Quilting is a practical art form that has been around for a long time. Traditionally done only with needle and thread, today’s quilters have the ability to accomplish beautiful projects much faster with the help of Janome quilting machines. While quilting machines do speed up the quilting process, they may not be for everyone. Before investing in quilting accessories and considering the purchase of an expensive long arm quilting machine, consider the differences between hand and machine quilting to decide which is right for you.

Hand Quilting - A Well-Loved, Traditional Hobby

Hand quilting has been practiced since 3400 BC and is a process that has remained virtually the same to present time. Many people prefer hand quilting for a number of practical and personal reasons such as:

  • Less Expensive - Quilting technically requires little more than some fabric, a needle, and thread. So hand quilting, although it takes considerably longer than machine quilting, is an affordable hobby that anyone can enjoy without the need for quilting machines or expensive quilting accessories.

  • Transportable - Hand quilting projects are also more easily transported in sections, meaning they can be brought along on trips, done while sitting and watching TV, and worked on just about anyplace since there is no dependence on a sewing machine.

  • More Traditional or Artistic - Some quilters also feel that quilts done by hand have a more artistic, homemade look to them, which they prefer. Since quilting has always been done by hand with needle and thread, some desire to stay close to the more traditional methods to achieve the same results for their projects.

Machine Quilting - A Modern Take on An Old Tradition

The love of quilting does not necessarily have to be limited to hand quilters, with machine quilters enjoying the hobby just as much for their own reasons. While machine quilting may not be a portable project like hand quilting, those who enjoy it find other benefits for using a machine to quilt, such as the following:

  • Faster and Easier - Quilting with quilting machines, including the Janome brand, is definitely faster, since not every stitch is hand-placed. Machine quilted projects can be finished in a fraction of the time that hand quilting requires. For those who may be suffering from arthritis or other issues that make handling a small needle and thread a problem, it can be a great alternative.

  • More Durable - Machine sewn quilts are much more durable, which is why this method is preferred when making quilts designed to actually be used and washed regularly, not just for decoration. Unless specifically done with daily use and frequent washing in mind, some hand quilted projects may look beautiful and be fine for infrequent use, but may not withstand regular use and washing.

  • Easier with Different Weight Fabrics - Quilting using a machine also allows easier construction of projects that use thicker fabrics and heavier batting for a warmer quilt. While this can also be done by hand, it is more difficult and tiring when trying to hand sew through more or thicker layers of fabric.

The decision about whether to hand quilt or use quilting machines is largely a personal one, although practicality should also be considered. Based on the type of fabric used, the intended use of the finished project, and of course the quilter’s preference, one can determine whether quilting by hand or using Janome or other quilting machines and quilting accessories is a better option. Some people even decide to combine these methods. In the end, the best choice is the one that a quilter enjoys the most, regardless of the reason!


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