It takes a long time to hand quilt. The one I am working on measures 85" square and has 16 sampler blocks in it, a frame around each, sashing, piping and a final border. Its not going to be done in a snap. I've been working on it for over a week now, and pulled it off the frame to see what was left.
I say "first round" because I am quilting each block, doing a shadow line off the frame into the sashing as what I consider the basic first. Luckily, I own a larger frame for hand quilting and can center two blocks at a time. The frame itself has corner supports that make it almost impossible to work on the corners, but I can get a couple of days worth of work done before it needs moving. There is more than 6 blocks left to finish, plus the outside border as part of this first round.
This gift might be the last one I hand quilt. Its gotten to be so easy to machine quilt and the next family member's quilt will be one of those with a lot of grid lines to it so my plan is to do it that way. I love hand sewing the binding on and it usually takes me up to a few nights to get even the larger quilts finished. I can feel the old arthritis moving in on me and am not sure if it is better to do the work, or better to rest the fingers. I plan to ask around.
Most quilters here in town are going the way of getting their projects finished by long arm. Until I had that paper pieced Cat Quilt done on the long arm, I admit I scoffed at them. It turned out so great and the relief to have it turn out great was very high. I guess one needs to know their limits. And here I am finding out what mine are.
I know the bird quilts are left and really think they might be an exception. If I am indeed going to hand quilt them, I need to get going and bring them higher up on my to-do list.