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Thread: Hand quilting

  1. #1
    Senior Member ranbro's Avatar
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    I am very new to quilting (less than 6 months). I would like to start learning how to hand quilt. Are there any "rules" that govern what color thread (s) that can be use on a multi colored quilt. Can I use just one color or should I try to match the individual colors in the quilt? Will the various colors that might be used to match the top affect how the backing of the quilt will look? Many thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    With Hand Quilting, it is your preference what color you use. I usually use a white or ecru thread on everything. It depends on what you want it to look like. Mostly we want to see the effect of the quilting, but not the actual stitches, so we use a thread that blends in. I personally do not like to use black on black because these old eyes cannot see where I have been when the quilt is in the frame. It is the most difficult to work with. If you want to change colors when you are quilting the top to match the color of the fabric on top, use a multicolored fabric on the back to make it less noticeable there. But if you want to see it, use a solid fabrciback. It is your quilt, you can do anything you want. If you are entering it in a contest, check their rules!

  3. #3
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I also use one color of thread throughout. My favorite thread is YLI -- it's wonderful!! No tangles with this thread either!

    If you need a specific color (like purple), I'd use Dual Duty thread. If the thread you're using tangles, you can get one of those inexpensive "bee wax" circles and run your thread over it before use.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I only hand quilt, and it is great! I love the look of all cotton hand quilting thread. But, I don't think there are any "rules" anymore. the color of thread you use is up to you. Do you want your stitches to stand out? if so then use a contrasting color. Do you want them to blend into the background? if so, then use close to the same color as the block. It is all up to you1 Just have fun and enjoy it!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    Do what looks good to you. On the one I'm doing right now, I am using blue in the blue and the white parts and red in the red parts.

  6. #6
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I have been handquilting for 40 years. Everyone's advice so far has been great. I have used everykind of thread at one time or another. I learned the hard way not to cut more than a arm's length of thread at a time. When you handquilt you literally drag that length of thread through the fabric everytime you take a stitch. If you cut it longer it not only tangles easily but it gets frayed and may even break. One trick is to always thread the needle with the end of the thread that is coming off of the spool. It has something to do with how the thread is spun. I usually use the same color thread all over the quilt. Sometimes I get creative and use different colors on different colored areas on the top. This only works well on the back if it is an overall print that hides the different thread colors. Recently we used a multicolored thread meant for machine quilting on a quilt we were handquilting at the senior center. It was a stack and wack star block made with bright batiks and sashed in black. The quilting we did in the black areas really looked fantastic.
    Good luck and happy quilting.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ranbro's Avatar
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    you guys are great-many thanks for your help.

  8. #8
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I mostly go with white because a lot of my quilts are rich darker colors. But you should go with whatever you like. I have seen many different colors on quilts in shows and they look great. Maybe do a little practice piece to see what appeals to you the most.

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Be creative, have fun, try different colors on scraps of your fabric to see how it looks. You are the designer so the rules are yours to make :D:D:D

  10. #10
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    I have been hand quilting for 18 years and I've done it every which way when choosing thread colors. It really depends on the look I want and what the quilt will be used for.

    You don't want to cut your thread any longer than 18-inches, and for the exact reason that was listed above. Too much longer and it frays, tangles, and all that not-so-fun stuff. I always use either wax or the thread conditioner in the little blue box called "Thread Heaven." These keep my thread from tangling and it works wonderfully!

    If you buy thread marked 'Hand Quilting Thread,' it is already waxed, which is why it is such a no-no to use in your sewing machine. It gums the machine up something fierce. :( Also, hand quilting thread is wound differently than machine quilting thread or thread made for sewing machines. It isn't such a big deal to use the sewing machine thread to hand quilt, though it really helps to condition the thread with bees wax or the Thread Heaven, but you never want to use hand quilting thread on your machine. Hope this helps some.

