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Thread: Hand Quilt attempt revisited

  1. #1
    Junior Member alderdweller's Avatar
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    Oh my. I have barely started and already having second thoughts.
    I tried the hoop, got frustrated with it so took it out and decided I can do better without it.
    But my stitches...ugggg. Ugly, ugly, ugly.
    I know it takes practice, but I don't see how I could ever make those small pretty stitches, and not sure I have the patience of Job to finish a large quilt.
    I am wondering now why I ever even thought about trying...very frustrated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member cowpie2's Avatar
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    You might want to warm up on a small practice sandwich. Make a practice block a bit larger than your hoop of plain fabric and scraps of batting. I know on my first quilt, the first block I did was awful it took me a little bit to get the feel for it. Focus more on even stitches than on tiny stitches.

    And remember what you think is awful, others may not even notice. I let some women I work with see my 2nd hand quilted quilt which I thought had awful stitching and all they could talk about was how small and even the stitches were. We are our own worst critics.

  3. #3
    Super Member cuppi duke's Avatar
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    Don't get frustrated yet. I can't use a hoop either but if I spread my quilt over a tabletop I do just fine. This way you can use your left (or opposite) thumb nail to help guide the fabric to the needle to make smaller stitches. It took me a whole twin sized quilt before I finally got the hang of it. I think if you use too large a needle it gives bigger stitches. Use as small a between as you can manage to see to thread.

  4. #4
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    on no i was just about ready to try myself sooo scary

  5. #5
    Senior Member B. Louise's Avatar
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    The right needle can make a big difference. I don't know the best brand, but Dritz needles, even the quilting ones feel clumsy to me compared to some very fine ones I got from a friend.

  6. #6
    Super Member Furza Flyin's Avatar
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    This board told me that my hint is not cheating, but a very old quilter once told me it was. :roll: I put a jean/denim needle in my sewing machine, dont thread it and make sure the bobbin is out or empty. I then increase the stitch length to a comfortable distance and "sew" my quilting pattern onto the fabric sandwich. It gives me nice guidlines to follow. The holes close up when I wash the quilt.

  7. #7
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I haven't haven't hand-quilted in years, but I learned just the other day on this board that I probably had the fabric pulled too tight in the hoop - I thought should be taut like you do for embroidery, but apparently, that's not the way to go. It has to be loose enough to allow the quilt to move.

    But, you don't have to use a hoop, if you like it better without.

    I was watching some online quilting show and - I think it might have been Alex Anderson - or maybe Jinny Beyer? Anyway, someone advised not to worry about stitch size to begin with. They said to concentrate on consistent stitches and on the hand movements, and that with practice, the tiny stitch sizes would develop. I thought that might be a useful bit of advice, so I kept it. Unfortunately, I didn't put the speaker's name into the same memory bank. ;)

    Hang in there - I'll bet with some practice, you're going to be much happier with how your stitches look. And don't be too critical, either. We're always so hard on ourselves. :)

  8. #8
    Senior Member nellebelles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furza Flyin
    This board told me that my hint is not cheating, but a very old quilter once told me it was. :roll: I put a jean/denim needle in my sewing machine, dont thread it and make sure the bobbin is out or empty. I then increase the stitch length to a comfortable distance and "sew" my quilting pattern onto the fabric sandwich. It gives me nice guidlines to follow. The holes close up when I wash the quilt.
    I will have to try that! One of the things that is the hardest for my painful arthritic fingers is pushing the needle through the layers. Thank you for the suggestion!

  9. #9
    Junior Member alderdweller's Avatar
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    Ok, I tried a smaller needle and it did make a world of difference. Still not what I want, but much better.
    One thing I saw somewhere (can't remember where) is that you should sew from up to down (toward yourself) but I'm finding that difficult to do. I want to sew from right to left. Does it really matter which direction you go?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alderdweller
    Ok, I tried a smaller needle and it did make a world of difference. Still not what I want, but much better.
    One thing I saw somewhere (can't remember where) is that you should sew from up to down (toward yourself) but I'm finding that difficult to do. I want to sew from right to left. Does it really matter which direction you go?
    It doesn't matter how you do it, so long as you're comfortable with it and you're catching all 3 layers.

    I hated my first attempts at hand quilting, too - it really looked bad. I made myself stick with it and my stitches improved. Yours will too.

    Janet

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