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Thread: I'm not getting this hand quilting thing.

  1. #1
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    I have
    Needles: John James package sizes 3 through 9
    Thread: Aurifil 40wt
    Beeswax
    Wool Batting
    Q snap 11 x 17 lap frame
    Thimbles: John James metal with the ridge on the top and a Comfort Thimble (It smells and my needle gets stuck in it )

    I ironed 2 fat quarters, cut a piece of batting, traced a stencil on the top fabric, basted it all together, put it in the frame. It seemed too tight so I tried to loosen it a bit. I got an instant manicure trying to remove the clips from the frame. OK. Operator error obviously - since there are no instructions with the frame - the manufacturer must feel it is idiot proof. I arranged the fabric looser, put the clips back on, the fabric pretty much went right back where it was originally. Fine.

    I managed to get my needle threaded! I watched 3 different videos to figure out how to make a quilters knot by wrapping the thread around the needle. It looks easy enough. Not for this simpleton. I wound the thread around my finger and made a
    knot.

    I know enough to start in the middle, I started off to the side a bit to hide my knot and brought the needle up through the fabric. I put the needle down through the fabric, stabbed my finger, pulled the needle out, stopped the bleeding, tried again. I got the needle down with no more bloodshed, using the thimble I tried to do the "rocking" to get a couple stitches on the needle. No joy - the fabric is still too tight. I tried to loosen it again. The frame fell apart. I totally suck at this and I am light headed from blood loss. Why is this so darned difficult?!

  2. #2
    Super Member MellieKQuilter's Avatar
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    For my first successful hand quilting event (it felt like an event to me! ;-) ) I did not use a hoop... Just held it in my lap... Easier for me to use the fabric to aid my rocking (hope that makes sense). Also, a longer needle seemed to help me make smaller stitches? Weird.. I know. Basically, don't give up!! Use different techniques and tools till it feels right. :-)

  3. #3
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    I have tried all type of combinations. What works for me is a 14" round hoop. I rest my quilt and hoop on a card table. I am able to get my quilt sandwich the right tension. If you have seen any of borntohandquilt quilting it is amazing. She only does one stitch at a time. I am doing much better with the one stitch method. It is trial and error until you get what works for you:)

  4. #4
    Super Member LeslieFrost's Avatar
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    Oh, I'm so sorry! Please try again. If you can get it, I think you'll love it.

    To loosen the tightness of the fabric, try turning the covers on the pipes just a little bit toward the center.

    I agree -- those covers are a bear to take off again -- and I don't have a manicure to worry about!

    Sometimes, I handquilt without the frame, especially on a small piece. Just grab a handful of the piece in your left hand (if you're a righty) and go for it.

    I have never been able to do that knot by wrapping around the needle either. Just make a small knot and try to pop it through the backing into the batting. Having tension on the piece makes popping the knot easier.

  5. #5
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    It feels very awkward til you find what works for you. Keep trying different things - I'm guessing at some point you will find your groove!

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I keep the quilt *very* loose in the frame. I took a class and the quilter showed us to punch the middle so that it is loose about a fist's thickness. This makes it much easier to "rock" stitches because you are manipulating the quilt as well as the needle. One of the biggest beginner mistakes with hand quilting is to have the quilt too tight in the frame.

  7. #7
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    Something I learned with Q-snap frame: snap the frame on with the opening as far up as possible, almost from the bottom up. Then place your hand on the snapped on piece and rotate it up toward the center. This maneuver will loosen it. Do not lay your piece on the frame and press the snap-on piece on from the top, it will be very tight. You can practice this maneuver without your practice piece in the frame. By rotating the snap-on pieces, you can tighten or loosen your quilt at anytime without removing it. Good luck, very easy when you get the hang of it. .

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kristin in ME's Avatar
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    I even use one hand to hold the center of the quilt down when I'm putting it in the frame- a bit lower than I actually want it, because, as you know, it snugs up when you snap the outer pieces on. Then I use my other hand to arrange the quilt over the frame and snap the pieces on. As others said, if you turn the covers on the pipes toward the center, that will loosen it up a bit.

    I'm also one of those that quilted my first quilt without a frame/hoop. I tried it again the other day and it feels awkward to me now but it worked for me then!

    And for the record, the fact that there even IS a quilter's knot is recent news to me!

    Don't give up, just keep practicing and it will soon not only become easier, but you may actually find that you enjoy it! ;-) Hand quilting is such a satisfying, relaxing activity, once you get the hang of it- truly! :)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kristin in ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scraphq
    Something I learned with Q-snap frame: snap the frame on with the opening as far up as possible, almost from the bottom up. Then place your hand on the snapped on piece and rotate it up toward the center. This maneuver will loosen it. Do not lay your piece on the frame and press the snap-on piece on from the top, it will be very tight. You can practice this maneuver without your practice piece in the frame. By rotating the snap-on pieces, you can tighten or loosen your quilt at anytime without removing it. Good luck, very easy when you get the hang of it. .
    That sounds better than my method, I'll have to give this a try!

  10. #10
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    I also use a 14 in. round hoop. Get them at Joanns for a couple of bucks. I place the sandwich in the hoop relatively tightly, smooth my top and backing and then loosen the sandwich by pushing the top down a bit around all the rim of the hoop. I will also sometimes work hoopless. Just depends on the project. Your practice piece might just be too small to work comfortably in that frame.

