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Thread: A few hand quilting questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    A few hand quilting questions

    I am going on vacation soon, I want to take something to work on so I bought a couple of fall wall hangings I want to try to hand quilt. I have a couple of questions as I am trying to get my stuff together.

    1) Do you spray baste your hand quilting projects?

    2) What size hoop do you like best? I will be quilting in the car and condo.

    3) What needle size is best?

    4) What thread do you suggest?

    I hope to get all of my stuff I need together this week and get the piece basted before I leave.

    Your advice is certainly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    North Pole
    I have tried many threads and end up back with the Americana cotton hand quilting thread. I recently began running my thread thru Thread Heaven and love how much easier it makes my work. I use John James GoldEye Easyglide needles whenever I can get them. I do not spray baste, just pin in place, and I use a PVC square frame I got from Joannes.

  3. #3
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I have never spray basted. For hand quilting I either baste with needle and thread or I safety pin the sandwich together, removing the stitches or pins as I progress. I would not want to take the chance of putting additional drag on the needle from the glue in spray basting.

    My favorite size hoop is a 14" hoop. But I would not attempt to hoop a quilt sandwich in the car. I find it easiest to hoop on a table. I lay my inner hoop flat on the table, then drape my sandwich over it then I put my top hoop on. I then put a bit of slack on it by using my fist and running it around the peremeter from the back. Then I tighten my hoop.

    Needle and thread are a personal preference. If you are a beginner hand quilter you may find a small needle size to difficult to handle. You may wish to experiment with what size needles you like best and what will be easiest for you to thread. I use #11 Roxanne Betweens. You may prefer something else. I think when I first started handquilting I used a #9 between.

    Any good hand quilting thread will do. I have used many hand quilting threads from Coats and Clark Dual Duty to Valdani 30 wt. I love Valdani thread but it is hard to find unless you have time to shop on line. Like needles, your thread choice is very personal. What I love, someone else may hate.

    I would recommend a few more things for your travel pack. Thimbles, a needle threader or good strong magnifying glasses, beeswax or thread conditioner (I use beeswax to run my thread through. it helps to keep it from tangling) some nice small scissors so you can easily cut your thread at an angle, makes threading the needle easier.

  4. #4
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I agree with most of the posters, I have spray basted but usually baste with thread. Thread and needles, the smaller, the better.

    You may find the quilt picks up dirt if you do it in the car. There is a constant airflow from the vents that has road dust in it to some extent. For a short time it should be OK however.

  5. #5
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    dayton OH
    I'm not sure I could quilt while driving - not enough space. I will also preface it w/ I generally make bed size quilts, and there's a lot of bulk that comes along w/ them. I'd probably have better luck piecing a quilt while driving...Just thinking out loud here.

    I would agree w/ needles, thread nips/scissors, needle threader, thimbles. I use YLI glazed cotton thread (my absolute favorite thread). Gutterman glazed cotton is my 2nd favorite.

    I don't spray baste - I thread baste using the sharon schamber method.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I don't have much success hand quilting in a moving vehicle. I just can't get my stitches to go where I want them to go. It's just too bumpy for me. I prefer to do a binding...or some hand piecing where the stitches won't show.
    I don't spray baste anything I'm going to be hand sewing. I think it would make it harder to stitch through....but since I've never tried it, I'm only guessing here.
    For travel I prefer a smaller hoop, 9-12". That again is strictly for space reasons.
    As for the needles/threads questions...you'll probably get different answers from everyone that answers. It truly is a personal preference. I like #10 needles, John James gold eye are great! As for thread, I am a complete Mettler junkie! I like their threads, they don't break or fray. I also use thread heaven conditioner on the thread instead of beeswax. It comes in a tiny blue square, easy to use, easy to store. I find it lasts longer for me than the beeswax did (again it all comes down to personal preference!)
    When I'm traveling I like to keep everything together in either a zippered craft bag, or a plastic tote. Be sure to put any pins you have in a sm. ziploc bag, even if they are in a snap shut type box....ask me how I know!! I also like to use liquid skin on my underneath finger. A couple of good coats on your finger will help minimize the pokes with the needle. (another draw back to quilting while driving...IMHO!)
    Have fun!!

  7. #7
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Knot Merrill, Southern Indiana
    Something you may not have thought of.

    I recently took a project with me to hand stitch in the car (needle turn applique). The bumps and turns made it difficult, but not impossible - but worse than that was the fact that I was getting car sick! I never - ever - get car sick. But the act of looking at something stationary while moving made me car sick - even though I was looking up every now and then (usually to see if there were any more pot-holes that my husband could find on purpose!).

    So you might want to try taking a small project on a road trip with you to see if you like stitching while driving.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.


  8. #8
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    East Oklahoma - pining for Massachusetts
    1) Do you spray baste your hand quilting projects? I always pin mine.

    2) What size hoop do you like best? I will be quilting in the car and condo. Mine is 14inches across.

    3) What needle size is best? Mine are on the larger size, but that's just me.

    4) What thread do you suggest? I like Connecting Threads but also use others like Coats and Clarks.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    Life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent what you do about it. - Steve Harvey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Thanks so much for all of the great advice. I may not be able to quilt while riding, especially being new at it, but I am taking it along, I can quilt while at the beach condo. We will be there 7 days and I want to spend a little part of it sewing I hope. I will gather my supplies this week, any additional advice is welcome!

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NJ
    I agree with everything you've already heard. My personal preferences for needles are Roxanne's - #10 or #11. The 11's have really tiny eye's though and if you go with them I strongly recommend getting their threaders. The wire is finer and will fit through those eyes where other commercially available threaders do not. I'm also a Thread Heaven junkie vs. beeswax. And a small zippered pouch to put all your supplies in is great. I used to use ziplock bags but picked up a really nice-sized zippered pouch for cheap (kind of like a smallish make up bag) and it's much better. I'm not in the least picky about thread. Any hand-quilting thread in the color I want is what I use. That said, I do like the Americana brand at JoAnns. I think it's a nice weight thread and the price ($1/spool) is great. Color choices are pretty good, just sometimes not what I want. And I've never used basting spray, although a hand-quilting friend of mine has in the past. I generally use pins unless it's a really large (king) quilt. Then I'll thread baste as it's a lot less weight to drag around. Then just clip/un-pin as I get to those areas.

    Good luck with your projects and have fun visiting!

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