When I made my first quilt in the mid 80s (I was 19), I thought that a quilt was only a REAL quilt if it were ALL pieced AND quilted by hand. (Feel free to roll your eyes ... I won't be offended.)
The first two quilts I made were English paper-pieced hexagons ... and I didn't know how to hand quilt properly so I STAB STITCH hand quilted them all in the ditch ... I'd say several miles worth of thread. Remember I never exaggerate. (I also used polyester batting, backed one with a bed sheet and didn't know about binding ... but I digress.)
I realized if I wanted to make more than five quilts in my lifetime I was gonna have to figure out how to do this quilting thing faster ... enter straight line machine quilting. Regarding my 19 year old attitude, I'm proud to say I'd matured considerably.
I finally took a hand-quilting course in 2000 after I made a Baltimore Album quilt and felt it really needed to be hand quilted.
As I watched my needle-rocking technique improve dramatically over 16 blocks and was reminded how beautiful PROPER hand quilting looked, I regressed to my 19 year old obnoxious self and proclaimed I would NEVER again finish ANY of my quilts by machine. EVERRRRRR.
AHEM. Yeah, RIGHT! Enter motherhood 6 months later. I managed to finish 3 baby quilts by hand before obnoxious me finally shut up about hand quilting 11 years ago.
Fast forward to today. OmG do I ever hate how long it takes to hand quilt. And omG does it ever wreak havoc on my tendonitis.
But OMG do I ever LOVE the look of it! I can't help it. Call me a snob, I don't care. I will NEVER in a million years feel about machine quilting the same love I feel about hand quilting. Never.
Don't get me wrong. I highly respect longarm quilters and the very talented work they do. And I've seen countless machine, FMQed and long-armed quilts that are nothing short of breathtaking. I've hired several in the past and will continue to seek out and enjoy long-arm quilting on future quilts.
But I hold a very special place in my heart for tiny dimpled rows of stitches made by hand.
I would have machine-quilted this project too ... in a heartbeat ... because I was anxious to get it done and my wrist was hurting from the several consecutive days of embroidery and applique. But I really wanted to honour Amy's design and knew the embroidery would look a million times better if I bothered to hand quilt carefully underneath my stitchery.
So glad I did. :)