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Thread: Beginner Hand Quilting

  1. #1
    Super Member MommaDorian's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Sully, Iowa
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    Beginner Hand Quilting

    I'm considering hand quilting a paper pieced top I finished a few weeks ago. What are the basic supplies needed, for someone with limited funds? I've never hand quilted before, but it seems like it would be relaxing. Maybe not. lol


    If you've met one child with Autism, you've met ONE child with Autism.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Hudson Valley, NY
    The supplies are as basic as they come: needles (quilting betweens, usually a size 9 or 10 for a beginner), a quilt top, backing and batting, thread, and a thimble. Some quilters baste really well and quilt without a hoop, but I started by using a cheap, $4 quilt hoop that was 16" in diameter.

    There are lots of videos on YouTube about hand quilting that will show you the technique. When you are starting out, it's more important to make even stitches than small stitches.

    I'm sure you'll find lots of help here if you ask. There are a lot of hand quilters on this board. Good luck!


  3. #3
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    North Pole
    I hand quilt all my work, mainly because it is what I can afford...I have found that investing in good needles makes it easier, and better stitching..I use the Golden Glide by John James. I had issues using a wood hoop, because it used to loosen. I found a PVC frame in Joannes that works great for me (the larger 14 inch size is online) ..I am actually planning on making a standing one of PVC. I also have beeswax that I use on the thread to help strengthen and keep from tangling..Make sure your thimble fits comfortably, or it will make your life miserable....I know many packages have a hole you can use to try the thimble size...Good luck with your hand quilting..

  4. #4
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    As others have stated you don't need much to hand quilt. With the internet you can watch a video to get the technique. There are different ways.....loading the needle, stab stitching and the newer big stitch technique. You can see what works for you. I use the traditional loaded needle technique for most of my hand quilting and use the stab stitch over seams. My basic supplies are....between needles, thimble, gutterman hand quilting thread, Q-snap frame and a needle grabber. The needle grabber is for pulling the loaded needle through the fabric. They have them for sale but a large broccoli rubber band works well too. I find hand quilting very relaxing but I don't do it often. It takes me a long time and I just have too many wonderful quilt patterns to do from my bucket list so I mostly FMQ now. Have fun!

  5. #5
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Stanley NC
    I also hand quilt. The best size needle is the 9 or 10 betweener. Don't worry about trying to make extra small stitches - just strive for consistent stitches. Smaller stitches come with practice. I have a PVC frame from Joanns. I tried using a hoop and got too frustrated. I use the frame mainly to keep the quilt off the floor. I attach the quilt on 3 sides only, leaving the side next to me in my lap. I work hard to pin, pin, pin when I'm sandwiching the quilt so the back is straight. My sister recently purchased Quilters Dream Cotton batting and she said her needle glides through like it's butter. I'm going to get some for my next quilt. The main thing to remember is to enjoy the process and don't get stressed. This should be a relaxing hobby for you with no deadline to finish. Hand piecing and hand quilting are very relaxing for me because I can pick the work up and do as little or as much as I want to do before putting it down.

  6. #6
    Super Member Val in IN's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
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    Basic supplies. Quilting needles ("Betweens" size 9 or 10 will probably be a good starting size), Hand quilting thread ($1.00 a spool at Joann's), Beeswax (very inexpensive), Small thread snips (any small sharp scissor), Hoop or frame (I personally don't use either. I just baste and quilt without. All a matter of comfort and personal preference), A comfortable thimble (it might take a few tries to find one you like), and LOTS of patience with yourself. Try for consistant stitches rather than small stitiches. The more you handquilt, the smaller your stitches will become. I applaud you for trying handquilting. After a while, you will find it to be very relaxing. Happy Quilting!!
    "I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane!"

  7. #7
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Mableton, GA
    I handquilt sometimes too and all of the above are great suggestions. With time you will find what works best for you. Remember, there are many ways of doing things so don't give up if one hoop or needle doesn't work for you! It took me a long time to even find the right thimble that worked for me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I also have a little round rubber disk to help grip the needle if I have trouble getting it pulled through the material. Not sure what it is called...sorry

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    I have used a large embrodery hoop that I already had to hand quilt. Makes the project very portable.

  10. #10
    Super Member ranger's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Eastern Canada
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    All of the above information is good.
    Invest in good quality needles; also beeswax, comfortable thimble and hand quilting thread.
    At first, strive for even stitches rather than small stitches.

    I use a plastic hoop.
    When I first started hand quilting, my biggest mistake was having
    the fabric within the hoop TOO TIGHT.
    Life...you muddle your way through it and then you die!

  11. #11
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central NJ
    You've gotten great advice here already. My only other suggestion is that I prefer Thread Heaven instead of beeswax as a thread conditioner. I also agree that 'good' needles to make things easier and less frustrating. My personal favorite is Roxanne and can be gotton from Colonialneedle.com very reasonably if your LQS doesn't carry them. And the thimble...oh, the thimble. After many trials and tribulations I am very pleased with my Thimblelady thimble. It is cone shaped and open ended. This requires that you push with the pad of your finger instead of the top and I find this far less painful/stressful on the pushing finger. I use my thimble on my middle finger and a rubber tip - the kind you find in the office supply stores for paper/money counting - on my index finger and a needle puller. I have a small pair of plain old fiskars scissors for thread snipping. For me, thread depends on the color I want and what's available. I've used the Americana brand from JoAnns for $1.00; Coats & Clark; Gutterman. Don't have a particular preference. Just make sure it's specified for hand quilting. I pin or thread baste the sandwhich about a hand-width apart in each direction. Most times I use a cheap 14-16" wood hoop and sometimes nothing. But the hoop lets me easily find where I was last working when I pick it back up again!

    Good luck. It's quite enjoyable and relaxing. With machine piecing and hand quilting I get the best of both worlds for my sanity.

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