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Thread: How do you count stitches when handquilting?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Old hen's Avatar
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    Do you count the stitches on the top and the bottom? The gal at my LQS said I had 16/inch, but that would include both. What is the proper amount...........8 or 16?

  2. #2
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Only the top stitches are counted as far as I know. That's all my grandma counted and she did 10 stitches to the inch. She was the finest handstitcher in her womens guild.
    Don't understand why you also count the bottom stitches.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    I've read that you should count only the top stitches.

    Janet

  4. #4
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    I always thought it was top stitches only being counted.

  5. #5
    Super Member scowlkat's Avatar
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    According to Thimblelady, it is only the stitches on top that are counted.

  6. #6
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I only go by the top stitches. The other day I was looking at a website that sold amish quilts and it mentioned SPI and only counted the top stitches when picturing an example.

  7. #7
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I handquilt and only count the top stitches. For me it's 10 for regular hand quilting; it's usually 5 for big stitch quilting with 12 wt. threads or #10 crochet thread.

    Jan in VA

  8. #8
    Super Member RenaB's Avatar
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    Never knew we should count. May I ask under which circumstances you would count?

  9. #9
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    Stitches are counted both ways....it just depends on who ask the question. I believe in most cases it is the stitches you see, not the ones you don't see. But when asked the question ....ask the question back "how do you count them" so you will know how to answer.

  10. #10
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    probably the best answer to RenaB is......
    ego

  11. #11
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    probably the best answer to RenaB is......
    ego

    Sorry for the double post. I leaned on the computer.

    However, we do admire the hand quilted with the finest and smallest stitches. On the other hand, it is the quality of the stitch that judges often look at and not the quantity.
    A larger but even stitch, penetrating into the back in an even way (not the same size) might overshadow the fine close stitches that don't have quality on the back.

  12. #12
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    it is the quality of the stitch that judges often look at and not the quantity.
    A larger but even stitch, penetrating into the back in an even way (not the same size) might overshadow the fine close stitches that don't have quality on the back.
    I'm so glad to hear that. I've been doing some hand quilting recently and my stitches are anything but small. I decided not to worry about size and just try to make them even. These are quilt as you go blocks. Hopefully by the last block I'll have it mastered.

  13. #13
    Dena789's Avatar
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    I found that mine were getting better the more I worked on my first project. I think its a matter of practice but SPI can also be affected by the type of fabric, type of batting, needles used etc. I am definately not a master!

  14. #14
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    One stitch is going down through the layers to the back and coming back up. So you would only count the stitches you see on the top. The thread showing on the back is part of the stitch showing on the top. Does that make sense?

    I've been handquilting for years and have never worried about stitches per inch.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Quiltmaniac2010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltsRfun
    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    it is the quality of the stitch that judges often look at and not the quantity.
    A larger but even stitch, penetrating into the back in an even way (not the same size) might overshadow the fine close stitches that don't have quality on the back.
    I'm so glad to hear that. I've been doing some hand quilting recently and my stitches are anything but small. I decided not to worry about size and just try to make them even. These are quilt as you go blocks. Hopefully by the last block I'll have it mastered.
    My Grandmother taught me that what you are doing is the right way, not worrying about size, just making them even. The smaller stitches will come once you master the even stitches.

  16. #16
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RenaB
    Never knew we should count. May I ask under which circumstances you would count?
    LOL! What a great remark! I guess we count when someone asks. ;-) ;-)

    Jan in VA

  17. #17
    Junior Member Old hen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltmaniac2010
    Quote Originally Posted by quiltsRfun
    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    it is the quality of the stitch that judges often look at and not the quantity.
    A larger but even stitch, penetrating into the back in an even way (not the same size) might overshadow the fine close stitches that don't have quality on the back.
    I'm so glad to hear that. I've been doing some hand quilting recently and my stitches are anything but small. I decided not to worry about size and just try to make them even. These are quilt as you go blocks. Hopefully by the last block I'll have it mastered.
    I like this answer best of all. Thanks everyone!
    My Grandmother taught me that what you are doing is the right way, not worrying about size, just making them even. The smaller stitches will come once you master the even stitches.

  18. #18
    Junior Member Old hen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old hen
    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltmaniac2010
    Quote Originally Posted by quiltsRfun
    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    it is the quality of the stitch that judges often look at and not the quantity.
    A larger but even stitch, penetrating into the back in an even way (not the same size) might overshadow the fine close stitches that don't have quality on the back.
    I'm so glad to hear that. I've been doing some hand quilting recently and my stitches are anything but small. I decided not to worry about size and just try to make them even. These are quilt as you go blocks. Hopefully by the last block I'll have it mastered.
    My Grandmother taught me that what you are doing is the right way, not worrying about size, just making them even. The smaller stitches will come once you master the even stitches.
    I like this answer best of all. Thanks, everyone!

  19. #19
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    I don't count. I know I have small stitches and I like the way they look numbers don't matter to me.

  20. #20
    Super Member applique's Avatar
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    I'm too lazy to go find a quilt and count my stitches. When I first started I knew nothing about quilting and only a little about weaving. I ended up counting the threads in the fabric to make even stitches. Four threads of the material per stitch. Didn't know any better and turned out OK. Nice even stitches. Whatever worked.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA
    Quote Originally Posted by RenaB
    Never knew we should count. May I ask under which circumstances you would count?
    LOL! What a great remark! I guess we count when someone asks. ;-) ;-)

    Jan in VA

  21. #21
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    A good way to practice stitches is on 1/8" gingham check.
    It has small checks and straight lines. If 1/8" is too small to start with, then every other square etc. Or start with larger gingham.

    I sometime think that if the question about number of stitches is asked then it is a trick question.

  22. #22
    Super Member mimee4's Avatar
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    Thank you for asking this question. I always wanted to know, too.

  23. #23
    Senior Member supergma's Avatar
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    When I was learning to quilt and was frustrated because I couldn't make stitches as small as my GrandMa, my Daddy told me this. "Consistant stitches are more important than small stitches; as long as you don't make them so long a fella can hang a toenail in 'em" I have finally mastered small stitches, but fondly remember a wise man's advice to a little daughter.

  24. #24
    Super Member grandjan's Avatar
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    I don't count them at all. I just strive to keep them small and even.

  25. #25
    Member patcummings's Avatar
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    Counting stitches is an archaic practice. As a quilt professional who has done a lot of hand quilting, I don't pay attention to such non-issues. There is no standard and everyone you ask will probably offer a different answer.

    As a quilt judge, I look for nicely-spaced, even stitches that are not crooked.

    We may marvel at the very tiny stitches of some of the antique quilts we see but also consider the fact that the battings that were used were often VERY thin. I hope this remark sheds some light on the subject.

    Quilted pillow by Patricia Cummings
    Name:  Attachment-261536.jpe
Views: 18
Size:  133.1 KB

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