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Thread: Problem with hand quilting in hoop - tiddlywinking needle.

  1. #1
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    Problem with hand quilting in hoop - tiddlywinking needle.

    So...I finally finished the wall hanging for my quilt club exchange (only 2 months late but it's for my friend and she understands). I started hand quilting in my usual way (on my lap, squashing up the fabric in one hand and running stitch with the other), but I was reading that it will come out better if I use a hoop. So my local quilt store lady very kindly loaned me her own q-snap frame and last night I tried for hours to quilt it.

    I had the book "That Perfect Stitch" open beside me and was following the directions in it. On each first stitch, when I tried to bring the point of the needle up to the top, it would jump off the quilt (I was holding the end with my thimble finger as instructed) just like a tiddlywink. The only way that it wouldn't was if I took a really big stitch. I don't think the quilt was too tight in the frame - there is a lot of hand applique and embroidery in it and I couldn't make it tight. After 2 hours, I had only done about 2 inches of quilting.

    I ended up taking it out of the frame and going back to my old method.

    What was I doing wrong? And how important is it to use a frame. Is my squished up fabric, no hoop method, so bad? It is not a huge quilt, only a wall hanging. Has anyone else ever had this problem?

    I would REALLY appreciate any help or opinions! Thanks, everyone, in advance.

    Lorli

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It sounds to me as if the quilt was too tight in the frame. The purpose of the frame is simply to prevent fabric from puckering. In terms of looseness for a hand quilting frame, you want at least a fistful of "give" in the center. That is, the center should be able to move about 5 inches below to 5 inches above the frame. It shouldn't look like a drum; it should sag at least a little in the middle.

  3. #3
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    Thank you, I guess it was too tight after all (the LQS lady showed me how to put it in, but maybe she didn't account for the heavy applique). I will try it again.

    I do wonder if there is much difference between quilts made with a hoop/frame and those made on the lap.

  4. #4
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    P.S. It could move only about 2 inches in the center. I forgot to say.

  5. #5
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    Well, you've gotten good advice here and your LQS as to how tight to have your quilt in the hoop. There's nothing wrong with not using a hoop. I do it both ways depending on how large/heavy the quilt is. I like using a hoop if for no other reason than an easy way to find where I left off stitching. And you can still do your 'running' stitch using the hoop. Find the rhythm that works for you. As long as your stitches are consistent size doesn't matter. They will get smaller over time.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If you can do nice hand quilting without a hoop, there's really no big advantage to using a frame or hoop. I have tried quilting without a hoop, but I found the bunching to be hard on my hands, and my stitches were not even (especially underneath). I like using a lap hoop (mine swivels on a ball and is very easy to adjust to any angle and direction. By hooping very loosely as I described, it's a little similar to quilting without a hoop in that it's still easy to manipulate the fabric layers onto the needle.

  7. #7
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    Don't be afraid to quilt without a hoop, lots of people do it (I'm one..) it only requires close basting 4" squares, and working from the middle outward... and if you have started quilting this do NOT change methods in the middle.... seriously... this is quite common...

  8. #8
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    If you are using the plastic pipe frame you must have give in thecenter. You will never get that needle back up if it is too tight. Use that finger underneath to push it back up. You can do it.

  9. #9
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    I have only hand quilted two quilts so I certainly do not have the expertise that others have. I used the PVC type of rectangular hoop and started in the middle of the quilt. It was comfortable for me to quilt that way and I was sure I wouldn't shift the batting and backing while I was quilting. I had basted and pinned the quilt but I didn't think what I did stabilized the sandwich enough. I tried machine quilting one of the quilts but ended up taking all that out because the backing bunched up a lot.
    If you get a satisfactory product not using a hoop, I say do what you like. I am sure your quilts are really beautiful and the sandwich is fine. If I get more experience, maybe I could do it that way, also.

  10. #10
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    I have been handquilting for many years and prefer to use a hoop on a stand, however, if I am working on a very small project I squish it up and quilt without a hoop. My advice to you: use whatever method you are comfortable with. Handquilting is handquilting no matter how it is accomplished. Nice to meet another handquilter. Good luck with your project.

  11. #11
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    Someone suggested to use a Q-snap frame for basting their quilt. This might work well for you. Bast the layers together on the Q-snap and quilt your normal way. I do hand quilt on my Q-snap but as others have mentioned you need some slack. I put my quilt into the frame and get it all tight and smooth. When I am sure all the layers are perfect, I then gently push down on the center of the frame with my hand until I get the slack I want.

  12. #12
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    yes there is a difference in using a hoop vs without. However, both are acceptable and show good results.
    Using a hoop or fram gends to be a bit more flatter than without. However both are ok if get the results you want.
    A large quilt tends to become cumbersome if quilting without a hoop or frame.
    I really prefer the No Slip Hoop - can get them at JoAnns. Largest is 14" which works for all sizes. It is about $20.
    But, when set in hoop it does not slip. I use it in all my classes and even seasoned quilters rave about it.
    I can never get the quilt to be the tightness/looseness I want with the Q-Snap.

  13. #13
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    First of all don't change what works for you.....in other words...if you have been quilting without a frame or hoop and enjoy it, forget what you read to change your method. I don't use a hoop or frame either and that is the way I'll always quilt from now on. I tried hoops and a frame and hated it. Now one thing I have noticed from reading this thread is the "bunching up the quilt in your hands when handquilting without a frame or hoop? My quilts are smooth on my lap or table and I have one hand on top and one hand underneath moving along the quilt not only to guide the needle but to feel to make sure that there are no wrinkles happening on the bottom. That's the way I do it anyway.

    Bottom line, don't change what you enjoy just because someone says there is a better way. It doesn't hurt to try something new but I wouldn't drive myself crazy trying to get it right either , JMHO.
    Blessed are they that can laugh at themselves, For they shall never cease to be amused.

    http://quiltsnmore.webs.com

  14. #14
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    It really takes practice. I personally wouldn't quilt without a hoop or frame. It would be helpful for you to sit down WITH A HAND QUILTER and watch her/him, and then have her/him watch you and guide you along. Try visiting the hand quilting writers at http://celebratehandquilting.blogspot.com and see what you can get from that group. They are pretty knowledgeable!

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