I love hand quilting. Back in the day (some 30 yrs ago) when I took a beginners class for making quilts, machine quilting wasn't as common as it is nowadays. The long arm machines remain expensive of course, but here in the Netherlands they were very hard to come by too.
Moreover, in my class hand quilting was considered the real thing.
Thanks to the internet and YouTube I now have a wealth of info at hand, which led me to the conclusion that machine quilting is a skill, requiring an equal amount of effort to become good at it. I'm glad, because it would be a pity to not appreciate craftsmanship.
I love to watch videos about free motion quilting, both on long arm and home sewing machines. It's quite a skill, and I was particularly impressed by this one video demo by Lizzie Lenard about free motion quilting on a treadle sewing machine.
So have I tried machine quilting yet? I think so, but I'm not sure. In two projects I stitched in the ditch, yes, but I used the regular sewing foot and just stitched through all three layers. No lowered feed dogs, because my Singer 15 doesn't have that option anyway.
Although I made the usual beginner mistakes, I had so much fun! I definitely want to practice more on future small projects and just have fun with it.
Whether I'll take thing further and actually try free motion quilting, however, remains to be seen.
It's not that I don't want to learn, and it would definitely mean more finished project, not to mention the more elaborate designs that you're not likely to hand quilt.
But it's just as time consuming to learn as hand quilting. So at the moment I'm more inclined to focus on hand quilting.
And yes, I do feel like it's a choice. If you want to eventually excel in something you need to give it your all. It's also being aware of the person you are. By nature, I find lots of skills interesting and exciting. So I can choose to keep on dabbling in all of them or focus on one and see what I can achieve.
Maybe I should have 10+ lives, all of them with good eyesight and a good pair of hands, of course :-)))
Anyway, before I get too philosophical, here are some pictures of my hand quilting.
Apart from uneven stitches, I haven't quite mastered the whole rocking motion yet. The first stitch usually is the hardest. It can take me more than 20 attempts to get it right. My goal is to have less of a gap between that first stitch and the following stitches.
On the bright side, I'm delighted that I've made at least some progress. I'll just keep on practicing.