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Thread: Hand quilting stich size

  1. #1
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    Hand quilting stich size

    I am hand quilting my second quilt ever and am completely in awe when I see how tiny the stitches of someone who knows what they are doing actually are! My stitches are HUGE and I have no idea how anyone makes them as tiny as they do. Any suggestions on making smaller stitches? I turn the needle up as soon as it goes through the sandwich and still get big ol stitches and even more so where a seam is! I am loving quilting and doing it by hand regardless of the size just hope to learn how to tiny them up

  2. #2
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    what size and kind of needle are you using....and the thread

  3. #3
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    Im using Roxanne #11 hand quilting needles and coats and clark hand quilting thread. Batting is warm and white on this one but stitches were big with poly batting too... I probably should have practices with straight stitches first but Im using a continuous heart pattern. Which products do you prefer?

  4. #4
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    The batting makes a difference too. I find W&N the worst for handquilting, very difficult to needle. I prefer poly or a cotton poly blend and my next HQ project will be wool, I understand that is a dream to HQ.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with big stitches as long as they are all even. I love the look of big stitch handquilting, especially when done with a heavier weight thread.

  5. #5
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Are you using a lap hoop a frame or nothing? If using a lap hoop don't have it too tight in the hoop. should be loose.

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    Good to know I choose a difficult batting I never considered wool but will give it a try next time around. Of course this one is driving me crazy because it is a black and white quilt, black backing and white thread so every stitch is screaming "look at me!!" lol

  7. #7
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    When I hand quilt, I load a number 10 quilting needle with as many stitches as I can before pulling it through with a rubber needle grabber. I only use the "stab"stitch over seams. Believe it or not, after the first stitch is loaded on the needle the next stitches are easier to put on. I use my index finger with a thimble to rock the needle towards the thumb on the same hand. The hand underneath is used to just feel the needle (tiny pick) coming through the sandwich. When you just feel the pick, that is when it is time to rock the needle back up to the top of the sandwich for the next stitch.

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    I tried to use a lap hoop and had terrible luck so I dont use anything. Of course I found out afterwords that I had the fabric too tight and thats why I couldnt get it right and now Im used to nothing. I was lucky enough to just inherit an amazing quilting rack from my husbands 97 year old grandmother. This rack hangs from the ceiling and my husband has so many memories of his dear grandmother always having a quilt she was working on hanging from the ceiling. I hope to get it up and learn to use it soon!

  9. #9
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Another factor, in the size of stitches, is HOW you make them. It's easier to make small stitches, if you insert the needle straight down into the quilt, all the way through the layers. Then come straight up, from the back/bottom. This is a bit more tedious but will result in smaller, more controlled stitches. If you've ever done counted cross stitch, the technique is much the same.

    That said, there's nothing wrong with larger stitches!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Ditto to what everyone else suggested. Also, it's easier to make smaller stitches if you go on the bias instead of on grain - there's more flex in the top that way.

    I get my smallest stitches with polyester batting. I'm using wool right now, and I like that it has more "puff" than thin polyester, but I don't think it's that much easier to quilt.

    Using a quilt frame is a whole different experience because you can't turn the quilt around like you can with a hoop. I use a frame, but I taught myself to quilt in different directions in order to use it.

    Janet

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    The size of the stitch isn't so important for a beginner. I alays preach consistency for learners; with practice, practice, practice the stitches will get smaller.......keep at it. You will never be sorry to have hand quilted an item.

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    I handquilt with W&N also. One of these years I'll try something else but that will be a while as I bought an entire roll of it! I also use Roxanne #11 needles. Most times I use a hoop but will sometimes use nothing as well. Loading as many stitches as possible onto your needle definitely helps in getting smaller stitches. The hardest part there is getting your first stitch as small as your first! At this point, concentrate on keeping your stitches even and they will get smaller over time. I use a Thimblelady thimble on my middle finger and keep a rubber tip on my index finger to help pull the needle through. With Thimblelady thimbles you push with the pad of your finger, not the tip. They also have quite deep dimples which help hold the needle steady.

  13. #13
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    1) It's easier to get small stitches with a very thin batting

    2) It's easier to get small stitches with a tiny needles (11 or 12 - which are very hard for me to thread!)

    3) It's easier to get small stitches when the sandwich has some "flex".
    I also thought that the sandwich was supposed to be stretched tight when in a hoop. DUH! Worked so much better when I gave it some give.

    4) Evenness and consistency of stitches is rated higher than smallness of stitches (I think)

    I can do fairly even - but I just don't seem to be able to do pin-prick size stitches. And I've decided not to worry about it!

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    Thanks so much ladies. I too am new at hand quilting. This is all great info. Thanks for being so helpful even if I did not ask the question. Teresa

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    What is your favorite thread for hand quilting?

  16. #16
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    And I agree with Teresa! Thank you so much for the wonderful information. I am so glad I found this site and wish I would have when I started out. Im sure I have learned many a bad habit trying to teach myself

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    Agree with everything said. Also use your thumb to get the stitch onto the needle when it comes back up. Helps to make smaller stitches. You'll learn. Even when I start for the day my stitches will be harder to get small until I get in a rythmn. And you'll love it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jodi3284 View Post
    What is your favorite thread for hand quilting?
    I like YLI hand quilting thread.

    Janet

  19. #19
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    I am also a new quilter and I love hand quilting. Except my hands don't. Have you tried quilting without a hoop? I found it much easier to get a consistent small stitch. Review my photos if you like, not bragging, just as a refernce from a fellow New Quilter.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDcLMiR2SAo
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  20. #20
    Super Member craftiladi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinterland View Post
    I like YLI hand quilting thread.

    Janet
    Yes thanks so much for asking the question and AZ Jane for the u-tude video...I learn so much from all of you.Its been a long time since I have done any hand stitching and its great to read all the great tips.
    dee
    Dee Lowe
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  21. #21
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    I have learned one very important thing during the years since I have started hand quilting: there is no "wrong" or "right". What works best for you can be bad for me. Every hand quilter seems to have her/his own favourites in battings, needles, threads, fabrics, gadgets and notions etc. and the best thing to find out what works for you is to try it! Well, it will probably takes some time to work it out but you will find your own way.
    My personal favourits are #11 John James Betweens, a low loft batting without a scrim (Hobbs 80/20, Legacy 80/20, Wool), YLI Hand Quilting Thread and light weight fabrics like P&B Color Spectrum. I only load one single stitch on my needle, I quilt in a hoop on a floor stand and I don't use a thimble at all. But this is just my personal way of hand quilting....

  22. #22
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Can relate! I'm just starting a B&W but using black thread on big white blocks. I use a #10 Roxanne and just my GUtermann's thread. I use Dream Orient Batting - silk, bamboo, cotton & ?Tercel? It's wonderful to quilt through.! No hope or frame either. My stitches are not really small, but they are becoming more even and I'm happy with that. We could call it "Sashiko"!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodi3284 View Post
    Good to know I choose a difficult batting I never considered wool but will give it a try next time around. Of course this one is driving me crazy because it is a black and white quilt, black backing and white thread so every stitch is screaming "look at me!!" lol
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  23. #23
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    Heres a pic... no perfection here but there can be no doubt it was hand stitched lol
    Name:  Stitches.jpg
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jodi3284 View Post
    Heres a pic... no perfection here but there can be no doubt it was hand stitched lol
    I don't think you have anything to worry about - it looks great!

    Janet

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    Thank you!

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