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Thread: Hand Quilting - Innie or Outtie ?

  1. #1
    Junior Member scrapbeagle's Avatar
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    Hand Quilting - Innie or Outtie ?

    I am learning to hand piece (lot's of fun and very relaxing) and now we are learning to hand quilt! I am finding it very difficult to use a hoop, a thimble and such a short needle. I have fat little fingers and the process of rocking the needle with the thimble seems to be very difficult. I tried quilting without the hoop and without a thimble and I did much better and my shoulders were not as tense. My question to all is do you prefer to quilt "in the hoop" or "out of the hoop". Pros and cons of each? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member GemState's Avatar
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    For me, quilting in the hoop is much easier. The secret is to have your quilt quite 'loose and saggy' in the hoop. It should move up and down 3 or 4 inches. Lots of people quilt without a hoop as well. It is whatever is easiest for you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    I prefer a quilt frame to a hoop. I like that it holds my 3 layers securely without basting, and the quilt is off my lap and away from the cat (particularly in summer!). I've never been able to quilt without a hoop or the frame, and since you have to baste really well to keep the layers from shifting, I'm not apt to try it anytime soon.

    I think some new quilters have trouble with the hoop because they keep the quilt sandwich tension too tight, like you would for embroidery. That's why hoopless quilting is so attractive to some.

    However, in the end it doesn't matter - no one will ever know how you hand quilted, just that you did. Good luck with your quilting!

    Janet

  4. #4
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    I quilt in my lap. I find that's easier for me and I just make sure I pin, pin, pin when I sandwich the quilt. As long as the top, batting and backing are smooth and tight, it works really well. I also couldn't get the rocking motion and a thimble just gets in my way. Try the lap method. I have a frame and I just use it to keep the quilt off the floor. Just attach the quilt on 3 sides and have the 4th side in your lap. It works!!!

  5. #5
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    I do both in and out of the hoop. Not sure I could get used to a frame having to sit in one spot for any extended period. I usually pin baste but if it's really big, like a king, I thread baste just to cut down on some of the weight. In either case I secure the layers about a hand-width apart in all directions. As others have said, if you're using a hoop, make sure your sandwich is quite loose - much, much easier to quilt that way. You can also use whatever needles work for you - they don't have to be 'betweens' although as you get more proficient, you'll probably find that you have more control with the shorter needle. Betweens are a bit stronger than the longer needles as well and don't bend as much. It will take some time, but just find a combination of elements that work for you - in/out of the hoop; type needle; with/without a thimble; type of thimble; all kinds of variations. If you can, only change one element each time you quilt so you learn with combination of elements work best for you.

  6. #6
    Junior Member homebody323's Avatar
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    I find the batting to be my worst enemy. If you are using a thick batting, try a small piece and use the thinnest cotton batting available. I love quilters dream batting. I use #10 between needles and a homemade rack. I agree with NJ Quilter. Just keep trying one thing at a time till you find your niche. If you don't like pin basting talk to a longarmer about basting for you. Makes a large project so much easier to handle and worth the fee for most people.
    Sally Dolin
    Rock Island, IL

  7. #7
    Senior Member cowpie2's Avatar
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    I use in the hoop, but as others have posted the key is to keep it really saggy in the hoop. I also only use the leather dot thimble on my pushing finger. I couldn't make it work with any of the solid thimbles, the leather dot sticks to your finger and is a small circle of leather.

  8. #8
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    Definitely without a hoop or frame. I use a leather thimble on my middle finger and a finger cot on my thumb and go to town. The trick to doing it this way is to pin, pin, pin or in other words baste it heavily. I'm lefthanded and I tried the frame and a hoop and hated them. Each to his own but that is my preference :^)
    Blessed are they that can laugh at themselves, For they shall never cease to be amused.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    I don't do much hand quilting but do like to do it. I kind of use the Thimble Lady's method. She uses a lap hoop and keeps the fabric very loose. She uses a side thimble and a very long thin needle. I love her thimble and needles (you can order from her). You can find her website and she has videos of her method. I prefer not to use a hoop but probably didn't give it enough time to get used to it.

    Diannia
    I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!

  10. #10
    Super Member babyfireo4's Avatar
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    I prefer to quilt out of the hoop. I have quilted in the hoop but it was just to akward. I don't pin or thread baste anymore. I spray baste!!! I love it. I use June Tailors spray baste and it holds amazing well without shifting. I haven't tried it on a huge quilt yet, only up to about a twin. Next big quilt I do myself is getting it though Good luck, best thing you can do is find what works best for you because everyone has a different preference.
    Happy Quilting,
    Mal
    http://babyfire04.blogspot.com/
    If it makes you happy, it's worth the time!

  11. #11
    Super Member Val in IN's Avatar
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    I don't use a hoop or frame for handquilting. I just couldn't get comfortable with either one of them. I do a pretty fair job without using them, 10 to 12 stitches per inch. Remember that there are no quilt police and you should do what is the most comfortable for YOU. Happy Stitching!!
    "I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane!"
    Valarie

  12. #12
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    I learned to quilt in a floor frame, and now use a 14" square pvc pipe lap frame. I like the lightness of the pvc, but the small size means it has to be repositioned often. I also learned to baste the heck out of even small quilts, so after reading this post I am going to try without a frame!

