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Friday, August 10, 2012

Hand Quilting: I want to know!

 It is certainly no secret that I've been a bit behind on my Ahhhhs. It is not because of a lack of love for them, but rather I am attempting to teach myself hand quilting...and lets just say that it is a good thing primitive quilting is in!

I have some of my favorite ahhhhs almost ready for a quilt, but I am thinking that I really, REALLY want to hand quilt it. So for practice I've been hand quilting my Convergence 2. (It is almost done, I'll show you next week.) I don't have the normal hand quilting supplies. No thimble, no hoop.

Yikes! Right? Well, not if you watch Sharon Schamber. But then I am far from having any sort of her ability! So anyway, I've tried hoopless, thimbleless. And it just does not look good. At all.

Guess what should be coming in the mail today? Yep. A small hoop and a thimble. They are pretty inexpensive but not available around here.Colonial Needle was just a click away.

At this point you are probably wondering, what are my questions? Before I ask, let me remind you that I post this up top for future reference for all quilters that stumble upon my blog. Hopefully you will not only answer my questions, but others as well!

Here goes, answer any or all that you have knowledge about, thank you!!

1) To hoop or not to hoop? Why is it necessary when you can just squish it all up and rock the fabric back and forth with your fingers? (never mind that I have ALOT of missed stitches on the back.)

2) Does one really HAVE to have a thimble? Why? I mean if I am willing to endure the pain...

3) What type of thread should I be using? I am currently using Connecting Threads thread. Is that ok?

4) Needles. I know. 10 betweens. Anyone go against the 'norm' on this?

5) Batting: a big question mark here for me. What type of batting is easier to slide the needle through? I am using warm and natural on my Convergence quilt.

6) That stupid little quilters knot. I twirl and twirl and twirl it around the needle and pull...and I never get a knot. What am I doing wrong? Seems like spit and rolling it off the fingers works for this Hillbilly, but that knot is too big to 'bury'.

7) Basting: I tend to like to pin baste large quilts and spray baste small ones. Is the spray basting harder to move your needle through?


Vroomans' Quilts said...

This is just me:
1. Hoop or not to hoop - I don't use a hoop, but spread my work on a table so work is evenly spread and weight is out of my lap. 2. Thimble - I don't use thimbles 3. Thread - depends on the quilt and the type of stitching and look I want. Mettler, Gutermann, Pearl Cotton, Sulky silk, and even DMC floss. 4. Needles - depends on the thread I am using of course. I love to use 1o or 9 tweens, but the heavier threads - golden eye 5. batting - I have stitched thru almost any type cottons, poly cottons and poly, and wool again being the look you want. 6. quilters knot - I just do an over hand and then back loop thru (actually a fishing knot) or you can try this
7. basting again depends on the piece. I don't spray bast too much anymore - thread baste large quilts and pin baste smaller

Dorian said...

As with anything Tonya, it just takes practice. With a hoop/without, with a thimble/without. Personnally, I started with a hoop, but now prefer not to use one. Using the finger of your non-needle hand to guide it thur and make sure it goes thru all layers. I do use a thimble, because it's easier for me. I have one that lets me use the pad of my finger, not the tip. Much easier (I've used both.) I've used a variety of battings, not having problems with any. I do like to use a 9 between. Smaller is easier than longer. When you wrap your thread around the needle to tie the knot, make sure you hold the thread/knot lightly with your non-needle hand as it goes thru, or it comes out (this is hard to explain with words, sorry). And practice, practice! It takes a lot of practice :)

Wilma NC said...

I use a small q-snap hoop. Just keeps the layers together nicely and the back flat. Plus on small things, I don't need to pin or spray when using this hoop. If you hand quilt a lot, you will use a thimble. Otherwise you will have a small hole on your pushing finger. The under fingers eventually get callused. I always use hand quilting thread, there are many different brands, but they are thicker and less apt to break. I use whatever needle feels comfortable in my fingers, personal preference. Batting, I hate quilting through cotton batts. I prefer the low loft poly or poly blend, again, personal preference.The knot, takes practice. Go to Youtube and google quilters knot.When I took my first class years ago, my instructor said that knots aren't really required. She said to just bury your thread so that the tail will be crossing another line of quilting and that would hold it. I always use the little knot though...And as before, on little things I don't spray or pin, just use my hoop to hold in place. Big things I do pin baste. Whew!!!