  11. #11
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    You can use any color thread you like. I am working on a project now and am using variegated thread that goes from deep yellow to white in subtle graduations. The quilt is predominently black.
    I prefer to hand quilt with a heavier thread (35 weight). With thread the lower number signifies a thicker thread so 50 weight is finer than 35 weight. I actually break the rule and on average I use a length of thread that is longer than my arm. When I spin it off the spool I go the entire length of my arm and across my torso so I am probably using a length about 30". I use beeswax (DH keeps bees so I have a good supply of capping wax which is the best quality and smells so good!) A little wax goes a long way. I also make sure I move the thread regularly so it doesn't fray and break at the eye of the needle. I never have problems with knotting or tangling. I attribute that to the wax and using a heavier thread. If I forget to regularly slide the needle down the length (I do it every other needle full) I have had my thread fray and break right where it was in the eye.

  12. #12
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loretta
    The trick about threading from the end that comes off the spool is very important! (Don't ask me how I know this! LOL!)
    This is because of the way the thread is wound. If you thread it from the other end, you'll find your thread will tangle and twist something horrible. Every once in awhile I do this and I always know almost right away what the problem is. Not always, but most of the time. There's always that one time when I scratch my head, growl at my thread, and wonder what the heck is wrong. Obviously it is operator error. :oops:

  13. #13
    Senior Member rismstress's Avatar
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    I hand quilt- I always use hand quilting thread. I've used all white, all ecru, and on a broken star with black backgrounds, used a varigated thread to do the quilting. It looked fabulous. I wax the thread also or I end up with frayed thread. It slides easier through the fabric.
    I don't believe there are any "rules" with the colors you use, just like there are no "rules" for designing your quilt.
    Have fun.

  14. #14
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I hand quilt and I use what ever color thread that looks good on the quilt. I even use several different colors on each quilt if that is what it takes to make the quilt look that way I want it to. I am the designer so I make the rules.

  15. #15
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I saw on tv just the other day that when you hand quilt, your needles should be the same length as the distance between the end of your forefinger and the first joint. My length is 1 1/4" -- now I know why I like longer needles.... :D

  16. #16
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewjoyce
    I saw on tv just the other day that when you hand quilt, your needles should be the same length as the distance between the end of your forefinger and the first joint. My length is 1 1/4" -- now I know why I like longer needles.... :D


    I guess that's why I love a 12 :shock: My aunt said she didn't know they made needles that small :lol: :lol:

  17. #17
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    I usually use ecru dual duty quilting thread by coats and clark. Occasionally, I will use a color. For example on this quilt I am using a dark pink. I didn't want the ecru to stand out so much on the black and the Pink is really dark so won't be a noticeable. But I usually go for an ecru.

    2009 Quilt Kona Bay Lavish Floral Pink - peonies 001
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  18. #18
    dsj
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    If you don't like the contrast of the white and ecru on some of your darker fabrics, believe it or not gray/grey works great and blends beautifully even on the back. I was shocked myself.

  19. #19
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    I use one color.

  20. #20
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsj
    If you don't like the contrast of the white and ecru on some of your darker fabrics, believe it or not gray/grey works great and blends beautifully even on the back. I was shocked myself.
    Grey thread is amazing because of how well it disappears against other colors. I use either ecru or grey thread when piecing for exactly this reason. I would have never believed it when I first was told this but it has proven true and I am a firm believer in using grey when I don't want the thread to show up.

  21. #21
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    I have been hand quilting for about 30 years. When my thread begins to tangle, I don't use bees wax. I think it makes the thread gummy and can pull batting fibers through to the surface. Instead, I cut a tiny square of fabric softener sheet (like Bounce) and slide it along the thread one or two times. You probably already have some in the house. You can use that little square over and over again. Makes the thread really slick. But don't get it on the needle! It will be too slick to hold on to. :thumbup:

  22. #22
    Senior Member rismstress's Avatar
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    I am going to try that. Thanks for the tip.
    Cheryl

  23. #23

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    Never knew that idea, thanks for the Bounce sheet idea.

    panda

  24. #24
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    I saw a quilt magazine special edition at Barnes and Noble with a photo of a hand quilted Dresden Plate quilt on the cover. What caught my eye first was the background fabric-- white with red polka dots. I love red dots! Then I noticed that all of the quilting around the petals was done with red thread. The filler quilting was done in white. So cute! I didn't buy the magazine, so I can't remember the title.

  25. #25
    Super Member Pzazz's Avatar
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    Depending on the effect I want, I have sometimes used embroidery floss for accent quilting. I separate the 6 thread strand in half, so there are 3 strands going thru' my needle. Gives a nice look. Here's an example.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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