On the top of my list to find techniques that are easier on my hands came 'hand' stitching by machine. For some reason that particular motion really hurts - even more that hand quilting.
I didn't actually think I could come close but with some experimenting I think I have something that will do. My next small UFO is a little door hanger with just a single hand stitched word. Here it is in progress!
At first I was going to suffer through it, but then I thought this was the perfect project to get started on looking for a machine stitch that can do it for me. There were several stitches I tried on my machine. I also played with tension and stitch length to see if I could get the look I was after.
Finally I settled on a double stitch. I just used a regular weight cotton sewing thread, but that could be something to play with too if you wanted a thicker stitched line.
Here is a closer look - with two different stitch lengths. Not too bad!
Here is the final stitching...not perfect but it suits the project and I learned a few things.
The stitch goes forward-back-forward and starts all over. You have to pay attention to what forward section you are in especially on curves. If you pivot before the beginning of the stitch you'll end up off the line going backwards.
I backed this particular project with a thin cotton batting. In the next project I will probably try a light interfacing to stabilize it.
On the straight sections it is faster than hand stitching but I'm not so sure that small curves would be faster. It is a lot of pivoting but I think after some practice I'll get fairly quick at it!
I have a Santa red work in my UFO list, so I think I will try that next.