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Thread: Hand Quilting Advice

  1. #1
    Senior Member Carol Wilson's Avatar
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    I need your advice, I like to hand quilt but it can sometimes be difficult with a large quilt.

    I have had a try of quilt as you go, I am constructing a quilt at the moment the centre of each block is 6inches square, (the entire block is 10 inches square) is there any reason that I cannot place batting 6 inches square in the centre of the block, hand quilt it, it would be easy to manage and then back it again, it would mean the centre of the block would have double batting but that wouldn't matter as the centre of each block would be raised, but if it is consistent over the entire quilt I cannot see that it would be a problem.

    What do you more experienced quilters think?

  2. #2
    MTS
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    So my first question would be why do you want the double layer of batting? Is it for trapunto? You don't mention that you're cutting or trimming any of it away.

    If, for whatever reason, you want to quilt the 6" square, then add borders to it, and sandwich that, you could. The double batting wouldn't really be a problem, but then the hand quilting would NOT be visible on the back of the block, right? And wouldn't you have 2 backings under the 6" part - or will you do the hand quilting without any backing?

    Why wouldn't you be able to finish the whole 10" block which includes your 6" center block, then layer it, including the another layer for 6" center, and then quilt it - by hand and/or machine. And then join it to other blocks using a QAYG method?

    So, yes, you can do it, but maybe there is a better way to get the same effect.

  3. #3
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    it would work just fine to quilt your 6" block then make it larger, the extra loft will add more to the over-all design of the quilt. the only thing i think may be an issue is the second time around quilting...the added bulk and added backing may make it more difficult to hand quilt through, as long as you are using a good-new sharp needle it will probably not be too difficult. i would try a couple blocks...maybe 3 or 4 into a table runner to test the technique on a (start to finish) little project to see if i need to modify anything to make it work.

  4. #4
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    I agree with ckcowl to try it on a small scale first and see how it works. I think the raised centers could have a really interesting effect.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Carol Wilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterflyblue
    I agree with ckcowl to try it on a small scale first and see how it works. I think the raised centers could have a really interesting effect.
    Thank you for you advice, I have a very large table but I always have trouble "sandwiching the layers" the backing always puckers when I put the quilt in a hoop to hand quilt, (I find my stitches are more even when I use a hoop). I will give it some thought today to decide what I am going to do after all your expert advice, will keep you posted on the outcome.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    That sounds like a basting problem, then, rather than a quilting problem. How are you basting, apart from on a table? If you can sort out the problem through your basting, I think that'd be hugely easier and quicker than what you're proposing. How big is the quilt?

    I probably make more fuss basting than the vast majority of people, so take this with a pinch of salt, but here's what I do anyway.

    1. Clear enough floor space and make sure it's clean and dust-free, including in the hall so that I can get to the loo without trekking dust or hair onto the quilt. Prepare the top, backing and batting, and make sure I have everything I need within reach (since I have to shove the dining table into a place that blocks my sewing desk).

    2. Put the backing on the floor, smooth it out, make sure it's straight, get someone else to help me hold it taut, and then tape it down around the edges with masking tape. If you have a carpet, use pins instead.

    3. Put down the batting, smooth it out, put down the top, smooth it out.

    4. Crawl around on the floor with big safety pins, putting about one every 12" and more frequently around the edge.

    5. Take off the masking tape. I leave the next part for the next day as I have severe ME/CFIDS, but you may want to go straight on. If not, fold up the quilt carefully.

    6. Put the quilt out on the dining table, making sure I smooth out anything that's got rucked up from having it folded up overnight.

    7. Thread baste using herringbone basting stitches, about 3" apart and closer for the outside row. I use Sharon Schamber's technique for the herringbone basting, you can find the video easily on YouTube. I do two backstitches at the start and end of every thread.

    8. Take out the safety pins and we're ready to go!

    It's time consuming, but on the other hand I have never in my life had anything other than beautifully flat quilts as a result, with no puckering or anything of that nature. I also rather like the thread basting process, it's easy and peaceful.

    When I had to do a quilt that was larger than the floor, I did it in two sections with a friend. We taped three sides, and on the fourth we weighted it down with stacks of books. Not the easiest, and I wouldn't want to do it again, but thankfully it worked the first time around, we didn't have to redo anything. That quilt was about 89" square finished, it's the largest I've done.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Carol Wilson's Avatar
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    Thank you "Lobster" from the UK, I will look up the video, the only problem with the floor (I have carpet) is my two English Springer Spaniels who insist on following me everywhere I go, so the table it will have to be.

    Many thanks for your extensive advice it is very much appreciated.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    You can't shut the dogs in a room for an hour or so? Is there someone who could take them for a nice long walk? Despite the looks they may give you, they won't actually die without you! Spaniels really do excel at emotional blackmail, don't they. I would seriously take an evening of canine sulking over weeks or even months of putting together bits of quilt in that way you're proposing, it honestly sounds like a total nightmare to me.

    Funnily enough, I was talking to my mother about using the Miracle Ball Method, which is basically when you lie on one or two softish balls the size of a grapefruit and it helps your back. I did a demo last time my parents were visiting. They had their young Yorkie with them, and she thought it was absolutely fantastic when I lay down on the floor. I was completely at her level! Obviously it was a game! It was somewhat tricky to lie back and relax and do deep breathing with this tiny thing leaping all over me, not to mention that I kept on laughing.

    Carpet - is it low or high loft? Apparently big pins work, you poke them in at an angle so that the head of the pin is closer to the quilt edge than the point of the pin, if that makes sense. It's in Jinny Beyer somewhere, that queen of hand-quilters. If the carpet is fluffy, you have problems (in which case see if there's somewhere else you could baste, a friend's house or something), but if it's completely flat, you should be able to do the pin-basting without pinning the quilt to the carpet.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    Oh, and I forgot to mention that the whole Schamber method is actually doable on a table, she uses boards to roll the top and backing onto. Only your table needs to be longer than the shorter sides of your quilt top. Mine never is, except for quilts that are so small they're no trouble to quilt, so I never even bothered trying the bit with the boards. Go and watch the video, see what you think. It's at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhwNylePFAA. The one thing I will say is that starching the top and back does make them easier to baste, but then you end up with worse crease marks from the hoop (Schamber is machine-quilting, of course), so bear that in mind.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Carol Wilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobster
    Oh, and I forgot to mention that the whole Schamber method is actually doable on a table, she uses boards to roll the top and backing onto. Only your table needs to be longer than the shorter sides of your quilt top. Mine never is, except for quilts that are so small they're no trouble to quilt, so I never even bothered trying the bit with the boards. Go and watch the video, see what you think. It's at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhwNylePFAA. The one thing I will say is that starching the top and back does make them easier to baste, but then you end up with worse crease marks from the hoop (Schamber is machine-quilting, of course), so bear that in mind.
    Hi Lobster from the UK the tutorial is great, I have a large table, many many thanks, this could be the way for me to go. Hubby is getting the wood today. I have a bad back so the floor is not for me.

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