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quilt top assembled, what next?

quilt top assembled, what next?

Old 01-04-2009, 05:24 AM
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Kat, your quilt is really pretty. You should relax and enjoy the hand quilting process. You need to buy some quilting needles...called "betweens"...they come in different sizes...since you are new..don't be scared at how small they are :wink:

The matter of a hoop is personal preference. I do use one, but many don't. They are way better than I am at making even stitches.

In my limited experience, you kind of dip your needle up and down through the fabric "loading" the needle with stitches before you pull it through. You probably should search youtube for some videos...it is really helpful to see it done.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:49 AM
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Hand pieced seams have been traditionally turned to one side for added strength in the seam. Pressing seams open is more common with machine piecing because extra strength isn't needed; machine piecing is very strong. Advantages of pressing open are increased accuracy and elimination of large "bumps", but it remains a personal decision.

Most quilters "load" the needle with several stitches before pulling through. This is much faster than stab stitching and usually results in more even stitches (at least in the first few years).

I have hand quilted both with and without a hoop. I prefer with a hoop, but again it's a matter of personal preference. In my case, my non-hooped quilting was much more un-even plus I found that holding the fabric taught created some stress in my hands.

My all-time favorite hoop is a lap hoop with adjustability. If I can find it online later, I will post a link to it (hope it is still sold!). Mine has a solid wood base that sits in my lap. The post that holds the hoop is adjustable with wing nuts, plus the hoop itself is on a wooden ball that swivels in every direction. This makes it very easy to adjust the quilt so I am always quilting at a comfortable angle. I can quilt in plain round hoops, but it is much more of a juggling act.

The most common mistake of a beginning hand quilter is to hoop the quilt too tight. It is *not* supposed to be tight as a drum! You want about a fist size of "give" in the hoop to allow you to manipulate the fabric back and forth while you make your quilting stitches. One hand is on top of the sandwich with your needle, and the other one is underneath.

Betweens are the best hand quilting needle for most people. You also need a good thimble for your dominant hand middle finger (at least, I use the middle finger), as this is used to push the needle through the fabric.

I think it's a great idea to check YouTube for demonstrations. Some websites that sell thimbles and hoops may also have demo's. It does take practice, but that shouldn't stop you from working on this quilt. Hand quilting stitches don't have to be perfect; they still give a quilt a very special, loving look and feel.

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Old 01-04-2009, 10:12 AM
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Everyone has such excellent advice. What a great group of people we have around here! :!:

I use Warm and Natural for hand quilting and have never had a problem with it. Ten to fifteen years ago it used to have small cotton seeds in it, which were a nightmare. Not only would the needle hit a seed and either get pushed off to the side (creating uneven stitches) or it would break. :( Worse, the seeds would release oils over the years and leave little rust spots on the quilt that would stain and not come out. Thankfully they have improved over the years and there are no longer any seeds in their batting. That said, I did just buy 6 yards of a batting called Quilter's Dream, which my friends swears by. I haven't used it yet but it seems very popular around here with all the hand quilters.

The stitch used when hand quilting is called the "rocking stitch." It's because you rock the needle back and forth through the fabric, collecting several (3-5) stitches on your needle before pulling everything through. Here is a demonstration from YouTube on it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAiBobVNpVY I am a visual person and need to see as well as read instructions in order to grasp the concept so hopefully this helps.

For a beginner I would recommend a Between needle size 8. I use an 11 and 12 but when my arthritis is really bad I will go back to the longer sizes. The higher the number the shorter the needle. Size 12's are very, very small. The thought is that the smaller the needle the smaller the stitches, making it easier to get 12-15 stitches per inch. When I first started to hand quilt and was shown a size 12 needle, I swore there was no way I could ever use anything that darn tiny! Now I can't imagine quilting without the smaller sizes. LOL.

I don't use a hoop. I simply pile the quilt in my lap and begin quilting. I actually quilt a lot more evenly without a hoop, though I do notice I quilt just fine from a regular floor frame. I think you'll probably have to try it both ways to see which you prefer. It sure is beautiful and I hope you will post a picture for us when you are finished!!!!
Piece ~ Tiffany
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:29 AM
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Thankyou my new freinds, I am getting a picture of how to proceed. I presumed the hoop was to keep the fabric tight, while I stabbed the needle up and down through the work. Now I know better and it sounds much more relaxing to hold the work on my lap and use running stitches. Am I right in thinking the stitches on the reverse are going to be a lot smaller than the ones on the front?
The only hand quilted peice I have been able to handle, the stitches on the back were almost like little pin points. Quilt shows seem to be rare in England and the ones I have been to, the quilts were hung up and you werent allowed to touch them.
Also, another question, when I baste the layers, should I start at the middle and stitch the lines of basting out from the centre? Am I trying to get a grid pattern, or like the rays of the sun? Sorry, so many questions, but I havent a clue! I am also a very visual person and I am delighted to have the u-tube link, I will check that put now. Again thankyou for your patience and your advice.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:58 PM
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Your top is wonderful! WOW! Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm learning all kinds of hand quilting tips too! Isn't this group talented?
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:10 PM
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You may want to use a finger cot on your thumb as it will work wonders when pulling the needle through. That's what I use anyway.......speeds up the process too.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:29 PM
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With all the work you've done in hand piecing, I would hand quilt it.

Maybe instead of quilting every one, maybe every other one. Check your batting requirements to make sure you won't be leaving too large of gaps in the quilting. At least this would take out some of the quilting.

At least it's not that large, so it should quilt up relatively quickly compared to other projects, but still not too quick.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:37 AM
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Thankyou ladies. Sorry to ask, but what is a finger cot? Also, is there any special thread I should buy for the hand quilting?
I am going to baste my sandwich tomorrow, how much extra backing and batting do I leave round the edges? How close together should my basting be? Thankyou, thankyou. :D
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:34 AM
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I personally use "Hand quilting thread" which you can buy at a fabric store or Hobby Lobby, etc. I promise that you will need to leave about 4-5" extra batting and backing all the way around your top when you sandwich...ask me how I know that :oops: :evil: Baste about a fist width apart.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:43 AM
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I use hand quilting thread too, then I don't have to play with the bees wax circle thing. :shock:

My thought for quilting this would be to use a bigger hexagon as a template and quilt it over top the ones you did. But the suggestion about quilting every other hexagon sounds like a great idea and would be quite beautiful. As a bonus you wouldn't need to find/buy anything else. :)

It's already an amazing piece. :D

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