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Thread: Hand quilting question

  1. #1
    Super Member karenm36's Avatar
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    Help! I'm learning to hand quilt and for the last 2 days I cannot get the stitches on the back of the quilt to look like the front of the quilt no matter how hard I try. What could I be doing wrong? AND...how much "alike" are they supposed to be?(Currently I have only done SID on this...later I want to do a floral motif).

    I'm wondering since I've done 4 nine inch blocks so far should I rip all this out and just machine stitch or keep on at this? Or if I can't get the quilting to look better...is it okay to start machine stitching from here on out on the same quilt leaving the handing stitching I have already done in place. I really would like to hand stitch it all...just wish the back looked better...the front looks okay.

    Also I've tried loading my needle and using the rocking method and that makes the back look even worse. The stab method looks better and so I've been using that.

    I'm able to use one of the smallest betweens...that's working okay. I have tried quilting using a large oval quilting hoop and also a pvc floor frame. The floor frame is working better.

    ANY suggestions or comments would be welcomed. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    I decided to do the best I can. I'm not after a prize in a show. I have the same issue as you. I suggest to keep working. My back doesn't look the same as the front but My purpose is to make the quilt functional. Relax and just enjoy the learning process. Happy Quilting!

  3. #3
    Super Member JNCT14's Avatar
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    Actually - ANY information on hand quilting would be welcome. I don't do it - first off, rocking the needle absolutely kills my hand - I wind up with an aching wrist that stops me sewing for days. I have also tried the stabbing method with two hands - it works better, but boy is it SLOW. I can't ever seem to get the tension in the hoop or in the frame right so I can rock the needle and go through the underside - so I always remove the durned thing and gather the piece with my left hand and quilt with my right. Forget it! I gave up and do strictly machine quilting now. Funny thing is that I have no problem doing hand piecing!!!

  4. #4
    Super Member mollymct's Avatar
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    I'm only just learning some handquilting myself, so can't offer too much advice, but I will say I think you should proceed with the handstitching and not switch to machine. My work still looks the best if I don't try to get too many stitches on the needle. Also, it looks better if I enter the top of the quilt with the needle perpendicular to the quilt--not at a lesser angle. I'm "rocking," but not to much rocking at once! It gets harder for me to do that if I have many stitches on the needle.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    If you want to improve the look of the stitches on the back, try inserting the needle perpendicular to the quilt top, and not at an angle.

    I never really worry about the size of the stitches on the back, so long as they actually show up back there! If the quilting on the front is even, then the back usually will follow too.

    It helps when you do the rocking stitch to keep the quilt looser in the frame or hoop - it should look like the cat sat on it. If you make it too tight it's hard to make a stitch and you bend needles.

  6. #6
    Gal
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    Super Member Gal's Avatar
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    I am a hand quilter and fairly new to it as well. The back of mine does not look like the front either but it is getting better the more I do! I do not use the rocking method nor do I use the stab stitch, I use my thumb nail which is very tough to push through about three or four stitches at a time. I think really at the end of the day it is what suits you and your quilt. I am not trying to please anyone else but my self here. I also do not use any thimbles, I do not even get a calous on my under hand,have had the odd pricked finger though. I was really trying to do the rocking thing and use a thimble etc but it just didn't feel right, I was expecting to get worn out fingers etc but my method works for me and I'm sticking to it, I have got neater and my stitches smaller as time has gone on and I am happy with the results I get working in the manner which suits me.

    Gal

  7. #7
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    IMHO you should go on with hand quilting - but it's your quilt, you can of course do what YOU want and you can decide how you like.
    For me SID is much harder than quilting on fabric without seams at all. I'm sure you will see the difference when you start to do the floral motifs. Near the seams your material is quite tight and it's heavier to quilt through - and it's much more difficult to make the stitches on the back look nearly the same like on the front of your quilt. Try to do single stitches - maybe it is easier for you - and keep the quilt loose in your hoop or frame. I'm sure you will improve.
    I also don't care too much about the stitches on the back. It's okay for me when the very most of them show up and they are on one straight line. But I also know that this is easier to reach on a wholecloth than on a patchwork quilt!

  8. #8
    racnquilter's Avatar
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    If it is your first quilt, please do not think that you will have even stitches, same sized stitches front and back, or perfect stitches. The more you handquilt the better you will become and you will find a method and rhythm that works best for you. All of us can say what works best for us, but it might not work for you. When I have a quilt that has blocks, I use a pvc lap frame and I do not ever have it tight in the frame. But when it comes to sashings or quilts where there is mainly just straight line stitching, then I have become comfortable enough that, as long as I have basted it well, I do not use a frame, will hold in left hand and stitch with right hand. I have handquilted about 8 quilts and without a doubt can tell what quilt was my first one. But I knew not to expect perfection on my first one. Like borntohandquilt said, please do not give up on it. It's a learning process. If after this quilt you feel that handquilting is not for you, the so be it. I'm sure handquilting is not for everyone, but I love to do it, it is a relaxing task for me. Albeit, not a fast task, it is very relaxing for me personally.

    Also, I have never handquilted in the ditch, my stitching has always been I think it's called echo or with stencils.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNCT14
    Actually - ANY information on hand quilting would be welcome. I don't do it - first off, rocking the needle absolutely kills my hand - I wind up with an aching wrist that stops me sewing for days. I have also tried the stabbing method with two hands - it works better, but boy is it SLOW. I can't ever seem to get the tension in the hoop or in the frame right so I can rock the needle and go through the underside - so I always remove the durned thing and gather the piece with my left hand and quilt with my right. Forget it! I gave up and do strictly machine quilting now. Funny thing is that I have no problem doing hand piecing!!!
    One thing that might help with the pain....instead of using the very tip of your thimble when you rock the needle, try using a thimble that is made for using the pad of your finger. I have read that the position your hand is in, to do it that way, is much easier on your hand. I have used a couple of different thimbles made this way, and trying to go back to one using the tip is, now, very uncomfortable for me. Roxannes thimble is one that is made to use the pad of your finger, but it is very expensive, another is made by clover, it is a bronze color, and has an opening for long fingernails. Hope that helps.

  10. #10
    Senior Member quiltin chris's Avatar
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    I have just finished a wall hanging--my first hand quilted project. Hand quilting takes practice--lots of it. The more do it the better you get. You have to hold your needle the way it suits you. I use my thumb and index finger to guide my needle.

    When I started this project, i was getting about 3 stitches to the inch. Upon finishing, I could stack 8 stitches on my needle and filled up an inch length. I enjoyed hand quilting so much I can hardly wait to start another project.
    Oh yes, I quilted it without a hoop or frame because it was basted very well.

    So take heart, keep practicing and maneuver your needle and thread the way it works best for you!!

    Chris

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