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Thread: Hand tying a quilt

  1. #1
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    Hand tying a quilt

    I have two throws that need to be finished quickly. I usually hand quilt, but not doable because of time. I am thinking of hand tying. If the hand tying is secure and close together with durable thread/yarn, will the throw hold up to a lot of use and washing?

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    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    I have seen baby quilts tied with quality embroidery threads hold up to lots of washing, just make sure they are close enough for the batting. The cotton thread does not cut the fibers as some polyester yarn will.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

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    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    If the quilts are not too large, you could also look at the invisible or international stitch, as shown here. It goes pretty quickly—a crib quilt took about 2 hours.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEkHht2oJsg

    Or “big stitch” quilting. I used this one a quilt 10-15 years ago, and it is fine. Used perle cotton.
    http://blog.sulky.com/big-stitch-qui...cotton-thread/

    But to your question: if done with perle cotton, hand tying can last about forever. Yarn, don’t know.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

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    My Grandma made me a tied quilt when I was 2. It stood up fine until university, when the backing fabric (a cheap sheet) started to give out. The ties were fine, and the quilt endured a lot of use.

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    Hi Genden - Over the years I have only hand tied one quilt - which I found to be something of a fiddly process. As far as I know the quilt held up to use and washing. I have machine tied a number of quilts when I was pressed for time or was using extra thick batting. It is very quick to do, and produces a durable, neat quilt. Just a few stitches up and back, placed at regular intervals is all it takes I think I have used a 3 inch grid, and probably a fluffy poly batt. Check your batting package for info on spacing. I am a hand quilter also.

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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    A lot depends on your batting and how close the ties are. Warm and Natural is a very stable batting, so ties can be farther apart; however, it is hard to hand needle. It would be good for machine tying. For hand tying, I would consider Hobbs Polydown. The ties for that would need to be closer together, but the process of hand tying would be much easier.

    Once you decide on a batting, be sure to make the ties close enough. Staggering the ties is a good idea, meaning if the first tow of ties is 4" apart, the next row should be 2" below and each tie positioned between the ties in the row above. Remember that ties need to be closer together than quilting lines because ties are holding the layers together in just one spot rather than in continuous lines.

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    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I'd also make sure your knots are good ones. A square knot won't come undone - right tail over left, then left tail over right.

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    I am using wool batting. The pattern dictates ties 2 1/2” apart, but not staggered. Will this be a problem? I like the invisible stitch. Thanks so much for all your suggestions. I had not seen the invisible stitch before. I have used something similar—an X that looks quite nice, but I didn’t want a repeat of that.

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    I have a quilt my grandma made many, many years ago and it was tied with yarn. It is still looking good but I don't use it much.

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    I have a Christmas quilt that was tied in 1992 and is still going strong without having to be re-tied. It is only used 3 months out of the year. My daughter has one about that age also still going strong and she uses it a lot more. She doesn't have any children or animals so she only washes it about twice a year.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genden View Post
    I am using wool batting. The pattern dictates ties 2 1/2” apart, but not staggered. Will this be a problem? I like the invisible stitch. Thanks so much for all your suggestions. I had not seen the invisible stitch before. I have used something similar—an X that looks quite nice, but I didn’t want a repeat of that.
    Staggering is not necessary. However, if you do not stagger and place ties 2.5" apart, the longest distance between ties will be 3.5". (Think of 4 ties as being a square 2.5" on a side. If you measure from top left to bottom right, this distance will be 3.5".) According to the following website, Hobbs wool should be quilted no more than 3" apart:
    https://www.generations-quilt-patter...distances.html

    In this case, you would want to add a tie in the middle of each square in order not to exceed the recommended quilting distance of 3". Adding just that one extra tie per box would make the batting much more likely to survive multiple trips through a washer and dryer.

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    Prism99,
    Thank you so much for the helpful information and link for quilting distance. After reading all the information and doing a mental scramble to find a way around the dilemma of 3” quilting distance for Hobbs wool, I decided to measure the distance that I had previously ballparked. Lesson learned—always measure. The distance is 2” so I will be fine, but I can’t guess, then try to work around a problem.

