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Thread: ???? for Hand Quilters

  1. #1
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    I'm a newbie who hand quilts. I'm quilting a 9 patch and am quilting around each patch. I'm still trying to get my stitches smaller and even but have a problem when I'm stitching over the seam allowance that has been pressed to one side. Have you ever used templates or stencils for your design? This would mean less stitching over the bulky edges?

  2. #2
    Super Member butterflies5518's Avatar
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    great question - I am a newbie hand basting my first quilt to be hand quilted, will be following all the responses - thanks for asking

  3. #3
    Senior Member tealady's Avatar
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    Yes, I have used a stencil marked on the fabric. I also have stitched over the seam allowances - I usually cheat to get teh needle through.

  4. #4
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    Yes, you can most definitely use templates or stencils for designs. I keep a book of designs for reference and have a standard set of stencils in the common sizes.

    Check your library for a book called Amish Quilt Designs (full size) by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham. This is a good basic reference to keep on your shelf. You can use a copy machine to make the designs larger or smaller.

    Start with a sz 7 between needle and practice until your stitches are even then move up to a sz 9 or sz 11. Knot your thread on the end you cut from the spool and never use a piece longer than 16 or 18 inches at a time. Use bees wax on your thread or use a coated quilting thread. Use a slightly thicker weight thread than you would in a sewing machine.

  5. #5
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    I have used lots of stencils-some plastic cut outs I purchased (use a chalk ponce or special pen/pencil), I also have made my own, copying a design on paper and sewing over the lines with a fat machine needle and no thread and using them with chalk pounce. I have also used a light box to copy designs on the quilt top before sandwiching. I also have just free-hand stippled. Besides SID and outlining, I guess I have done it all. It all works-just have to decide what method would be best for the design you want for a particular quilt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    To be honest, I really hate hand quilting over seam allowances, so I go out of my way to avoid them, either by designing quilts with lots of wide open spaces, or choosing designs that avoid the seams.

    If I do have to go over the seam allowance, I sometimes stab stitch, or use a backstitch. I also try not to go nuts making those stitches match the rest of my quilting. Close enough is good enough.

    Janet

  7. #7
    Super Member aorlflood's Avatar
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    When going over "intersections", if the fabric is too thick, I don't go all the way to the back with my needle. Sometimes I only go through the fabric and catch a little of the batting.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinterland
    To be honest, I really hate hand quilting over seam allowances, so I go out of my way to avoid them, either by designing quilts with lots of wide open spaces, or choosing designs that avoid the seams.

    If I do have to go over the seam allowance, I sometimes stab stitch, or use a backstitch. I also try not to go nuts making those stitches match the rest of my quilting. Close enough is good enough.

    Janet
    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: Good advice Janet - enjoy your quilting & don't let it stress you. Each stitch is a little bit of your love put into the quilt, so it is always a beautiful part of you.

    Also, practice, practice - once you get a method you're comfortable with, in no time you'll love your results. :lol:

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aorlflood
    When going over "intersections", if the fabric is too thick, I don't go all the way to the back with my needle. Sometimes I only go through the fabric and catch a little of the batting.
    I do that too. Sometimes it's just too thick.

    Janet

  10. #10
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aorlflood
    When going over "intersections", if the fabric is too thick, I don't go all the way to the back with my needle. Sometimes I only go through the fabric and catch a little of the batting.
    That is what I do as well.

  11. #11
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purrfectquilts
    Yes, you can most definitely use templates or stencils for designs. I keep a book of designs for reference and have a standard set of stencils in the common sizes.

    Check your library for a book called Amish Quilt Designs (full size) by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham. This is a good basic reference to keep on your shelf. You can use a copy machine to make the designs larger or smaller.

    Start with a sz 7 between needle and practice until your stitches are even then move up to a sz 9 or sz 11. Knot your thread on the end you cut from the spool and never use a piece longer than 16 or 18 inches at a time. Use bees wax on your thread or use a coated quilting thread. Use a slightly thicker weight thread than you would in a sewing machine.
    Thanks for your suggestions. I think I'm using a 9 or 10 (not sure) and it seems to be working fine when I'm not going over the bulky seams. I think I'll use a template when I get ready to quilt the borders.

  12. #12
    Senior Member CarrieC's Avatar
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    My only hint is I use a "warm up" piece. So at night, when I curl up to hand quilt for a bit, I start by stitching on a "warm up" piece. Once my fingers and hands get into a rhythm I switch over to my project.

    I make a "warm up" piece from leftover quilt squares etc. that will eventually become potholders, or mug rugs etc. Things that don't require the finest stitching I can produce!

    Good luck! Sounds like you're going great so far!!!

  13. #13
    Super Member butterflies5518's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieC
    My only hint is I use a "warm up" piece. So at night, when I curl up to hand quilt for a bit, I start by stitching on a "warm up" piece. Once my fingers and hands get into a rhythm I switch over to my project.

