The quilts are beautiful and you are so lucky to get to take her classes. I prefer to knit to hand stitching, or to embroider/cross stitch but I have hand quilted part of one quilt.

Teresa Stanulis said...

I love to quilt by hand and I use a 14" quilting hoop. I quilt most projects by machine because it's quicker, but I'm always happier with my hand quilted quilts. I use the traditional waxed cotton hand quilting thread with tiny needles. I think I'll try pearl cotton on a future project and see how I like it. I use pearl cotton for wool appliqué. I'd never thought of using it for hand quilting. Thanks for sharing the video!

Karyn said...

I am also a hand quilter. Like Teresa above I use a 14" hoop - hoop size def determined by your height/length of forearm. I also use waxed thread and a short skinny needle, Between 10 is my preference. I would like to master perle thread, but I can't seem to get that flowing. I like to use wool batting for that puffy look too. Hand quilting produces a much softer looking and feeling quilt.

Flying Blind... said...

I am yet to try any real hand-quilting, so guess it is only a matter of time!
What an amazing experience x

Erica said...

Lucky! Sarah's quilts are gorgeous, I'd love to see them in person. And thanks for the link to my blog, I love the your idea for making a Bangles quilt.

Linda said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH SARAH! JUST STARTING TO LEARN HAND QUILTING AND LOVING IT! THIS VIDEO IS A KEEPER! I'VE BEEN FIGHTING WITH THE BETWEENS! DID AS YOU INSTRUCTED HERE AND IT IS SO MUCH EASIER AND SO MUCH PRETTIER FINISHED.
♥ Linda msstitcher1948@yahoo.com