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Thread: Catching the backing in hand quilting

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Bushkill, Pa
    I have no problem when I sew one stitch at a time and go up
    and down and finish the stitch. I have a problem when I try
    to "rock" my needle and do more than one stitch. The
    backing keeps coming off the needle. I'd love suggestions
    on what the problem is.

  2. #2
    Cyn is offline
    Super Member Cyn's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Jacksonville NC
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    I always hit my nail underneath and use my finger to make sure there is a stitch under and over. I keep acrylic nails on when I'm hand quilting :) Most people find this an odd way but I do a lot of handwork and it works for me. Yes I bleed some but calluses help.

  3. #3
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    North East Lower peninsula of Michigan
    I just know that my finger is full of pin poke marks and when I had to go for a fingerprinting for a job The guy laughed at my fingers! Make sure you go all the way through and then take your next stitch, mine are still not all the same but getting better.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I bring the needle straight down through the layers, until I can feel the tip of the needle with my finger. Then I rock the needle back to bring it back up.

    It helps if the quilt sandwich is a bit loose. If it's too tight in the hoop I have trouble catching the back, too.


  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Western Wisconsin
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    Are you using a thimble on the underneath hand? Some people use nails, as mentioned, or a teaspoon or some other kind of hard surface underneath.

    The most common beginner mistake is to hoop the quilt too tight. Are you using a hoop? There should be a fist-size amount of "give" in the middle of the hoop. This allows you to manipulate the quilt sandwich onto the needle instead of just manipulating the needle. If you look closely at demonstrations of hand quilting, you will see that the quilt is being manipulated with the underneath hand at the same time that the needle is being manipulated.

    Clear as much? Try loosening the sandwich and see what happens.

  6. #6
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    The only way I can do it is to feel the needle point prick my underneath finger. I try not to stick it, just touch and then back up. You end up with your underneath finger looking like swiss cheese after a while and I have to take a break from quilting. Some people like the Aunt Becky? It's a little metal thing that sits on the under finger that is supposed to help. Good Luck1

  7. #7
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    I have just settled in with one stitch at a time and it looks better for me and hurts my hand less. Keep trying to find what works best for you.

  8. #8
    Super Member Chicca's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Grants Pass, Oregon
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    Wonderful question! Everyones comments/suggestions are great. I have the same problem that you do and after reading the comments plan on giving these a try and see if it goes any better. Thank you for sharing.

  9. #9
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I used to wear a thimble on the underneath hand. One that was kind of smooth on the top and then when the needle toudhed it and I rocked and pushed back up, the needle would slide up that thimble and out the quilt. Once you get that first stitch and the needle about 1/8 inch through the fabric top, send it back again...do that until you have three or four stitches on the needle before pulling the thread out.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sew_southern's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
    I've found it helps to put the needle straight down through the "sandwich" instead of at an angle. Feel the prick with your other finger underneath and push needle back up. I always get a nice callous. :)

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
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    it takes practice- and some people never get it- there are lots of hand quilters who stab-stitch
    you need to (feel) the needle come through the otherside- watch some videos-tutorials- i think Jenny Beyer has a tutorial showing how to use a spoon-
    it just takes time-and practice- you will get it.

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