    I make a "warm up" piece from leftover quilt squares etc. that will eventually become potholders, or mug rugs etc. Things that don't require the finest stitching I can produce!

    Good luck! Sounds like you're going great so far!!!
    What a really handy tip - thanks for sharing

  14. #14
    Super Member sweetpea's Avatar
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    just keep at it. it will get better with time. Good luck and enjoy your time at the frame.

  15. #15
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    I use stencils all the time. They are wonderful. For the most part I've gotten away from SID quilting for this very reason. Also another reason I press my seams open. I try to find stencils that are complimentary to the quilt, either flowing or boxy - you get the idea. Now my latest quilt was a table topper, carpenter's star/wheel and the fabrics were very bold. I just wanted the quilt pattern to speak so I only did SID. Painful but what I wanted for that piece.

  16. #16
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter
    I use stencils all the time. They are wonderful. For the most part I've gotten away from SID quilting for this very reason. Also another reason I press my seams open. I try to find stencils that are complimentary to the quilt, either flowing or boxy - you get the idea. Now my latest quilt was a table topper, carpenter's star/wheel and the fabrics were very bold. I just wanted the quilt pattern to speak so I only did SID. Painful but what I wanted for that piece.
    All advice I've ever gotten is NEVER press seams open because it weakens the seam when hand pieced. Do you have any problems with that?

  17. #17
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    i will also try to avoid seams. Sometimes I will run the needle under the top layer to the other side of the seam and start stitching again.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddysmom
    All advice I've ever gotten is NEVER press seams open because it weakens the seam when hand pieced. Do you have any problems with that?
    I wouldn't press a hand pieced seam open, but that's me. I pressed machine pieced seams open on my latest project, which I hope to be hand quilting soon. I'm hoping it all works out okay.

    Janet

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddysmom
    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter
    I use stencils all the time. They are wonderful. For the most part I've gotten away from SID quilting for this very reason. Also another reason I press my seams open. I try to find stencils that are complimentary to the quilt, either flowing or boxy - you get the idea. Now my latest quilt was a table topper, carpenter's star/wheel and the fabrics were very bold. I just wanted the quilt pattern to speak so I only did SID. Painful but what I wanted for that piece.
    All advice I've ever gotten is NEVER press seams open because it weakens the seam when hand pieced. Do you have any problems with that?
    I typically machine piece my quilts. I've never had an issue with the seams being pressed open. Neither with weak seams or with batting coming through. Hand piecing may present other issues. I've only hand pieced one quilt - a tumbling block and did english paper piecing with it so the seams were done to the side on that one.

  20. #20
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddysmom
    I'm a newbie who hand quilts. I'm quilting a 9 patch and am quilting around each patch. I'm still trying to get my stitches smaller and even but have a problem when I'm stitching over the seam allowance that has been pressed to one side. Have you ever used templates or stencils for your design? This would mean less stitching over the bulky edges?
    I think this is why "echo quilting" was devised... to stay away from the bulky seams and just echo them, maybe 1/4" or 1/2" away.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Kristin in ME's Avatar
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    I press seams to the side, not open. When quilting over seam allowances, you can use the thumb of your top hand to press down on the fabric above the point of the needle as it's coming back up to the top- this helps control the length of the stitch. If the seam is just too bulky, stab stitching works- just push the needle straight down all the way through the fabric, then use your bottom hand to poke it back up where you want the next stitch to start. Over time, as you practice, practice, practice, it will become second nature. And yes, you sure can use stencils, etc. to make different quilting designs!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewbizgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by teddysmom
    I'm a newbie who hand quilts. I'm quilting a 9 patch and am quilting around each patch. I'm still trying to get my stitches smaller and even but have a problem when I'm stitching over the seam allowance that has been pressed to one side. Have you ever used templates or stencils for your design? This would mean less stitching over the bulky edges?
    I think this is why "echo quilting" was devised... to stay away from the bulky seams and just echo them, maybe 1/4" or 1/2" away.
    I agree. I like the 1/4" dimension for echo quilting and have done it often.

  23. #23
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    I am hand quilting a quilt that has star fabric in it. So I am quilting using a star stencil. I used a cookie cutter to make a stencil. Using a Bohn ceramic pencil to trace.

  24. #24
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    I also only press to the side...I have used stencils, or just drawn around the shape of a template I have made from think cardboard or quilting template...like a dove, angel, heart, etc. on a faith, hope, love quilt...I use a sliver of soap for dark fabric to mark it, purple pen for light fabric...Or, if I am feeling brave, I will eyeball it...when it comes to seams, I have used the stab and stitch to get thru all of the layers...good luck to you,
    Kif

  25. #25
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    As a hint to get your stitches smaller, don't do a running stitch.It is a stabbing stitch - straight down into the fabric and then up again so that you make a sort of rocking motion.It is also easier to stitch over the seams with this motion.Stencils keep the pattern even.

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