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Thread: A question for hand quilters

  1. #1

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    I will start by saying, I am not a hand quilter.
    I hand stitch my quilt bindings by hand, thats about it.
    I send my quilts to a LAQ that does custom quilting.
    She does great work and I'm always pleased
    when I pick up my quilts.
    I received a hand quilted quilt, 80% finished(12 blocks are done)
    The four borders need to be hand quilted. The borders are cut 13 inches wide, and the quilter was using a 10 inch hoop. (which I received)
    My question to the hand quilters here is-
    Is it absolutely necessary to use a hoop?
    I feel I could make better stitches if I didn't use a hoop.
    She has 4 rows of basting running the length of the border.
    Can I add more basting stitches and hand quilt these borders
    without using a hoop? Is it absolutely necessary to use a hoop?
    Would be glad to receive any advice on this topic from experienced hand quilters. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    So long as the quilt is well basted, you don't need a hoop. There are many really great hand quilters who never use a hoop or frame.

    Have fun!

    Janet

  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I hand quilt with a hoop, but tried a round frame, a big hoop and finally settled on a smaller round hoop. So, my suggestion is to try several different ways until you find the one most comfortable to you, hoop or no hoop.

  4. #4
    MTS
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    If it were me, I'd send it to the LAQ-er to finish it. :wink: :wink:

  5. #5
    Junior Member TeriD's Avatar
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    I've never used a hoop. Like you, I think my stiches are actually better without using the hoop. Like everything else in quilting, you should just do whatever makes it the most enjoyable!

  6. #6
    Junior Member sew_sew's Avatar
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    The woman who first got me interested in quilting, years ago, hand quilted without a hoop (even queen and king sized) not only that she brought them to work to work on during lunch. Can you imagine dragging something that big back and forth to work, lunch and breaks. As she worked she would often explain what she was doing and why. Wish I could remember her name, I'd look her up. (i'm retired now)

  7. #7
    Junior Member alderdweller's Avatar
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    Admittedly I don't have much experience. I am almost through with my first hand quilting experience.
    I bought a hoop and used it for about 5 minutes. Took it out and had much better luck without it.
    I guess it's an individual thing...so whatever feels comfy for you!

  8. #8
    Senior Member sall's Avatar
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    TRy both ways. Personally I make a real pigs ear if I do not use a hoop, but I have a friend who does the most beautiful work but cannot use a hoop. So it is trial and error. Do what suits you best, but try both ways.

  9. #9
    quiltinggrandmaca's Avatar
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    Just do what you feel comfortable with. If it doesn't turn out the first time, you can always try again.

  10. #10
    Senior Member adyldrop's Avatar
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    i only hand quilt and i don't use a hoop or frame--i find better control without.

  11. #11
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    I always use a hoop but remember when using a hoop don't get the fabric tight- you need it loose to do the rocking stitch- I think lots of people think it should be tight like in cross point or other types of hand work- lossen up the fabric

  12. #12
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    I've always used a hoop but other quilters here and ones I've spoken with in person have done them without a hoop with beautiful results. It depends on what you are comfortable doing.

  13. #13
    Super Member janedee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pieces
    I will start by saying, I am not a hand quilter.
    I hand stitch my quilt bindings by hand, thats about it.
    I send my quilts to a LAQ that does custom quilting.
    She does great work and I'm always pleased
    when I pick up my quilts.
    I received a hand quilted quilt, 80% finished(12 blocks are done)
    The four borders need to be hand quilted. The borders are cut 13 inches wide, and the quilter was using a 10 inch hoop. (which I received)
    My question to the hand quilters here is-
    Is it absolutely necessary to use a hoop?
    I feel I could make better stitches if I didn't use a hoop.
    She has 4 rows of basting running the length of the border.
    Can I add more basting stitches and hand quilt these borders
    without using a hoop? Is it absolutely necessary to use a hoop?
    Would be glad to receive any advice on this topic from experienced hand quilters. Thank you.
    I have been hand quilting for 12 years and have never used a frame or hoop as long as it is pinned or basted together all should be well - I personaly only pin as that way if I do find it starting to gather underneath I can move the pins easily to smooth it out

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdsmith
    I always use a hoop but remember when using a hoop don't get the fabric tight- you need it loose to do the rocking stitch- I think lots of people think it should be tight like in cross point or other types of hand work- lossen up the fabric
    Hi,

    I agree with bdsmith. There are several interesting tutorials on You Tube which I would recommend viewing. There are different methods using different types of hoops, thimbles needles and quilting aids all making each a different way of quilting. I found several interesting quilting aids that are now on my list of items for future purchase.

    You may also find as time goes by that you need to change the way you quilt depending on the size of the project, how much you quilt and how your fingers, hands and wrists handle the quilting movements.

