One of the things that struck me at the red and white quilt show in NY was that every single quilt was hand quilted. Don't get me wrong ... I'm a big fan of machine quilting ... but there's something about hand quilting that gives a totally different dimension to any quilt.
I can't imagine the effort it took to quilt this one ... the cross hatching was only a half inch apart. Don't you love how it has puckered up? It gives so much texture and really makes a simple quilt design something special!
So many of the 'modern' quilts are very graphic ... but it's kind of fun to know that in the past, graphic quilts were just as popular as today. What's different is the quilting. Where the modern quilts might have very simple quilting, this quilt is heavily hand quilted ... and I love how it softens the harshness of the straight lines of the block.
The hand quilting in this quilt makes it appear to be moving. I don't think you could get the same effect with machine quilting. Doesn't it make you wonder how the quilter knew exactly what would look best on this quilt? Not like you can get a do-over very easily.
Batting back when this quilt was made is nothing like it is today ... you had to quilt so close together to keep it in place. Not an undertaking for the faint at heart. But if you've ever done any hand quilting, you know that pulling the thread through the fabric is a wonderful thing! So many problems solved ... the stress of the day easing away as your fingers guide the needle. I wonder if we're missing the point of quilting by not slowing down and doing some of these steps by hand.
I worry that as quilt shop owners we are rushing our customers through the process by encouraging mostly machine quilting. Am I doing my part to get quilters to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasure of watching the quilting design come to life on their quilts? I worry that the next generation of quilters is going to bypass this important step and miss out on the joy that stitching brings. But I'm glad that we have such wonderful examples to use for inspiration when we do decide to pull out the quilting thread for one of our quilts.