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Thread: Question Re: Hand Quilting

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mrs. Mel's Avatar
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    Hey all: I am going to attempt to hand quilt. (Was inspired by Harmony). Two questions:

    1) Am I supposed to use a heavier thread, or will any do?

    2) Am I supposed to use a darker, contrasting thread, or lighter so my stitches (or mistakes :oops: ) don't show?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    Use a Hand quilting thread...it is slightly thicker and has a coating on it. Never use it in your machine as it will gunk it up.

    The thread color is a personal choice type of thing.

  3. #3
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    Welcome to what I call the "true" quilting.
    Handquilting thread works the best as it is stiffer and holds up well to be dragged through the fabric repeatedly. Use cuts of no more than 18" and it is always single thread. If you want to hide your stitches as much as possible use colors to match each section of the quilt you are working on. The only problem with that is unless you have a overall printed back it will show there a lot. I have been handquilting for at least 40 years. The first five at least I did stab and stitch. I then advanced to two stitches at a time. Now I probably average at least three stitches on one needle. A lot depends on the density of the fabric, the size of your needle and the thickness and density of the batting you are using. For my best work I use cotton batting at the "request" thickness which is very thin. The nice thing about today's battings is that they make it possible to quilt without having to do it extremely heavily unless you so desire. Make sure you read the label. If it says you can quilt as much as 4" apart you can be sure that your batting will stay put after being laundered.
    If you are planning on using a traditional quilting frame that is stationary it would be to your advantage to learn to quilt with both hands. Since I touch type and play the piano it didn't take me long to perfect using both hands. It saves a lot of contortions when using a stationary frame. It also makes it easier for me to spend lots of time quilting without destroying my neck. After 40 years I have carpal tunnel problems with both hands.
    I find handquilting very relaxing. I have discovered the "continious" line quilting stencils that were designed for machine quilting. They make handquilting much easier as they prevent having to stop and start so much.

    Good luck and have fun.

  4. #4
    Member hexagonquilter's Avatar
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    What is your pattern that you are going to use hand quilting? Or are you hand quilting and hand piecing as well?
    Hand quilting: I tend to get a thread color that will stand out on the backing of the quilt. If this is your first time hand quilting and your stitches are a various size then I would get a blending thread color.
    Hand Piecing: I use thread that kinda goes with the fabrics. It blends in when the seams are finger pressed especially if your stitches are slightly farther apart than on a machine. I get 15 + to an inch and sometimes that is too far apart to hide the thread.
    I do both piecing and quilting by hand.

  5. #5
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I hand quilt with the ladies at my church and we usually use white or ecru quilting thread. We will use other colors at the request of the quilt owner, but find these two colors meet our needs.
    Try to do a regular stich loading your needle with at least 2 stitches. Sab and stitch will show up on the back of the quilt and leave you disappointed! :(
    The most important thing I have learned is there are different thimbles and be sure to use one with a lip so your needle doesn't slip.
    It is great therapy and you will only get better with lots of practice. :lol: :lol:

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mrs. Mel's Avatar
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    I am hand quilting a star on the light coloured blocks of my lap quilt. I can't seem to get past 3 stitches to an inch and still pick up the material on the back. I know, that sounds pretty bad. Hexagon did you mean you are getting 15 stitches in an inch? How can you see it; they must be SO tiny! I am so impressed.

    I have machine pieced the top; here. I will include the pic.

    I have only been quilting since last July, so I am doing a lot of 'stab and stitching' like you described mpspeedy. The star is continuous (until I go to the next block) so that is relatively simple.

    Thanks so much all. I am thinking I will stick to a similar colour thread to background. I don't want to be too disappointed with the result. If it is not TOO bad I will put on a 'completed' pic! :)
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  7. #7
    Super Member mary quite contrary's Avatar
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    If you are having trouble with your thread twisting, thread your needle from the other end of the thread.

    Also, my mother (89) who has been sewing for most of her life says there is a difference which side of the needle you thread. If you are having trouble threading your needle turn it around and thread from the other side.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rismstress's Avatar
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    Although this is fairly obvious, learn to use a thimble. Find one that fits and is comfortable. I have several sizes for when my fingers swell.
    It will save you making a hole in your finger.
    Have fun, I enjoy doing the handquilting.
    Cheryl

  9. #9
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I find it is best to thread the needle the direction the thread comes off the spool. Sometimes wetting the needle (yes, the needle where the hole is) will help the thread find the hole and go through easier! Thread the needle before you cut the thread from the spool. Pull out a comfortable length, then cut the thread keeping the short end by your needle to let the thread work WITH its twist. Use the quilters knot, and go for it! Start with a couple stitches on your needle and go from there. The length of your needle and the tautness of the quilt determine how many stitches you can load your needle with. I use a needle gripper ( a circle of soft rubber- a piece of a balloon or rubber glove works as well) to help with pulling my needle through "tough" spots. Practice and you will get better.
    People who want beautiful consistent stitches in hand quilting have a "warm-up" piece that they use to get their "groove" and then go the the piece that they want for competition or ?
    Hope this helps. :lol:

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mrs. Mel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rismstress
    Although this is fairly obvious, learn to use a thimble. Find one that fits and is comfortable. I have several sizes for when my fingers swell.
    It will save you making a hole in your finger.
    Have fun, I enjoy doing the handquilting.
    Cheryl
    At this point, nothing is obvious for me. I have actually tried using a thimble, but I can't 'feel' through it. I think my finger is claustrophobic.

    And Shemjo, I don't even know what a quilter's knot is! I am so embarassed! :oops: :oops: I was using a medium length needle, cz too short and I lose it!

    Thanks again for all the advice. As you can see, I kinda need it.

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