    I'm also planning on attending some quilt shows this year. Sometimes they have some ladies working on a quilt either in a frame or individually. The next time I see someone hand quilting I plan on watching them in person and talking with them about their quilting method.

    Have a Great Quilty Day!
    Pam M

  15. #15
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    I hand quilt all my own quilts I do not use a hoop and I use safety pins and I have no problems. I am working on a twin size right now.

  16. #16
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    I do both, with a hoop and without. Depends what I'm working on.

  17. #17
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    I agree with Janedee, I never use a hoop and don't baste, I pin so I can smooth it out as I go. I find hoops constricting.

  18. #18
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    I'm going against these comments I know, but as far as I can tell, the majority of hand-quilters use some sort of hoop or frame so that the tension is right. It's a very personal thing, and you won't be able to tell which you prefer until you try. 10" is actually very small for a hoop, the usual size is 16" or 14" if it's round, or something equivalent if it's rectangular. I use a 17" x 11" Q-snap myself. If the hoop is too small, you don't have much of a workable area inside, and if the hoop is too big, you may not be able to reach comfortably around it (and I'm 4'11, so this is an issue for me). I also thread-baste, I find that pin-basting gets in the way of the frame.

    I gather you don't hand-quilt already? Do remember that while you can get to a reasonable standard quite fast in some cases, it's not something where you can just make it up as you go along and it will look perfect from the first stitch. You will need to learn, your stitches will be odd at first, and so you should put a spare bit of fabric and batting together, find a good book on hand-quilting (or video tutorials, or get someone to teach you), and see how you get on with it. Remember that even once you've learnt, your quilting stitches may look different from those already on the quilt. (I've been quilting for about three years, and my stitches are much smaller and neater now than when I began, or how they were a year ago.) If you put a ruler to a line of quilting on this quilt, how many stitches on the top side are there to the inch?

  19. #19
    Senior Member JHolm's Avatar
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    I never use a hoop. As long as the quilt is basted well you can hand quilt it without a hoop. I get much better stitches without a hoop. When I first started hand quilting my instructor recommended a hoop. I tried until I was almost in tears to make that darn hoop work but just couldn't do it. I went on QB and asked the same question you're asking and found there were many hand quilters that didn't use a hoop. So I went back to my instructor and explained the situation to her and she said "Oh, you don't have to use a hoop just bast it really good!" Good luck with your quilt, I think you'll find it is fun.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jtquilts's Avatar
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    I agree with janedee. I started with a hoop but it wasn't easy to move it when riding in a car on a trip. I now do every size without a hoop.

  21. #21
    Super Member Izaquilter's Avatar
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    Waiting on my new hoop as we speak! I have every quilting hoop/stand there is I think! I have the expensive Hintenberg, I have the pvc, I have 24" no slip & I have a 12" lap hoop. I just think hand quilting take time to get use to! I absolutely dread it until I get started. Once I get started & comfortable I'm addicted. But I am a hooper, too afraid not to use one for some reason

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdsmith
    I always use a hoop but remember when using a hoop don't get the fabric tight- you need it loose to do the rocking stitch- I think lots of people think it should be tight like in cross point or other types of hand work- lossen up the fabric
    Ok, So now I have a question about that "rocking stitch". I have tried to get more than 6 stitches per inch, but can't make them smaller. How do you accomplish 8-10 stitches per inch?

  23. #23
    Senior Member violetsfarm's Avatar
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    I am not that experienced and have not had any classes - I don't use a hoop. I just hold it in my lap. Works fine for me and probably the only way I will ever be able to quilt a large project.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrc966
    I have tried to get more than 6 stitches per inch, but can't make them smaller. How do you accomplish 8-10 stitches per inch?
    It's mostly practice.

    I keep the quilt sandwich fairly loose in my frame. I make sure the needle goes straight down, and when I feel it come through on the bottom, I rock the needle right back up. When it comes through the top, I try to push only long and hard enough to have a stitch-size bit of needle show. When I'm satisfied with that, I rock the needle up, and go back down straight.

    I also try to stack the deck for small stitches: it is easier to make small stitches if you quilt along the bias instead of the straight of grain, and if you can avoid crossing seam allowances, so much the better. If your quilt sandwich is thick or stiff (because you have a thicker batting or you're using a particularly heavy fabric in your top or backing), it will be much harder to make small stitches.

    All that aside, it's far more important to make the stitches even. They look more attractive, and it's better to have 6 even stitches than 10 sloppy ones.

    Janet

  25. #25
    Junior Member redeagle's Avatar
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    I have been hand quilting for over 30 years. Sometimes I use a 24" hoop, sometimes I use a 14" hoop, sometimes I do not use any hoop. Whatever works best for me at that particular time and on that particular quilt.

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