A few people have asked me why I only quilt freehand.
The main reason is that I find it more fun, and it suits my personality and style of quilting best.
I like working from the front of the machine because I like looking at the quilt and the fabric as I am quilting. It allows me to do a better job because if there are any problems with the pieced top I am better able to correct it. (For example, ease any fullness between the quilting stitches.)
I have developed a large number of freehand allover patterns, and can easily change or combine these patterns to whatever looks best. Basically, if I can draw it, I can quilt it. I can easily go around elements in a quilt like appliqué as part of an allover pattern. I can also do a different allover pattern in a wide border than in the centre of the quilt as part of one continuous allover pattern.
So apart from enjoying it more, I feel that freehand gives me more flexibility in what I am able to do.
And for customers, this means that they aren’t getting an allover pattern with exact repeating designs; rather they are getting more creative quilting where the basic elements are repeated in a changing organic pattern. I put a little bit of me into every quilt I do.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t admire what can be done with computerised systems, nor does it mean that I won’t consider doing this in future. I am always open to change. But right now I feel that freehand allows me to really enjoy my work, and offers my best to my customers.