Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Chat with Grandma week 2 Quilting Gloves... love them or hate them?

Well, hate is a strong word, but my relationship with my quilting gloves lasted about 5 minutes before I yanked them off my sweating hands in frustration.  Let me give you a little back story though... I live in Palm Springs California.  It is SUPER hot here 2/3rds of the year- with outdoor temps maxing out in the 120s but typically over 110 during the summer it rarely gets below 85 in the house no matter how hard my poor air conditioner works.  So adding any extra layers, especially to body parts that aren't used to being clothed, like hands- can be tough in the desert.  I never much liked the feeling of gloves on my hands to begin with either, they always felt restricting to me- so I chalk it up to heat and being a weirdo, but I don't like quilting with quilting gloves.  When I was in the editing process of my book Free Motion Quilting for Beginners (and those who think they can't) with Martingale Publishing, my dear sweet copy editor emailed me to ask, Well if you don't quilt with the gloves, then what do you recommend, surely you must use some sort of quilting aid to help you move your quilt?!"  I think my response shocked her- and maybe some of you too- but here is the 100% honest truth- NOTHING.  I don't wear gloves, I don't use rubber hand grips, I don't use the quilting halo- or any hoop - occasionally I will remember to put on my supreme slider... occasionally.  I use my own two hands lying flat on the surface of the quilt, the weight of them alone, without added pressure, but with full surface contact, works just fine for me.  I am a self professed quilting minimalist though, and MOST other free motion quilters do wear quilting gloves- including my Grandma!  She is back this week to tell us what she thinks about quilting gloves.  I am glad she has a different perspective so if any of you are thinking of trying them to help you quilt you can get a well rounded view from both of us as to the pros and cons of using them.  (if you don't live in a place with temps nearing Hades itself then you probably don't have too many cons)  Here is what Grandma had to say...

My gloves are my feed dogs when I FMQ. They help me achieve stitch length and style and I always wear them. I am a bit of a control freak and I feel I have that control when I wear them. I admit that they can be a nuisance some times, especially when I am trying to quilt a more complex pattern where I may have to start and stop. In those situations having to take them on and off is bothersome, but yet it is in those more intricate patterns where they are the most help for me to get the look I want. There are many different gloves that can be purchased and I have no special preference as long as they have the rubber fingertips that let you grip the fabric. When I am doing meandering or some kind of all over pattern on a bed sized quilt the gloves really help me to keep control of all that fabric. I quilt on a mid arm machine so I have a bit more throat and table space than the domestic machine and the gloves are also helpful in grabbing and keeping control of all that fabric you deal with.

Like everything else we do when we quilt, there is no right or wrong. For me it is always trial and error. Try it and if it doesn’t work for you then don’t, but if you don’t try you will never know. Most of all enjoy the process, and if gloves don’t work for you let the dog chew on them. Happy quilting. 

I would love to hear what you all think of quilting gloves so please stop by my facebook page to join the conversation!  If more of us weigh in then anyone thinking of trying them will get even more info... and that would be a beautiful thing.   Happy Friday everyone from Grandma Pat and I!

Quilting without gloves... at Road 2 CA 2013

Quilting without gloves in the BERNINA booth at Quilt Market 2013

Quilting without gloves on the cover of my new book!


  1. I never used to wear gloves and only started to do so recently. I was "anti" glove or other such devices, but recently decided to give them a try. I cannot believe that after all these years of FMQ I am converted. I guess an old dog can learn new things

  2. I have never used gloves either Molly, I have tried them a few times and like you......can't stand them.