  13. #13
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    i use a 24 x 26 wooden frame - perfect for my office. I do use a leather coin needle and size 10 quilting betweens. I had to work my way down to the smaller needle. As others have said - do whatever you need to have fun! And relax!
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  14. #14
    Super Member faykilgore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homebody323 View Post
    I find the batting to be my worst enemy. If you are using a thick batting, try a small piece and use the thinnest cotton batting available. I love quilters dream batting. I use #10 between needles and a homemade rack. I agree with NJ Quilter. Just keep trying one thing at a time till you find your niche. If you don't like pin basting talk to a longarmer about basting for you. Makes a large project so much easier to handle and worth the fee for most people.
    What a clever idea! I never thought about basting with a long arm but that is an awesome idea. Thread basting is very time consuming, but since hand quilting is so time consuming, I'd rather not leave pins in a project for such an extended period of time. Thanks! I LOVE this board!
    Fay

    "You can't help that. We're all mad here." - The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

  15. #15
    Junior Member Kazahleenah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GemState View Post
    For me, quilting in the hoop is much easier. The secret is to have your quilt quite 'loose and saggy' in the hoop. It should move up and down 3 or 4 inches. Lots of people quilt without a hoop as well. It is whatever is easiest for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hinterland View Post
    I think some new quilters have trouble with the hoop because they keep the quilt sandwich tension too tight, like you would for embroidery. That's why hoopless quilting is so attractive to some.

    Well, That explains a LOT!!!! Thanks!!!
    ~~Fabric Resource Center...now does that sound more impressive than "Fabric Junkie" ?~~

  16. #16
    Senior Member NDQuilts's Avatar
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    I prefer in a hoop of better yet, my no-baste frame. There are really no wrong answers as long as you are happy with the process amd prodict. I once read that some people take to quilting like a duck to water while others take persistant practise to "get it". Hang in there.

  17. #17
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    when i first leasrned to quilt in 1980 my teacher sewed everything by hand she didnt know how to use a machine and when she hand quilted she rolled as she went along i later learned to us a hoop now love a hoop just have to get used to it
    QUILTNMO

  18. #18
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    When I hand quilt I use a hoop, with saggy quilt as others have recommended. At first I had a hard time trying to quilt and hold the hoop at the same time. Then I got a Hinterberg lap hoop, which has a base so you don't have to hold the hoop, and I love it. I could concentrate on just learning to quilt, and everything was so much easier. Welcome to the wonderful world of quilting!
    The reason you need the quilt sandwich to be loose is so you can manipulate both the quilt sandwich and the needle at the same time. You are not only rocking the needle and directing it through the quilt, but you are also flexing the quilt at the same time to help the needle along. It's much easier to flex the quilt than to try to flex the needle! Once I realized that, hand quilting was so much easier! I had a hard time at first because all the work was being done by my dominant hand, holding the needle, and the other hand underneath was doing practically nothing. Once I got that hand working just as hard as the top hand, my stitches were so nice!
    Last edited by JustAbitCrazy; 03-09-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  19. #19
    Junior Member scrapbeagle's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for all the helpful advice. I tried in the hoop again with the quilt very loose like some of you suggested and it did make it easier. I am going to try different methods to find what I am most comfortable with. All of your suggestions are very much appreciated.

  20. #20
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    I pin well and then lap quilt, A hoop is uncomfortable to me and with lap quilting I can sit in the den with hubby

  21. #21
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    i prefer to lap quilt with no hoop or frame, but just realize that we must baste fairly closely for this to work well.... and if you turn the backing over the edge while basting, it will be much more comfortable as the batting will not wear away or scratch you while working. (If i don't have enough, I just tear strips of muslin and fold over the edges, baste till i reach the edges and then remove.....

    Please check with your local longarmers, most will baste in 6" squares for handquilters for a nominal fee...i charge 35 dollars, that is for mounting, basting and removing.... lots of handquilters prefer this to the hours of basting or pinning necessary... it is strong, easy to remove and quick....AND you can handle it for months while handquilting and it will hold up well....

  22. #22
    Senior Member anita211's Avatar
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    I rarely use a hoop, even on a large quilt.I have been known to use the Q Snap frame but usually just to decide where to quilt and as a place to lay it, not to stretch it around the PVC pipes. I always use a thimble because your finger is going to get sore without it, and I always use the under button type thimble on the under finger to avoid really sore fingers. There is nothing worse than getting sore fingers--then you can't quilt until they are better. I am not traditional with the itty bitty quilting betweens. I use a #7 or #8 between which is a bigger needle, and almost gives you the size stitches you want. I have also used straw needles, but they bend a bit if really loaded with stitches. So use what you are comfortable with. I can think of nobody that is going to ask what size needle you used.

  23. #23
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    I use a hoop, and since there are no rules in quilting, I use a longer needle. It works for me.

  24. #24
    Junior Member countryone77's Avatar
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    Suzanne Marshall hand quilted many award winning quilts without a frame:

    http://www.suzannequilts.com/suzanne...t/Welcome.html

    Use whatever works best for you and then you can accomplish much :-).
    Bev in TX

  25. #25
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    When I hand quilt a small item I use a hoop with a 'stand' and this helps relief the neck tension and it's important to keep it saggy in the hoop.

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