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Thread: quilt top assembled, what next?

  1. #1
    Kat Lorien's Avatar
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    Hello Ladies, I am a newbie hoping for advice. I have been assembling a paper peiced hexagon lap quilt. It is a "scrappy" quilt, using fabric gifted by freinds and leftovers from other projects. It is about 1 metre square. I have taken all the papers out, leaving just the outer row all the way round. I have some batting and backing cotton fabric and I know I have to make a sandwich and baste it. I would like to hand quilt the peice, but as the hexagons are only 5 cm wide, I can't see myself having the patience to quilt each one individually. Can anyone recommend a quilting pattern that I can use?
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  2. #2

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    Maybe a diagonal crosshatch pattern across the entire quilt?

  3. #3
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    I have one that I will eventually quilt " inside the seams on. Just did a webshots search and came up with lots for you to look through.
    http://www.webshots.com/search?query...e=chromeheader

    Maybe see something in there that will help?

  4. #4
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum. Pretty quilt top!

    Sorry I can't help you on this one, I machine quilt.

  5. #5
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    No suggestions, but what a wonderful quilt top.

  6. #6
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Lorien
    Hello Ladies, I am a newbie hoping for advice. I have been assembling a paper peiced hexagon lap quilt. It is a "scrappy" quilt, using fabric gifted by freinds and leftovers from other projects. It is about 1 metre square. I have taken all the papers out, leaving just the outer row all the way round. I have some batting and backing cotton fabric and I know I have to make a sandwich and baste it. I would like to hand quilt the peice, but as the hexagons are only 5 cm wide, I can't see myself having the patience to quilt each one individually. Can anyone recommend a quilting pattern that I can use?
    Sadly there is usually no such thing as a quick pattern for hand quilting, or at least I haven't discovered one. Usually the easiest are simple straight lines or a grid pattern. One of the best pieces of information ever given to me when I first began quilting was this, a friend and mentor told me that quilting (esp. hand quilting) usually takes the same amount of time as creating the quilt top. That was a real eye opener for me because I thought once the top was done I would be mainly finished and the rest would just whip up (quilt up) in short order. Ha ha hahahahahah. I have since learned how wrong I was. If you don't want to spend a lot of time hand quilting, you could machine quilt it. You can quilt it in the ditch, which will hide the machine quilting and allow others to focus on the amazing quilt you've created. It is quite stunning and you've done an amazing job for someone who says they are a newbie!
    Piece ~ Tiffany

    PS. If you don't like the way it quilts up, just send it to me and I'll take good care of it for you! :lol:

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    This quilt is so beautifully hand-pieced with special fabrics, I would probably take the time to hand quilt it 1/4-inch inside each piece. It would take some time, but I'd just work on it in front of the tv every night with a goal of finishing 4 threaded needles a night. You don't have to stop and start inside each hexagon; you can run the needle between layers to move from one hexagon to the next.

    I would not want to hand quilt it in any other way because of all the seams a grid or cross-hatch pattern would encounter. For me, it's rather easy to quilt through 3 layers but an absolute bear to quilt through seams. If you have pressed all the seams open, hand quilting through seams wouldn't be as hard, but still wouldn't be as easy as just 3 layers.

    If hand quilting, I would be ***very*** careful to choose a batting that is easy to hand quilt through. I used an old-fashioned all-cotton batting for my first (and last!) hand quilted quilt, not knowing that there are much easier batts available. Get a sampler of batts to try; you might be surprised at the differences. Mine, for example, had pieces of seed and the oils in it created a lot of drag on the needle.

    From the little research I have done, I know I would not use a needle-punched batt such as Warm and Natural (too hard to push the needle through) or a high-loft polyester batt. I would probably get a sample of Quilter's Dream to try (but not the thinnest one). Have also heard that the Fairfield cotton batt hand quilts easily if you pre-soak it to remove sizing. (Took a class from Roxanne before she died, and that was her favorite batt. She said it was great for machine quilting, but a bear for hand quilting if you didn't do the pre-soak.) If you can afford the cost, silk batting is supposed to be a dream to quilt through! Roxanne said silk batts work great for cotton tops and batting. (Sorry, I have forgotten Roxanne's last name. She was from Hawaii and her daughter has carried on her company with Roxanne product names.....)

