Question on hand quilting

karpetDecember 17, 2012

I know before I ask this that there will be a lot of variables, but I'm just trying to get an idea -

How long does it take to hand quilt a full size quilt? In my mind I'm thinking years, but I know quilting bees would do it in a day/days. Sooo, for those who are currently hand quilting, how long do you plan on it taking to quilt a full size quilt if you could work on it a few hours a day? Thank you all.

(I've always done everything by machine, but am debating quilting a feedsack quilt by hand)

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Karlene, I just finished hand-quilting a 72-inch square quilt last week, which isn't super big. I believe I probably started it at the end of Oct. or beginning of Nov. It's not densely quilted, though like you would normally see on a machine-quilted project. It's going to depend on the design and how much quilting you are going to want in it. I was averaging probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day on it.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 5:34AM
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I hand quilted all the baby quilts I made for the first few years. Don't quite know how I did that and worked full time too? But from that experience, I have one bit of advice: don't hand quilt when you plan to stitch-in-the-ditch. Do outline quilting 1/4" away from the seams, do echo quilting, do parallel line quilting on the entire surface, or do motif quilting .....whatever....just don't do quilting in the seam ditches. It's thicker at the seams and harder to move the needle in and out and hard on your hands. At least that is my opinion.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:00AM
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If you can keep at it steadily, it goes a lot faster than you think, especially if you can actually dedicate an hour or two a day and stick to your schedule. I have found that shadow quilting, though easiest, actually took me longer than doing designs. Go figure. Perhaps it's the boredom factor. I also discovered that using a floor frame really cranked up my speed, as opposed to hoop, or hoopless, but I think it's because it kept the work so organised and out in front of your nose and ready to just sit to and address. The quilt I posted a pic of in "December Goals" thread is pretty heavily quilted, and I know I could easily move through one to two twelve-inch blocks at each session of an hour or two. The trick is not to get sick of it, and pace yourself. IOW a full-sized quilt for me takes a month or two at that pace.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:50AM
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Thank you all so much. I was thinking of doing motifs, and, just my personal preference, I like not-real-dense quilting so maybe this is doable for me. My machine comes down during the Christmas season for the tree to go up, and I try to have some books lines up or a hand project to work on. I just have not done anything as big as quilting a quilt before! This is encouraging.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Karlene...I just finished two single sized quilts all hand quilted...took me two months to complete them. One was a Dresden plate...outlined the plates and then had motifs around them and along the borders...the other one had meandering quilting around the butterflies with motifs etc around the border as well. I would start about 10 am in the morning and finish about 4 pm...stopping for breaks every twenty minutes or so and then work on it again in the evening while watching T.v. or listening to music. I found that the motifs actually went faster than meandering around or outlining. Good luck with your project. Be sure to post pics when you are done...Nana Val

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 3:32PM
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I just completed hand-quilting, with a 14-inch hoop that I placed in my lap while sitting on my bed, my Grandma's queen-size quilt doing only structural hand-quilting mainly outlining seams, which was not really dense quilting, nothing fancy, and it took me 195.75 hours and that does not include the binding which I am working on now. I started hand-quilting it July 23rd and finished it (except for binding) on November 1st ... so a little over 3 months working off and on, on it, I did not work continuously on it.

Best to you,

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 3:44PM
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You guys are the best! This is just what I wanted to know. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 4:58PM
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I did my full size Grandmother's Flower Garden in 2-3 months or so. It was on an old floor frame & I could also watch tv while quilting. It was very relaxing to do & actually enjoyable.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 11:21AM
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I agree, it DOES go much faster that you think, once you get in the groove. Unfortunately, I go in spurts and the one I'm working on has been packed away several times and its been a few years. I just have the border left to do so I'm hoping after Christmas to get it back out and finished. It also depends on how dense the quilting pattern is.

My goal is to hand quilt 3 quilts, one for each kid, and this is #2.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Well, I've taken the plunge - I purchased a hoop and have a quilting motif picked out. So now that Christmas is over, I'm going to try hand quilting. (I think I should probably pick up a thimble too!) I have 2 vintage tops sandwiched together with vintage muslin for the backings - that stuff is heavy!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Just an update: I am officially half way though the quilting. It is slower than I'd hoped, but in all fairness, I don't always work on it when I could because sometimes I just don't want to! But half way there!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:03AM
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I'm glad to hear an update on your project, Karlene! I've only hand quilted a wallhanging and don't know that I would ever take on a big quilt, but I am very interested in the process.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:57AM
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