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Thread: Does Anyone Hand Quilt Without a Hoop or Frame?

  1. #1
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Does Anyone Hand Quilt Without a Hoop or Frame?

    I mostly machine quilt, but I'm working on a Hawaiian applique wall quilt and wanted to hand quilt it since it was hand appliqued. I started out doing the quilting with a big hoop. I've always struggled with my big stitches! I finally ditched the hoop and began quilting with the work unstretched in my lap. My stitches are smaller and better looking now that I'm not using the hoop. Seems so much easier.

    Just wondering how many others hand quilt without any hoop or frame support? I'd love to hear your experiences.
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  2. #2
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    I can't use a hoop when I lap quilt. It is fine not to. We all have to find what works for us. There are no rules. I am sure your quilt will be a cherished work of art.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewbizgirl View Post
    I mostly machine quilt, but I'm working on a Hawaiian applique wall quilt and wanted to hand quilt it since it was hand appliqued. I started out doing the quilting with a big hoop. I've always struggled with my big stitches! I finally ditched the hoop and began quilting with the work unstretched in my lap. My stitches are smaller and better looking now that I'm not using the hoop. Seems so much easier.

    Just wondering how many others hand quilt without any hoop or frame support? I'd love to hear your experiences.
    I never use a hoop when hand quilting. Georgia Bonesteel published quilting books on lap quilting several years ago and it really changed the method of hand quilting for many quilters. I have done many quilts and wall hangings this way. So do what is best for you and enjoy the process!
    GeeGee

  4. #4
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    I have done hand quilting with and without a hoop. I use a 12 inch hoop and prefer that method. I can switch back and forth and the difference in my stitches is insignificance. I do edges without the hoop because it is easier and I don't have to add a temporary piece. Part of my choice of method has to do with comfort in my hands. I really like to hand quilt, but, I honestly don't take the time to do it very often. Why am I in such a hurry?

  5. #5
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    I never use a hoop. I think I rock my fabric rather than my needle. And my fingers are too big for betweens,...I use sharps 10 or 11.

  6. #6
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    Mostly I use a hoop but there are times I do not. Main reason I like the hoop is that it's easier to find where I was last working. I, too, find no difference in my stitch size with the 2 methods. And like Jane Quilter, I rock my fabric vs the needle but can do that in the hoop as well since I keep it fairly loose in the hoop.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Monale's Avatar
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    My first quilt turned into an UFO for a couple of years because I just couldn't work out hand-quilting how it's shown in those you-tube videos, despite the hoop I bought for it (I didn't have anyone who could show me in person, maybe that would have worked better...). After a couple of years I was fed up and just wanted that quilt on my bed instead of in the drawer! That's when I decided to give it a try without the hoop - and it worked so much better for me! Haven't used the hoop since but have done a few more quilts...

  8. #8
    Senior Member GramMER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewbizgirl View Post
    I mostly machine quilt, but I'm working on a Hawaiian applique wall quilt and wanted to hand quilt it since it was hand appliqued. I started out doing the quilting with a big hoop. I've always struggled with my big stitches! I finally ditched the hoop and began quilting with the work unstretched in my lap. My stitches are smaller and better looking now that I'm not using the hoop. Seems so much easier.

    Just wondering how many others hand quilt without any hoop or frame support? I'd love to hear your experiences.
    When I first learned to quilt, the instructor for our class taught us lap quilting. We made our quilts in sections (added block by block) on our laps. We did the piecing, then made the sandwich for each block and set them all together in rows. It was a great way to learn and I believe (looking back at those days) the quilts were much more valuable because they were completely done by hand. What I liked best about that method was the fact that I could stuff a small section into a bag and carry it wit me to any office. Waiting for hourse in a doctor's or lawyer's office was not miserable time wasted because I had my work with me. For some reason I finished more quilts faster that way than I do these days making whole tops and sending them out to be quilted.
    GramMER to eighteen, plus two great-granddaughters and four adopted greats soon we hope!

  9. #9
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    Have you seen the YouTube video of the thimble lady quilting with a hoop? She keeps her fabric very loose and uses a long needle which she does not rock, instead she uses her underneath hand to push the loose fabric up and onto the needle.

    I've never done any traditional hand quilting, But I do some decorative stitching on my art quilts both before and after they are sandwiched. So some of the stitches are only in the top and some go through all three layers. I find it's much easier to do without a hoop. If I need help managing the fabric I sometimes use a clamp and bird, or the presser foot of my sewing machine or both to help keep the fabric from getting drawn up.

    Rob
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  10. #10
    Super Member fivepaws's Avatar
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    I never use a hoop either.
    All my grand-children have paws.

  11. #11
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    I use the thimblelady method, with the quilt fairly loose in the hoop. Too loose and you don't have good control, too tight you can't get enough movement in the fabric. I used to think hooping the quilt was the hardest part of quilting, LOL, but I eventually got the hang of it.
    Lisa

  12. #12
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I do as you do, just hold the quilt sandwich in my hands and sew away. It works better for me too.

