My mother taught me to hand quilt in the few months I was unemployed after graduating and once I'd practiced on a bag ( getting 12- 13 stitches per inch) I was hooked, loving how the stitching altered the surface and the soothing rhythm of process. The first art quilts I made were based on stained glass windows, 2 wall hangings made of scrap strips cut with scissors from jumble sale fabrics. I had a hand operated Singer machine with a single stitch suitable only for dressmaking and piecing and I took it with me when I moved around the country in various jobs from 1983 to 1990 - quilting had by necessity to be by hand
My average stitch size now is probably 3-4 stitches per inch, often larger! On some of my seascape pieces such as 'Rules the Waves' I use glazed quilting threads in huge overlapping tacks to give the impression of sea spray and on my most recent pieces I've been using crochet cotton to 'darn' sections of old quilts. Having served my apprenticeship over 12 years making thousands of tiny heirloom quilting stitches I think I've earned the right to break out!
In my next few posts I'll share some of my projects large and small which illustrate the different approaches and threads I use.