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Thread: Hand Quilt attempt revisited

  1. #1
    Junior Member alderdweller's Avatar
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    Oh my. I have barely started and already having second thoughts.
    I tried the hoop, got frustrated with it so took it out and decided I can do better without it.
    But my stitches...ugggg. Ugly, ugly, ugly.
    I know it takes practice, but I don't see how I could ever make those small pretty stitches, and not sure I have the patience of Job to finish a large quilt.
    I am wondering now why I ever even thought about trying...very frustrated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member cowpie2's Avatar
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    You might want to warm up on a small practice sandwich. Make a practice block a bit larger than your hoop of plain fabric and scraps of batting. I know on my first quilt, the first block I did was awful it took me a little bit to get the feel for it. Focus more on even stitches than on tiny stitches.

    And remember what you think is awful, others may not even notice. I let some women I work with see my 2nd hand quilted quilt which I thought had awful stitching and all they could talk about was how small and even the stitches were. We are our own worst critics.

  3. #3
    Super Member cuppi duke's Avatar
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    Don't get frustrated yet. I can't use a hoop either but if I spread my quilt over a tabletop I do just fine. This way you can use your left (or opposite) thumb nail to help guide the fabric to the needle to make smaller stitches. It took me a whole twin sized quilt before I finally got the hang of it. I think if you use too large a needle it gives bigger stitches. Use as small a between as you can manage to see to thread.

  4. #4
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    on no i was just about ready to try myself sooo scary

  5. #5
    Senior Member B. Louise's Avatar
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    The right needle can make a big difference. I don't know the best brand, but Dritz needles, even the quilting ones feel clumsy to me compared to some very fine ones I got from a friend.

  6. #6
    Super Member Furza Flyin's Avatar
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    This board told me that my hint is not cheating, but a very old quilter once told me it was. :roll: I put a jean/denim needle in my sewing machine, dont thread it and make sure the bobbin is out or empty. I then increase the stitch length to a comfortable distance and "sew" my quilting pattern onto the fabric sandwich. It gives me nice guidlines to follow. The holes close up when I wash the quilt.

  7. #7
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I haven't haven't hand-quilted in years, but I learned just the other day on this board that I probably had the fabric pulled too tight in the hoop - I thought should be taut like you do for embroidery, but apparently, that's not the way to go. It has to be loose enough to allow the quilt to move.

    But, you don't have to use a hoop, if you like it better without.

    I was watching some online quilting show and - I think it might have been Alex Anderson - or maybe Jinny Beyer? Anyway, someone advised not to worry about stitch size to begin with. They said to concentrate on consistent stitches and on the hand movements, and that with practice, the tiny stitch sizes would develop. I thought that might be a useful bit of advice, so I kept it. Unfortunately, I didn't put the speaker's name into the same memory bank. ;)

    Hang in there - I'll bet with some practice, you're going to be much happier with how your stitches look. And don't be too critical, either. We're always so hard on ourselves. :)

  8. #8
    Senior Member nellebelles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furza Flyin
    This board told me that my hint is not cheating, but a very old quilter once told me it was. :roll: I put a jean/denim needle in my sewing machine, dont thread it and make sure the bobbin is out or empty. I then increase the stitch length to a comfortable distance and "sew" my quilting pattern onto the fabric sandwich. It gives me nice guidlines to follow. The holes close up when I wash the quilt.
    I will have to try that! One of the things that is the hardest for my painful arthritic fingers is pushing the needle through the layers. Thank you for the suggestion!

  9. #9
    Junior Member alderdweller's Avatar
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    Ok, I tried a smaller needle and it did make a world of difference. Still not what I want, but much better.
    One thing I saw somewhere (can't remember where) is that you should sew from up to down (toward yourself) but I'm finding that difficult to do. I want to sew from right to left. Does it really matter which direction you go?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alderdweller
    Ok, I tried a smaller needle and it did make a world of difference. Still not what I want, but much better.
    One thing I saw somewhere (can't remember where) is that you should sew from up to down (toward yourself) but I'm finding that difficult to do. I want to sew from right to left. Does it really matter which direction you go?
    It doesn't matter how you do it, so long as you're comfortable with it and you're catching all 3 layers.

