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I'm not getting this hand quilting thing.

I'm not getting this hand quilting thing.

Old 08-29-2011, 06:13 PM
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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?!
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:17 PM
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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. :-)
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:19 PM
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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:)
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:20 PM
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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.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:21 PM
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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!
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:26 PM
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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.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:38 PM
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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. .
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:56 PM
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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! :)
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:57 PM
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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!
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:09 PM
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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.
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