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Thread: Hand quilting on a floor frame help???

  1. #1
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Delmarva Peninsula
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    Hand quilting on a floor frame help???

    I have just spent lots of time setting up my hand pieced farmer's wife sampler quilt on a floor frame, I did a great job, and it looked wonderful, nice and straight. I transferred a group of different designs onto one row of blocks, and then discovered that I can only do a good job hand quilting in only 2 directions!!! I am so frustrated - I have tried and tried, just am not happy with my results.

    I used the floor frame years ago on a whole cloth quilt, the design was linear (another UFO and I think I know why now). Help, need encouragement, or just permission to go back to my dining table and small hoop.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I shared your frustration when I first had my frame. I set it up, put a quilt in it, did my first row of quilting and said, "now what? I can't turn the frame!" In the end, the only way I could use the frame was by teaching myself to quilt away from myself. I saw an episode of "Hawaiian Quilting" where the hostess used a tailors thimble on her thumb, and that was the perfect solution.

    Tailor thimbles can be hard to find. I bought mine at the Vermont Quilt Festival, and I've seen them online at Pacific Rim Quilting. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get the knack it becomes second nature.

    "That Perfect Stitch" by Roxanne McElroy shows how to quilt with your thumb. I'm sure you can find numerous hand quilting videos about it now. There is also a blog "Celebrate Hand Quilting" and a Facebook page where lots of hand quilters discuss the ins and outs of hand quilting. There are a bunch of frame quilters, along with hoopers and non-hoopers.


  3. #3
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I have the floor Q snap frame and I quilt from right to left as much as possible and then change my position as needed. I leave the thread end hanging to pick up later as I sit on the sides of the frame next. I can quilt quite well going away from myself using my thumb (with a thimble)on the eye end on the needle and my Peter pointer finger smoothing the fabric towards the needle tip. It is just the reverse finger position of my regular quilting stitching.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    I bought a beautiful Grace Z44 floor frame 10+ years ago. Found, as you did, that even with Roxanne's thimble for my thumb I couldn't quilt away from myself and didn't have the patience to continue trying. So, I stored my frame. After giving it a lot of thought and after some extreme challenges with a quilting project in my hoop, I decided to give it another try. So, I bought a T. J. Lane thimble for my thumb -- it's much lighter than Roxanne's-- and a couple weeks ago hubby put the frame up again for me. It's amazing, I can do it. It isn't close to perfect yet, but the feel is there and I know with practice I can do it. One of the things I found is that while I use Aunt Becky's finger underneath my quilt when using a hoop, I can't use Aunt Becky's on the frame -- my finger works best. My advice to you is to make sure you have a good thimble for your thumb -- one that will hold the needle for you and one you can keep it on your thumb while you pull the needle through. Diedre McElroy of That Perfect Stitch has a DVD out that shows you how to quilt with your thumb. It's worth the investment. Keep trying. It really is awkward at first. However, if you decide you just can't do it or don't want to do it then by all finish it in a hoop. Do whatever you are comfortable with. Quilting should be fun not work.

  5. #5
    Junior Member cad_queen_2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    soutwestern ontario
    I would baste the whole quilt while it is in the floor frame, then finish quilting it in a hoop.

  6. #6
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Rapid City, SD
    I would never have thought about that issue. The things we have to think about! Hope you find a solution to your problem.

  7. #7
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Piedmont Virginia in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mtns.
    I can't quilt away from myself!! For left to right quilting I sit at the floor frame as if the front bar of the frame was under my right arm, and my right side is tucked up against that bar. Then I can quilt toward myself. Otherwise I quilt upper right to lower left, and top to bottom.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

  8. #8
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    dayton OH
    On the larger floor frame that we use when at church, we quilt an area, then roll the quilt on the bar to move the quilt. The floor frame that I have now, similar to the pvc q-snap from jo-ann's, i quilt an area, take the top off, and reposition the quilt. Basting the quilt is key before starting.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  9. #9
    Super Member Iamquilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Central Minnesota
    Blog Entries
    I guess I am fortunate in that I can hand quilt in any direction, but the best way for me is to quilt away from myself using my thumb without any thimble. Keep at it and you will master it. Good luck

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