    I hated my first attempts at hand quilting, too - it really looked bad. I made myself stick with it and my stitches improved. Yours will too.

    Janet

  11. #11
    Super Member roseOfsharon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furza Flyin
    This board told me that my hint is not cheating, but a very old quilter once told me it was. :roll: I put a jean/denim needle in my sewing machine, dont thread it and make sure the bobbin is out or empty. I then increase the stitch length to a comfortable distance and "sew" my quilting pattern onto the fabric sandwich. It gives me nice guidlines to follow. The holes close up when I wash the quilt.
    This is an interesting suggestion or tip! I might just give that a try my next small project!! Thanks :)

  12. #12
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    Don't give up! It will need time and practice until you find your personal way of quilting. We are all different and our methods and techniques of hand quilting are different as well - the important thing is that you feel comfortable and happy with it. You will find so many tips and hints here on the board and you can always ask questions - what else do you need more? Go your way!

  13. #13
    Junior Member J.M.'s Avatar
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    I made a small four block (and sashing) sampler that I handquilted for my first quilt. I can actually see my progress on the quilt, going from large, uneven stitches to smaller (not small, just smaller) and much more even stitches. So practice really does make perfect. Keep at it and it will come!

    Besides, only quilters and people who do some kind of handwork themselves might notice that your stitching is uneven and large. Others will just be in awe of what you accomplished!

  14. #14
    Super Member Pamela Artman's Avatar
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    Many years ago, I bought a preprinted panel that had outline stitches printed in white around the designs and I practiced hand quilting on those, making sure I stayed on the dashes and left the spaces free. That helped me stay straight and have even stitches, even though the dashes that were marked were fairly large for hand quilting. With practice, I've gotten my stitches smaller. For marking, try a Herra marker. It is a plastic flat curved thing that fits nicely in your hand with a sharp edge for marking. When you run this along a ruler, or in a stencil, or even a free hand design, it leaves a crease in the fabric that is easy to follow with your needle and thread and there's no mark to wash out and it's not messy like chalk. I love it! Also, I always quilted with a hoop until a few years ago. While sitting in my chair watching tv, the hoop got in the way of my view, so I took the hoop off. Wow... I found it so much easier to quilt without a hoop and I've not used one since. A good tip to remember is try to put your needle as straight up and down as you can when taking a stitch. When repeated, it kinda sets up a rocking motion and helps to keep your stitches smaller than when the needle goes in at an angle. Keep practicing. What seems difficult now will very shortly prove to be easy and it's so rewarding!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furza Flyin
    This board told me that my hint is not cheating, but a very old quilter once told me it was. :roll: I put a jean/denim needle in my sewing machine, dont thread it and make sure the bobbin is out or empty. I then increase the stitch length to a comfortable distance and "sew" my quilting pattern onto the fabric sandwich. It gives me nice guidlines to follow. The holes close up when I wash the quilt.
    Hey, that's a new one for me! I like your way of thinking...

  16. #16
    Junior Member alderdweller's Avatar
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    So I have decided I've bit off more than I can chew with this quilt. After trying it a few hours, I do like the way it looks better, but the quilt is HUGE and with the triangles I'm having to constantly turn it.
    I think I'm gonna go ahead and quilt it on the machine and try a smaller lap quilt (without triangles lol) for my hand quilting.
    I did want to try something with some kind of motif (I'm thinking floral) in the pattern so will have that in mind BEFORE I start the lap quilt.
    Anyway, I did it enough that I decided I really still want to do it, just not this particular quilt.

  17. #17
    Super Member mommafank's Avatar
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    If you really want to hand quilt---just hang in there. I am doing my first and believe me I have had lots of those moments. But here and there I see a glimmer of it getting better I am making the quilt for one of my daughters so I know she will love it even if every stitch is not the same exact length and even if they are not teeny tiny. I have decided that I want to be a hand quilter so I refuse to give up. I have found that everyone who says it will get better and that you will find your own technique is telling the absolute truth. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

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