  13. #13
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    When I was returning to sewing and quilting a number of years ago, I sat at the side and feet of an expert hand quilter for a Saturday quilt work day. She showed how to use a hoop or frame but also encouraged us to try without the hoop/frame and then use the method that fit us the best. There are no rules just the pleasure of doing hand work. My sister-in-law was a speedy and absolutely perfect hand quilter who only used a frame. Perfect work, perfect pleasure but I hate the frame. I am a hand quilt with no hoop or frame gal. Works for me particularly when I am doing smaller projects such as table runners or baby quilts. Bottom line, try the different styles and do what works for YOU!

  14. #14
    Super Member ginnie6's Avatar
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    When I first started quilting I used a hoop because I thought that was the way it was done. I also tried and tried and tried to rock my needle. But you know what? I can't do it! So now I quilt hoopless and I rock my fabric. I'm happy with my stitches. They may not be 12 to an inch but that's ok. They're consistent and I like them. I did finally learn to use a thimble though as the pain of the needle sticking in my finger got to be too much. :-)
    So many quilts.....so little time!
    http://ginniequilts.blogspot.com//

  15. #15
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    HOOPLESS OVER HERE!!!!! LOL, and I am the heathen in the group, not only am I hoopless, I use whatever needle is that works, regardless of it's title or number. As long as I am the one happy with my work, I'm happy! Don't come to my house to judge, you'll be shown the door!
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Fabric Galore's Avatar
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    I had the same experience. My son-in-law built me a large standing quilt frame to hold up to a king-size quilt but it was so awkward to get my stitches even. I then tried several hoops and I got tired of all of the stopping to change the position of the hoop. I am now working on a queen size whole cloth quilt with a lot of leaves and curves and I am just holding it on my lap. I have done several quilts in this fashion and I love the outcome. I machine quilt baby quilts and some wall hangings but I always love the look of hand quilting the most.

  17. #17
    Senior Member cassiemae's Avatar
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    Hi: I could never get used to using a hoop so my husband made me a frame out of PVC pipe and that is what I use.
    I have a sewing room in the basement so I do not have to put anything away until I am all done with my quilt.
    I have never tried lap quilting but for just the sake of it I think I might have to give it a try also.
    Happy Quiting.
    "BIG SKY COUNTRY"

  18. #18
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I don't use a hoop either. Just need to baste well so things don't shift, from my own experience.
    Lori

    *********

  19. #19
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    I took a class on Hawaiian quilting over 10 years ago and still have not finished the block I started. I was good with the cutting and reverse applique but when I got to the quilting I have struggled. I could never get the hoop the way I wanted and then just as I started to get a rhythm going and stitches were looking OK I had to move the hoop. Now I have hope and am going to go hopeless; I have never been able to use a thimble either.

  20. #20
    Senior Member minibarn's Avatar
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    I am a hoop quilter, a size 14 mostly. I have tried going hoopless because I think I would ultimately prefer that, but I just can't seem to get it all together. I wish I had someone I could work w/that can do both methods (or even just one method very well) so that when I run into a problem they could help me through it. I do use the Thimble Lady thimble though.

    Today I am going to watch as many utubes as I can to see some of the hoopless methods in action. My problem usually arises when I get to the middle and I'm not sure exactly how to hold the fabric.

  21. #21
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the quick replies to my question! Didn't realize we had so many hand quilters here. Last night, in poking around online, I found this great video on the hoopless technique by Sharon Schamber. She is fun to watch and although I wouldn't do everything exactly like she did it, I learned a lot from her.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...D1D3&FORM=VIRE
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  22. #22
    Junior Member TeesMeema's Avatar
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  23. #23
    Super Member Evie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewbizgirl View Post
    Thanks for all the quick replies to my question! Didn't realize we had so many hand quilters here. Last night, in poking around online, I found this great video on the hoopless technique by Sharon Schamber. She is fun to watch and although I wouldn't do everything exactly like she did it, I learned a lot from her.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...D1D3&FORM=VIRE
    This is the site I went to when I also wanted to hand quilt my Hawaiian applique wall hanging (my avatar). It worked for me and I think the piece turned out quite well.
    "I keep my end tables full of needlework and quilting so I don't have to dust them." ~ Author Unknown but I agree!

  24. #24
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evie View Post
    This is the site I went to when I also wanted to hand quilt my Hawaiian applique wall hanging (my avatar). It worked for me and I think the piece turned out quite well.
    Yes, it's gorgeous!
    http://www.craftsy.com/user/333534/pattern-store?
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/sewbizgirl
    Boom 17 Album of Blocks I Made for Others http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19654.html
    "The reward of a thing well done is having done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  25. #25
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Nope, I just spread it on a table if large and in my lap if small.
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    Kitsie

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