Hand-Quilted Mug Rug

hand quilted mug rugAt the February meeting of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild, Dana presented an education segment on hand quilting. I have hand quilted before, but it was good to get her take on hoops (which I’ve never used but got to try at the meeting), thread (including pearl cotton, which I’ve always wanted to try), and needles. Our challenge was to try hand quilting and bring our work to the March meeting.

I didn’t get on it until just a few days before the March meeting. So I went through my pile of orphan blocks and found this one that I had made at the Heather Jones workshop last year. It’s small (about 8″ x 8″) so quilting would go quickly, and I really like the colors and wanted to finish it somehow anyway. Perfect!

Less perfect was the fact that I didn’t have any pearl cotton or a quilting hoop. So I just quilted it like I’d done in the past: in hand, with my regular sewing thread. It turns out that holding it in hand while quilting causes the piece to bunch up a bit more (a hoop keeps it flatter), but for my purposes, the bunchiness was fine.

My stitches are nowhere near the “ideal” of ten stitches per inch. Mine are about five per inch, occasionally six. But I certainly didn’t see a need to go smaller for a mug rug. And I’m not entirely sure I could go much smaller anyway. Ten stitches per inch is a lot!

hand quilted backOn the back, I just used a piece of pin fabric that I’d had for a while. It was surprisingly confusing—a couple of time I actually thought they were pins as I was working on it.

I have to admit I didn’t get the sense of relaxation that many people do when they hand quilt. Maybe it’s because I wanted to finish it by the meeting date. But I do still want to try pearl cotton sometime—maybe even tackle a whole quilt with it. We’ll see . . .

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