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    Thank you Krisb for the links. I love learning new things, and had never seen either of these methods before!

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    Grandma used the “tie on the needle” method.

    I’ll attempt to explain: take a stitch and leave a 3” tail. Repeat stitch. Now you are ready: hold tail with one hand and circle the tail once and come through the loop you just made, bringing loop to a closure by pulling on needle. This completes first half. Hold tail again and with needle, circle tail opposite way from before, bring needle through loop and pull needle until loop closes up securely. Cut thread, leaving a tail equal in length as other tail. Done. In essence, this is a square knot.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ArlaJo's Avatar
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    Where do I buy a needle that long? I would like to try "tying" a quilt like that.
    So much fabric, so little time.

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    I've a quilt that was hand tied in the 50's...still in good shape; made with scraps of wool suiting materials ans lined with a flannel blanket and backed with flannel.... it is so heavy . It was tied using cotton crochet thread, Mom put the thread in and eveyone ( 4 if us) did the ties.
    Karo

  17. #17
    Member Pennylane's Avatar
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    When I tie a quilt I use a Basting needle.

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    My opinion--don't use yarn. It's pretty only until it's laundered and it tends to fray or something, making the quilt a victim of "premature aging". I prefer embroidery floss, crochet thread or perle cotton. I did one recently intending to use black perle cotton. Changed that to ecru before I got very far. The black looked like spiders!!

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    I think that needle is a doll needle, although I don't know how large the eyes of those needles are. Check them out the next time you are in a craft store.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ArlaJo's Avatar
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    Thanks nuffsaid. I certainly will
    So much fabric, so little time.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krisb View Post
    If the quilts are not too large, you could also look at the invisible or international stitch, as shown here. It goes pretty quickly—a crib quilt took about 2 hours.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEkHht2oJsg

    Or “big stitch” quilting. I used this one a quilt 10-15 years ago, and it is fine. Used perle cotton.
    http://blog.sulky.com/big-stitch-qui...cotton-thread/

    But to your question: if done with perle cotton, hand tying can last about forever. Yarn, don’t know.
    We tied a quilt with Perle Cotton and the ties all came loose. It is too slippery and the knots all came loose. What really concerned me about that was: we sent another quilt with Perle Cotton ties to a charity somewhere in Kentucky. Those people don't need to get a gift quilt that is going to fall apart.
    I tie my quilts with wool. That will never come loose, and they get tighter with each washing. We had two quilts on the boat like that made with polyester bed sheets and wool ties. Those quilts may still be around; they were going strong after 15 years.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  22. #22
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    Grandma used the “tie on the needle” method.

    I’ll attempt to explain: take a stitch and leave a 3” tail. Repeat stitch. Now you are ready: hold tail with one hand and circle the tail once and come through the loop you just made, bringing loop to a closure by pulling on needle. This completes first half. Hold tail again and with needle, circle tail opposite way from before, bring needle through loop and pull needle until loop closes up securely. Cut thread, leaving a tail equal in length as other tail. Done. In essence, this is a square knot.
    This is basically the same knot my grandma taught us and that we use for Lutheran World Relief quilts going to disaster areas and refugee camps. The only difference is that we don't change directions on the last half. I can see the advantage of how you do it!

    P.S. You don't really need an extra long needle for this type of knot.

  23. #23
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    Our non-profit ties comforters for shipping overseas and they are tied with Aunt Martha's crochet thread. I also have many pieced comforters that have been loved and used for many years. The fabrics usually give out before the ties come undone. Just be sure to double knot.

  24. #24
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    Great information on tied quilts. And I really like the chart on the batting and quilting distances. That is definitely going in my notebook for quilt charts.

  25. #25
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maviskw View Post
    We tied a quilt with Perle Cotton and the ties all came loose. It is too slippery and the knots all came loose.
    This is why I made the comment about using a square knot, which will not come undone no matter what type of textile you use.

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