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Thread: Hand quilting techniques

  1. #1
    Super Member JNCT14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    CT New Haven County
    I used to hand quilt but over time I found that my wrist aches outrageously and goes numb with the rocking motion. In addition, the needle eyes on the betweens are so small they are very difficult to thread. I have tried loosening the tension on the frame, I tried a hoop as opposed to a frame, and I tried no frame at all. I found a technique on line that is called a 'two-handed method' - you push down with the right hand and push up with the left underneath. Its a good technique but very slow. I finally decided to heck with the Quilt Police and I now do what my nana called a 'running backstitch'. It does create a continuous line on the back side of the quilt but looks perfectly acceptable. Of course I supplement with FMQ depending on the project.

    Does anyone else have issues with hand quilting and has anyone come up with solutions?

  2. #2
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    This past year I was suffering from 3 bulging discs. 2 in my lower back and 1 in my neck. The neck one was putting pressure on the nerves going to my right arm and I was having a lot of pain radiating down my arm and what felt like electric shocks. Think that awful tingly pain you get when you hit your funny bone really hard. I was having that constantly as well as some numbness and loss of motor control in my fingers. The lower back ones made it painful for me to sit. Needless to say I did very little hand quilting this past spring and summer. Every time I sat down to try I couldn't go 5 minutes. I was fortunate that standing was more comfortable for me so I could get some quilting done on my longarm. Working at the sewing machine did not present problems for me as I didn't sit for very long, hopping up and down to the ironing board.
    Thankfully, chiropractic care and physical therapy have gotten me back in shape and I can hand quilt again.

  3. #3
    Dix is offline
    Senior Member Dix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Oklahoma City, Okla.
    Blog Entries
    Have you tried the little no finger glove. It is tight and really helps when my hands hurt. You can get them about any place. I think I got mine at Hancocks.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Hudson Valley, NY
    When I first started hand quilting, I used my ring finger - it's the finger I put a thimble on for hand sewing. I began to get pains in my wrist, so I switched to my middle finger, and had no more pain. Over the years I've read about quilters using their index fingers as well.

    I do get pain in my wrist from time to time. The pain is caused by the computer mouse and few machines I use at work. If I'm really busy on the computer I wear a wrist brace at night, and a Handeze glove during the day. It helps keep the pain manageable. If I am quilting, I try to keep my wrist straight, which also helps.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Ramsgate. Kent England
    I just do a running stitch with the odd back stitch to hold on a long row, hand held, this doesn't make my hands hurt so much as the quilt sits in my lap while I work, the quilts have been used and washed and are fine.

  6. #6
    Cathie R's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    NW Missouri
    As for having trouble threading needles - I found the Clover needle threader is wonderful. It works really good on the very small eye of the betweens.

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