I have recently come across a more than biased article, whose source will remain nameless. This article has a highly opinionated view of machine quilting - the author would likely drown on a rainy day like today because her nose is pretty high up there. Simply put, the writer cannot stand machine quilting whatsoever. She cannot find merit in a bit of it. It's a little hard to swallow, given what I do each day, but I know that the biases towards one type of quilting or another can be very strong, as I have been there too once.
I remember 15 years ago going to the Maine Quilt Show with my mom. I was home visiting on vacation. At that point I was an avid sewer, but had only made a handful of quilts, all hand quilted. My great-grandmothers crafted things with their hands like crocheted and embroidered items, and I took great pride being able to follow in their footsteps at a time when none of my other friends did such things. I have always been a bit old fashioned at heart. I remember seeing the many quilts that day and just scowling at the machine quilted ones. I found it hard to even appreciate the piecing for how much I truly hated to see the machine quilting. Now keep in mind that machine quilting has moved forward with leaps & bounds in the last 10 years. Gone is the era of "mattress pad" quilting, and even the number of purely stippled quilts at shows is all but at a minimum. If this is all anybody had ever seen for machine quilting, then a hatred of it is well deserved. But that is not the case.
I don't really know at what point I started really having an interest in it -- probably 4 or so years go. The advent of blogging has made pictures of nearly anything easily accessible. The patterns of stitching were becoming more decorative, and pretty, actually enhancing the piecing, rather than just covering it. Early machine quilting was boring, but it has definitely become a much more artistic medium. I spent a couple years trying hard to machine quilt smaller quilts on my domestic machine. It was frustrating, pulling quilts through such a small space. I also continued to hand quilt at least 5 more quilts in that period. At some point I rationalized that I really did like the machine quilting, and that I wanted to get a longarm. I have hardly looked back since. I remember seeing the work of Ronda Beyer that year (2009) at the quilt show, and thinking how very far machine quilting has become. It was creative, artistic, and lovely. We shouldn't necessarily compare the number of hours it takes to hand quilt versus machine quilting. We all know that machine pieced quilts are infinitely faster than their hand pieced cousins, so the same should be true for the quilting. The value of a quilt is not won or lost on the number of hours spent on the quilting. I spent 75 hours on one of my show quilts. Did it not win because there were others that required 76 hours??
Enough of my closedmindedness daily ranting. It could go on for another 5 pages. My point is that we should all be more open to changes. Embrace different things because it is entirely possible that we don't really have all the facts. I have hand quilted and I have longarmed. Longarm quilting is harder, and requires a significantly greater amount of creativity in the design of the quilting. Taking out mistakes is more time-consuming. Stitch-in-the-ditch is necessary to outline the features of the quilt so that they DO show. I don't like to put these 2 forms of quilting up for a side-by-side comparison as they really are quite different. I like and appreciate each for it's own merits. You should consider this too.
I will leave you with the veining and flowering that I am doing for a couple days as I work out designs for a couple of client quilts that are next up for quilting. The majority of the quilting on this quilt is complete. My primary goal is to add veins on 100 leaves, and do the detail work on the 20 flowers.
edited...I just got the call from the Georgia Quilt Show!!! My Postcards from Venice quilt won 2nd place in the large wall-hanging division. She then told me my other quilt (Intertwined) was very lovely too. About 2 minutes later, she called back to tell me she'd not done her homework closely, and Intertwined won a 3rd place in small-wall hanging division!~ I am SOOO tickled. This is great news, and they both have $$$$ too :-))