Belinda said...

Very informative comments. I'm learning things too Tonya! I haven't hand quilted anything yet, but am working on a hand pieced quilt top. I may decide to hand quilt it. I bought a big quilting hoop, but the one time I THOUGHT I wanted to hand quilt, it was bulky and uncomfortable. If I ever do it, I'll not use one.
I've never been able to make a knot either.

Mommarock said...

I'm still on the stab and pull method :( big sad face. I really WANT to do the true quilting method. REALLY I do. Thimble, I do not use a thimble, I use thimble dots. LOVE them. I quilt for too long, and do not want a hole in my finger after quilting for hours, and cannot get those other thimbles to fit on my finger. So, check out my last blog post that is actually what it was about they are awesome.

Ruth said...

It hurts my cranky hands like crazy when I try to do conventional hand quilting, so I just do small running sts. No hoop, which is unusual for me since I started life as an embroiderer.
I'm pretty new at this, but my sts are getting smaller, so that's good.

Heather said...

The only one of those that I feel qualified to answer is about thimbles. I use a leather thumb thimble when hand quilting because I push the needle through with my thumb. It works great and is cheap. Plus you can still feel through it, I hate how you can't feel through a metal thimble. My other finger where I think people normally wear metal thimbles just develops a nice callous.

SeeingStars said...

I have a PVC rectangular hoop. Since I don't hand quilt much, I'll endure it. But ... if I was going to hand quilt a lot, I'd purchase a circular one on a stand. I find that to get the angle I'd like, I end up with one corner of the frame under my rib cage.

Thimbals - I like the cheap ones that are plastic rings with leather-ish stuff for pushing the needle. I REALLY like the thimble-its for the finger on the underside of the quilt. I can still feel the needle made it through the backing fabric, but my skin isn't damaged.

Thread - I've bought hand quilting thread on a wooden spool from my local quilt shop. I've also used variegated decorative threads. Quilter's Dream batting is really nice for hand quilting. It's all I've used. If you haven't tried it, grab a container of Thread Heaven. It's similar to bees wax. You can pull your thread across it and it won't knot up. It also behaves nicely while you're threading the needle.
Good luck! I'm sure you're learning a lot.

Carrie P. said...

this is the way I quilt.
1. I tried a hoop and I don't like using one, so I don't.
2. yes, I use a thimble because I do not like that needle eye going through my finger. OUCH!
3. I use hand quilting thread. You want it strong enough not to break when you sit on the quilt which I have had happen with regular sewing thread.
4.I use betweens. They are stronger and don't break or bend when rocking the needle, usually!
5.Low loft batting is good.
6.Not sure about the quilters knot.
7.I have spray basted quilts and have not had any problems getting the needle through. Just don't be heavy handed with the spray. And be sure to wash the quilt to get the spray out. Not sure what it will do to the quilt after a time.

sewyouquilt2 said...

1 I dont use a hoop. it is easier for me but then I dont quilt king size quilts either
2 sometimes I use a thimble but mostly not. that little callous badge of honor does me well once it gets toughened
4 I use 10 or 9 betweens. seems the smaller the needle I use the smaller and nicer my stitches
5 low loft batting I have used whatever is on sale all seem ok
6 I start with a knot I make like tying your shoe. I do that three times and it is just right for "popping". then a t the end I do the wrap around the needle and bury in the batt
7 I dont spray baste so cant tell you but I sometimes pin baste and sometimes hand baste with thread depending on size of my project

try many different techniques until you find what works for you! have fun.

Carla said...

I'm not good at hand quilting and if I had a big quilt to hand quilt don't expect to see it for a couple of years for sure. I know practice but I get impatient of course that also brings up the matter of quiting on my machine that I'm also so so good at but getting better.

Good Luck. Y'all out of my league. One day.

Denise said...

Our grandmothers and great grandmothers didn't use fancy things to quilt and we shouldn't have to either. Quilt the way you find comfortable. Break the rules if you have to because what works for you might not work for someone else. Who listens to the crafting police anyway ;) I quilt on my machine and I do cross stitching without a hoop Horrors! but it works for me and that is all that matters.

Quilter Kathy said...

I say...whatever works for you and feels it! I do use a thimble because my fingers start to bleed eventually - not a good thing! I mostly use a hoop these days, but have hand quilted without too. The bigger the quilt, the more I seem to use a hoop. Enjoy!