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Hand quilting: A question

Hand quilting: A question

Old 05-27-2008, 06:34 AM
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I am trying to hand quilt for the first time. I am using a hoop and am working on a "practice piece" before I do my wall hanging. I am happy enough with the stitches on top (at least as a novice...) however, the stitches on the back don't look very even. Sometimes I even miss a stitch on the back.

I seem to be having trouble getting through all the layers. I have the quilt quite loose in the hoop. I find the first back stitch especially difficult to do. Any tips??

THANKS
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:43 AM
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do you have your non quilting hand under the quilt so you can feel the needle come through? How thick is your batting and what are you using for backing?
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:09 AM
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I had that problem at first. Make sure your first stitch is straight up and down, then tilt up for second stitch. going down again, make sure you come thru before tilting up again. I use a stick on pad on my finger underneath, so I can feel if I am coming thru without pricking my finger. only do two or three stitches till you get comfortable with it. I love to hand quilt, and my hand quilting is NOT perfect. But the ones who receive them see no fault in them. We are hard on ourselves, others are just happy with the outcome. So relax, and enjoy the process. And smile when you feel you are messing up, it will lift your mood enough to get past the little slips. They add character to our hand work. :lol:
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:17 AM
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What kind of needle are you using? A lot of people use too big of a needle..

I prefer "in-betweens"... they are thin, small, easy (HA) to thread and easy to work in and out for 3-4 stitches at a time...

I think I use '10s'.... I'm too lazy to go look...
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:55 AM
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The fabric and batting you choose for the piece makes all the difference. Without knowing I choose batiks for my first hand quilt and it has been a challenge the whole time. Batiks have a tighter weave so they are harder to needle through. So, for example if you choose a lighter cotton and a wool batt instead of batiks with a cotton batt you'll have an easier time making nice even stitches. If you can get a copy of Roxanne McElroy's book That Perfect Stitch from the library (it's out of print) it talks all about using the right materials. Good Luck!

P.S. In the end you're just going to have to let go and enjoy yourself and realize it's not going to be perfect anyway - that's the beauty of hand made! :lol:
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:14 AM
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First of all thanks for all the advice! To answer some of the questions...

I am using an 80/20 batting (cotton/poly). Perhaps it is too thick??

I have no idea what kind of needle I am using. It is a longer one so I will try a shorter one and see if that helps.

I do go "straight down" for the first stitch but seem to have a really hard time tilting the needle up to get it to poke through all the layers to the top - maybe this is the batting being too thick??

I do poke through the bottom and feel the tip of the needle on the underside but have a really hard time moving the top needle to get the needle back up through the fabric.

Any insights and helpful hints are greatly appreciated!! THANKS!!
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Dutchgirl
First of all thanks for all the advice! To answer some of the questions...

I am using an 80/20 batting (cotton/poly). Perhaps it is too thick??

I have no idea what kind of needle I am using. It is a longer one so I will try a shorter one and see if that helps.

I do go "straight down" for the first stitch but seem to have a really hard time tilting the needle up to get it to poke through all the layers to the top - maybe this is the batting being too thick??

I do poke through the bottom and feel the tip of the needle on the underside but have a really hard time moving the top needle to get the needle back up through the fabric.

Any insights and helpful hints are greatly appreciated!! THANKS!!
You can actually get hand quilting needles. I like to use a size 10 myself. They are a very small, perhaps a 1 inch length needle. The smaller the needle the better your stitches.

As for you "going straight down for the first sitch but seem to have a hard time tilting the needle up..." are you using a thimble?? this really helps to get your needle up. Also use the non quilting hand and place it under your quilt and hoop. Use one of your fingers (either your index or middle) to help push the needle back up. When the needle goes straight down, once you feel the tip of the needle on your finger under your quilt help to push it with that finger and your thimble finger to the top. I hope that makes sense :)
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:23 AM
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I hand quilt almost all of my quilts, and I use the 80/20 batt and #10 between needle. I don't think your batt is too thick. Good advice from everyone else. After a bit more practice the 1st stitch will come easer to you. It always seems to be the most difficult. Good luck and enjoy.

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Old 05-27-2008, 01:32 PM
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I haven't read all the responses, but your quilt does need to be taut like a drum in the hoop!

Just keep practicing and work on the rocking motion more than worrying about individual stitches, and it will get better!
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:56 PM
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I have a little metal disk that sticks on my middle finger on my left hand. Keeps me from turning my finger to hamburger, and it's kind of a dome shape, so it helps to get the needle up through the fabric again. I think it's called an Underthimble.
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