    I hate John James needles. Tried many different ones and found that I do best with Roxanne needles. I started out with (don't remember brand - probably clover) #9's and have worked my way to #11's and #12's.

    Don't worry about the knot. Just make one that works. I've never been able to do the 'quilters knot'. And amazing, when my mother tried to teach me that knot 50 years ago it wasn't called that. Guess what - a knot is a knot when it comes to embedding it into the sandwich.

    I use Thimblelady timble. Dimples on the sides are much deeper and I find it easier to push with the pad of my finger than the tip. Bloodshed will continue to occur until you build up a callous on your bottom finger. It's a trial and a learning process. Don't make yourself crazy. Take your time, relax, and you'll eventually get there.

  11. #11
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    Practice, practice, practice.

  12. #12
    Super Member running1's Avatar
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    Please do keep trying... It is a little challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it... so rewarding! I use the "thimblelady" thimble and "Thimble-it" dots on my underfinger... but still have a little callous going due to occasional sticks...

    You know you're a quilter when you're proud of your little callous.
    (sheepish grin)

  13. #13
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    The "punch up or down" method to loosen quilt does not work with Q-snap like it does with a hoop.

  14. #14
    TheSevenYearStitch's Avatar
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    The most important thing is to keep trying and keep doing it. Eventually, you'll get it down! Unfortunately, there's no easy fix. It's like learning how to ride a bike. Practice, practice, practice, but once you get it down, you've got it ;)

  15. #15
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    What do you mean when you say "rock the stitches"?

  16. #16
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    I have to apologize. Your post made me laugh so hard and I know it is not funny to you. It sounds like everything that could go wrong, DID!

    First of all, leave the frame for now. For a small piece you don't need it.
    Second, any knot is fine as long as it will snap under the top and be hidden in the batting. I personally like the quilters knot and use it all the time for everything.
    Third, just do one stitch at a time. It is just a simple running stitch. When you can do one stitch well, without problems, and you are used to using the thimble, then try taking 2 stitches, etc. I couldn't rock my stitches at first either.

    Remember, there are no quilt police, so whatever works for you is OK.

  17. #17
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    What does it mean to rock your stitches?

  18. #18
    Ghetohound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch's mom
    I have
    Needles: John James package sizes 3 through 9
    Thread: Aurifil 40wt
    Beeswax
    Wool Batting
    Q snap 11 x 17 lap frame
    Thimbles: John James metal with the ridge on the top and a Comfort Thimble (It smells and my needle gets stuck in it )

    I ironed 2 fat quarters, cut a piece of batting, traced a stencil on the top fabric, basted it all together, put it in the frame. It seemed too tight so I tried to loosen it a bit. I got an instant manicure trying to remove the clips from the frame. OK. Operator error obviously - since there are no instructions with the frame - the manufacturer must feel it is idiot proof. I arranged the fabric looser, put the clips back on, the fabric pretty much went right back where it was originally. Fine.

    I managed to get my needle threaded! I watched 3 different videos to figure out how to make a quilters knot by wrapping the thread around the needle. It looks easy enough. Not for this simpleton. I wound the thread around my finger and made a
    knot.

    I know enough to start in the middle, I started off to the side a bit to hide my knot and brought the needle up through the fabric. I put the needle down through the fabric, stabbed my finger, pulled the needle out, stopped the bleeding, tried again. I got the needle down with no more bloodshed, using the thimble I tried to do the "rocking" to get a couple stitches on the needle. No joy - the fabric is still too tight. I tried to loosen it again. The frame fell apart. I totally suck at this and I am light headed from blood loss. Why is this so darned difficult?!
    I don't mean any disrespect..but...that was the funniest post EVER! I have never hand quilted, and thought I would give it a try soon. Thanks for the warnings, and the very needed laugh!

  19. #19
    Senior Member marscrafter's Avatar
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    It takes some time to get comfortable with hand quilting, so don't feel bad. I use a small hoop, maybe 8", and it's not super tight into the hoop. I don't use rocking stitches for super tiny work, just a single stitch at a time. The only time I do well with rocking stitches is if I hold the quilt with no hoop. I also don't use a thimble anymore, if my fingers get too sore I use painter's tape. LOL I also draw blood at times, so I'm with you on that part. You have the right idea by just practicing over and over, eventually it will be second nature.

  20. #20
    Super Member janedee's Avatar
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    have to agree with nearly all the comments - leave the frame alone for now and just try it held in your hands and one stitch at a time - it will get easier promise!!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys
    What does it mean to rock your stitches?
    This is what I have just learned in another thread, written by VanuatuJill:

    [...] BTW, the usual term used for putting several stitches on the needle before pulling the thread through is "stacking", the process of putting the needle thru the fabric top and angling back and forth to catch the underneath stitch before coming back up is "rocking".[...]

    Hope that helps!

  22. #22
    Super Member Charming's Avatar
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    ROFL...so what's wrong with your sewing machine???????

  23. #23
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    So sorry you are having so much trouble. I haven't dared to try hand quilting yet. Your post reminded me of what I might do if I was quilting by hand. Just wanted to remind you to drink plenty of fluids to replace the blood loss!!!LOL

  24. #24
    Super Member jemma's Avatar
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    try a longer needle [i cant even hold a BETWEEN] get rid of the hoop ---go for even stitches they will get smaller with practice[tiny is not always better]

  25. #25
    Super Member Rainy Day's Avatar
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    Thanks - I am about to try handquilting too. Funny post!

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