Checkbook quilter is a term that I just started hearing in the quilting world. What it’s referring to is someone, like me, that pieces their larger quilt tops themselves but does not do the actual quilting themselves on their home machines. I have friends who are fantastic quilters on their regular machines but so far, I haven’t mastered that skill.
If I have a small project like the hedgehog quilt we did at the beginning of these posts, I will do stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. This term refers to quilting along the seam lines where two pieces of fabric come together. I also will sometimes quilt diagonally across a smaller project.
However, if I have anything larger than a baby quilt, I usually pay a long-arm quilter to quilt for me. This term might bring up a very strange image of a person with extremely long appendages but instead it is referring to a long-arm quilting machine that you can load an entire quilt on and using a sewing machine that moves around, quilt the quilt top. If you need to find one, you can ask at a local guild or fabric store.
Years ago, a quilt that was machine quilted was not prized as highly in quilting shows as hand quilted pieces but that has changed. Machine quilters can create amazing patterns. You can ask your quilter to do an all over pattern or to highlight certain portions. Several years ago I made a highly complex leaf quilt and had to search to find someone that would quilt each leaf for me. The quilter, Nancy Samples, did a fantastic job and it is one of my most prized possessions.
Of course, hand quilting has a long history and for some quilters, it is the only way to go. I’ve done it a few times but have never tackled a full size quilt. The image above shows an Amish wall hanging from years ago. The trick of good hand quilting is to keep your stitches even. You insert the needle, bring it up again and repeat until you have loaded the needle. It is often referred to as a rocking motion.
There are different methods to transfer the quilting pattern to the quilt. In the past, I have used a quilt stencil and a water soluble pen to mark the quilt. Other people use chalk and a pouncing pad to mark. Other quilters I know prefer to do free form quilting.
If you have someone quilt your project, please remember to give them credit in your label. Too often, they are the unsung heroes of the quilting world!