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Thread: Hand Quilter

  1. #1
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    I am a hand quilter and was just wondering if there are other hand quilters out there and if so do you have a problem with needles. I use between quilting size 10, and go through at least two an hour. I don't know if it is the needles or that I am just to hard on the needle. Am I using the wrong needle or what?

  2. #2
    Senior Member ellenmg's Avatar
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    Sue, how do you mean "go through"? Do they break or seem to get dull? I use mine for a very long time, more than one quilt, with no problems. In fact, I was just working on a quilt, and thinking I need to yank out a new needle....What kind of fabric are you using? I know some fabric is too tightly woven to make it quiltable especially by hand.
    Ellen

  3. #3
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    How many stitches are you putting on the needle each time ? Too many will make your needle bend.

  4. #4
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Hi Sue,

    There are many of us hand quilters here. I am also unsure what you mean by go through needles. If you are bending and breaking needles that quickly that makes me think one of two things... you have the quilt in the hoop way too tauntly, this is of course assuming you use a hoop, or you aren't buying a very good quality needle.

    I use a lap hoop and I load fairly loosely. When I lay my quilt over the inner hoop I make sure my fabric is fairly loose. Then I put on my outer hoop and before tightening it I run my fist around the entire perimeter of the hoop to give me a bit more slack. Then I tighten. If I lay my hoop down on the table I can easily touch the tables hard surface when laying my flat hand down in the middle.
    For needles, I use a Roxanne number 11. It is as short as a #12 between but as thick as a #10 between needle. I usually load up about 7 to 8 stitches per needle full.
    One brand of needles that bends and breaks on me easily is Richard Hemming & son. I won't buy those. And I definitely will not use clover brand, ugh. They bend easily and don't needle well at all, like they are dull not at all sharp. Usually I hand quilt with Hobbs 80/20 bat or quilters dream polyester. I have no trouble with batiks, even though they are tightly woven.

  5. #5
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    Should have made myself clearer! The needles bend pretty bad and to me rather easy. I use a Q snap quilt frame (floor model)and Dritz betweens.

  6. #6
    Dix
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    Iam a hand quilter and have never had a problem with needles. The lady who taught our class 11 years ago used Roxanne 10 or 11. That is what I have always used. Have never broken one!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    You can also have a bad batch of needles, where they all bend or break easily.

    It sounds like you might be keeping the quilt too tight in your frame.

  8. #8
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    I am a hand quilter also and I have tried several brands of quilting needles/betweens. Some become dull very quickly, others you can use for weeks or even months! Unfortunately I don't know the Dritz needles, obviously they are not available here in Germany.
    What you describe sounds to me like a problem of the way you have the quilt in your frame and how taught it is. Feline already mentioned that. Try to put your quilt in the frame more loosely, that might help. I quilt in a hoop on a stand and I put the quilt in exactly like feline described it.
    Another reason could be the quilting method you use, how you guide your needle and how much pressure you put on it. Roxanne needles and also the John James brand are quite strong and they don't bend so quickly like others.
    What kind of batting do you use? Some battings needles very easily, for others you need much more strength to needle them.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It could be your batting that is at fault. What brand of batting are you using?

  10. #10
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    Thank you all for your information. I usually pull the fabric really taut to quilt so that may very well be the problem. I always thought that was how you did it. I usually use Mountain Mist batting. I am going to invest in some better needles and see if that works better for me

  11. #11
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    I used to have this same problem when I first started hand quilting.. I would either bend them or break them.. I learned that I had the fabric in the hoop too tight.. that will break even the best needle.

    Since then I have learned to quilt hoopless. I enjoy the process much more, can get smaller stitches and NEVER break a needle any more.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ellenmg's Avatar
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    ....So, JC, do you pin or baste before quilting? I really love hoopless quilting but need to do more basting....and get new safety pins....

  13. #13
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    Has anyone mentioned that you can run the needle through you hair every once in awhile to remove the static. We used to do this with diaper pins all the time. My fifth child was over a year before Pampers so I had and washed seven dozen diapers every other day. Sometimes resorted to receiving blankets for the overniters.

    Anyway ...running a pin or needle through your hair will make it slide through the material better.

  14. #14
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I would try some different needles, as you mentioned. I really like John James and Piecemakers. I get lots and lots of use with them.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i use Roxanne or john james needles, i use straws or millners because i like them longer, never could really use those teeny-tiny short needles. but have not had too much trouble with bending/breaking. and as far as your sandwich in the frame...it needs to be smooth, no wrinkles...but not tight. that sounds as if it is your problem

  16. #16
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    The only time I find myself bending needles is if I load to many and am doing a curved pattern.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ellenmg
    ....So, JC, do you pin or baste before quilting? I really love hoopless quilting but need to do more basting....and get new safety pins....
    I pin baste if I am going to quilt on my sewing machine, but for hand quilting I thread baste using a big herringbone with the stitches about 2 inches apart.

  18. #18

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    I have a couple things in common with you. I am a hand quilter, use a qsnap frame and Dritz needles. I bend needles, and throw them out before they break. I am going to switch to better needles ( didnt know there was such a thing) and follow the other advice of everyone. Thanks for the question, i love the answers!!
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