The Mod Mountains quilt pattern is now available! Click here.
I learned to hand quilt as many of you have learned most things in adulthood – through hours of searching the Internet. I experimented with different weights of thread, lengths of needles, stitches, basting methods and hoop sizes. Every blog and tutorial I found passionately explained how to hand quilt differently. After hours of spelunking through online caves and crannies, I concluded that there was no wrong way to hand quilt. There's just your way.
Even though I really liked that conclusion, I had to know for sure that I wasn't just falling into my typical loosey goosey ways of sewing. I needed a quilt to practice my hand quilting, but I wasn't committed enough to hand quilt the entire thing. I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to design a quilt pattern that purposely interacted with the quilting? What if I intentionally left large sections of negative space so I could come in later and add small hand-stitched touches?"
In my first post about the Mod Mountains quilt pattern, I mentioned that the original quilt won 3rd place in the hand quilting category at QuiltCon. I still find that award a bit humorous because that was my first time hand quilting and to tell you the truth, I didn't do a very good job. A lot of my stitches didn't make it through all three layers of the quilt and whether it was intentional or not (not) my stitches were very uneven.
I tell you this not to belittle my quilt, but to encourage you to put your own unique stamp on this pattern. Even if you've never hand stitched before, why not try it now? You can add just a tiny bit to see if you like it. Heck, you can pull out every single stitch if you hate it.
How I Learned to Hand Quilt
Fellow sewists, there's no beating around the bush, if you want to learn how to hand quilt you've gotta jump in and be prepared to be kinda bad for a while. After you've accepted that you won't be very good in the beginning, come to terms with the fact that you will need to practice before feeling proficient.
Any time someone asks me how to hand quilt I tell them that the initial learning curve is not steep. It's actually pretty easy. If you want to get fast, even stitches – all that takes is practice. Hours and hours of practice. But don't fret, my pet! Hand quilting is tons of fun and incredibly relaxing too. Oh! And did I mention that it's portable?
For a full tutorial on how to hand quilt, check out this blog post!
Mod Mountains Hand Quilted Baby Quilt
When quilting this baby quilt, I first machine quilted by following the triangle pattern to create a chevron design. After securing the three layers of my quilt sandwich together, I went in an added some hand quilting that followed the same chevron pattern. After hand stitching a few rows, I decided to hop back on my sewing machine and add density to some areas to intensify the A-symmetrical flow of the design.
A really fun thing about machine quilting and hand quilting together is the back and forth process. Although I do suggest machine quilting the entire quilt at least a little bit first, after that initial machine baste, anything goes! Quilt a little, stitch a little, quilt a little, stitch a little.
In the pics below I tried to pose my son, Desi, and he was not happy about it. It looks like he's saying, "Ew! Ew! It's touching me! Get it off!!" ha ha!
Mod Mountains Quilts in the Wild
One of my pattern testers, Sarah Holst, of Sarah-Made, tapped into her amazing creativity by hand quilting mountains inside of mountains! Isn't that lovely? I'm so inspired!
My good friend, Caitlyn has created such a unique version of this quilt pattern by mixing up the triangle layout. Those waving quilting lines remind me of wind blowing through a whimsical mountain range.
This next Mod Mountains quilt was made by Jessica Rush. In her words:
This pattern is beautiful. I love that it is scrap-able. I don't usually have large cuts of fabric available, and this helped me bust through my straggling fat quarters. Also, I used a cheap flat sheet from a twin bedsheet set as the backing, and it is SUPER cozy. Family members are fighting over this one 🙂
Michelle Collins used the colors from her backing fabric to create this poppy red Mod Mountains baby quilt. Isn't she adorable?
Isabel was invaluable to me during the editing of this pattern. She had lots of great ideas and wasn't afraid to tell me how to make things flow better. I appreciate you so much, Isabel!
Elizabeth is my math whiz! After this pattern she can calculate triangle math in her sleep! Elizabeth used Moda brushed cotton from mighty machines designed by Lydia Nelson.
Krystina created this navy and mint baby quilt for her cousin's new baby. I've been loving this same color combo too and am planning my own variation for the Mod Mountains Sew Along starting April 10, 2019!
21 thoughts on “How I Learned to Hand Quilt with the Mod Mountains Pattern”
This was an awesome all inclusive video!! Thank you so much 😊. I’m off to try this. Every year I try to learn at least one new technique and this is my choice for 2019. You’re any excellent teacher.
Wonderful! I hope you love hand quilting as much as I do!
Really enjoyed the concept of mixing machine and hand quilting. I love the therapeutic quality of hand stiching but I am intrigued with machine quilting. So the best of both worlds. Thanks!
Loving the different versions!
I’m so happy to see you mixing the quilting methods – I did this on my last quilt and wondered if it was allowed!
There’s no quilt police – it’s the wild wild west out here! Anything goes!!
Loving your tutorial and the (permission) to mix stuff up. 😍such an insperation.
I was inspired by your original hand quilting post in January. I ended up hand quilting an already machine quilted quilt! I liked it so much I picked all the machine stitches and hand quilted the entire thing! Was it good? NO. Does it look homemade and well loved? Yes! And I am so proud of it.
(P.S. I practiced next on a whole cloth baby quilt! ALL negative space and plenty of room to hide small mistakes and you don’t feel like you ruined your entire pieced-top that you may have spent so much time on! Highly recommend!)
D, it is so crazy that you wrote this comment, because all weekend I had this thought swimming around in my head, “Is it perfect? No. Am I proud of it? YES.” I think that is the best philosophy to have in everything! And you know what? I’m proud of you too 🙂
I would love to make this quilt. May I still join the group?
Yes! Check out the sew along here – https://suzyquilts.com/category/blog/sew-along/ and you can join the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/suzyquiltspatterns
Just wanted to say how inspired I am by this post. I am picking up the family tradition of quilting, but up until now I’ve been more or less stalled at the actual quilting phase. I swore hand quilting wasn’t for me until I saw your work. I’ve been practicing on a tree skirt for the last week and I love it! It’s such a lovely way to add the ‘handmade with love’ touch that makes a quilt a quilt, IMO. Thanks so much!
I can only join in on the comments before. Such an intriguing video. I can’t wait to try it on the next quilt. Only one question. When mixing the techniques, should I do the machine or the hand quilting at first.
I prefer to start with machine quilting.
Thanks so much.
Oh My Goodness! I am about to finish my first quilt and this tutorial along with a few of your others has been soooooo helpful! I’m still nervous, but no longer terrified. You are my quilt hero!
Awwwww 🙂 I’m so happy to help, Trish!
Thank you so much for your work. I’ve watched this 3 times now. For those who want to review, 16:36 is the demonstration for making the quilter’s knot I saw my granny do a hundred times but never learned. 28:19 is the demonstration for hiding your closing knot. Awesome work, Suzy!
Not sure if you will see this since thhis is an older post – but on quilts like this where you machine quilt lines across it, but stop at some of the mountains to save those for hand quilting – how do you do THAT part? The stopping and restarting of the machine quilting? Do you have info on your site about that? I would be scared the lines of stitching would come out around those mountains? THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your wonderful patterns and tutorials and your ALL AROUND FABULOUS-NESS!!!!! You are a quilting community treasure!
Great question! If you want to stop machine quilting in the middle of a quilt, you just need to make sure to secure those loose threads. I choose to backstitch a couple times then snip the threads pretty close. (By backstitch I mean I sew forward once, then backward once, then forward and backward again to really lock in those threads.) Some people choose to bury their threads. Burying threads is more time consuming, but if you want a tutorial on that there are videos on YouTube.