    If I were to machine quilt this top, I would probably try to do old-timey half circles (forgot what they are called -- clamshells?). The hexagons are already extremely geometric, so straight-line stitching by machine would look pretty harsh to me. I'd want the machine quilting to have a softer look and contrast with the straight lines of the hexagons. This could be achieved with free-motion waves, feathers, flames, etc. but alas, my free motion skills are very lacking. I could do the half-circles with a walking foot, though, so my stitches would be even.

    Just my thoughts.......

  8. #8
    Super Member Janstar's Avatar
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    Great looking quilt Kat! I'm no help in the quilting department as I always need someone to help me decide. Someone here will come up with an answer for you .
    Prism had some good ideas!

  9. #9
    Izy
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    Super Member Izy's Avatar
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    Kat, what about making a large hexagon template that fits across the centre of a six smaller hexagons and hand quilt that, it will interlink but will keep the hexagon pattern flowing :D

  10. #10
    Kat Lorien's Avatar
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    Wow, ladies, thankyou so much for taking the time to give me so much advice. First, I have to confess I didnt press the seems open :oops: I didnt realise it was important. I think, as I joined the peices by hand, most of the seems have turned out flat by chance. I have some batting, which is called Hobbs heirloom.I have hand quilted some smaller items using it and it seems well-behaved. I was grateful for the suggestion about one larger hexagon, which means I could quilt a larger area. Also, the idea of threading several needles and making that your goal for each sitting. I am presuming that I will need a hoop?
    As I am brand new to this, can I ask 2 questions, am I supposed to do little running stiches or kind of stab the needle down and back up again? Should I be using any special needles?
    Thankyou so much for taking the time to advise me :D

  11. #11
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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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.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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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.

    Mary

  13. #13
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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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

  14. #14
    Kat Lorien's Avatar
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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.

  15. #15
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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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?

  16. #16
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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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.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kara's Avatar
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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.

  18. #18
    Kat Lorien's Avatar
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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

  19. #19
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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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.

  20. #20

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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


  21. #21
    Kat Lorien's Avatar
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    Right, I am all ready to make the sandwich, leaving a good 6inch surplus all round, basting 4-5 ins apart (in parallel lines?).
    I am going to the quilting shop to buy the thread, some "betweens" and a finger cot. I intend to hand quilt without a hoop and quilt alernate hexagons.
    I will keep you posted!! Thankyou everyone for your help with this project. I may be back with more queries, as I still have questions about the binding... :?

  22. #22
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    What great advice you ladies have been kind enough to share. Makes me want to try my hand and hand-quilting again. I love Prisms tip about working every night and having a goal of using 4 thread lengths per evening. I never thought of it that way. You ladies are really something else. I wish we were neighbors -- literally. Of course, then you'd have to live in South Louisiana. :lol:

  23. #23
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    South LA??? Why that might not be soo bad, I hear the cooking is really good!

  24. #24
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandpat
    South LA??? Why that might not be soo bad, I hear the cooking is really good!
    Oh, yea, the food is awesome. That's why I constantly fight the battle of the bulge. Come on down. We'd love to have you. The first thing we'd do is plan a big supper.

  25. #25
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    Quilting should be done from the center out, but I don't baste from the center out. Using serger thread scraps, I hand basted my first quilt (king size) and I don't recommend it. I now use quilters' safety pins. It is vital that your three layers are smooth and fairly taut. I have a 4' x 8' plywood "table" upon which I lay out the backing, the batting, and the top, smoothing each as I go and clipping the 3 layers to the 1/2"-thick plywood with 2" spring loaded paper clips. I clip one side or end of the 3 layers and then smooth and gently pull the layers tight before I clip another side or end. When I get a section all smoothed and clipped, then I insert the safety pins just a few inches apart. When I get that section "basted", I remove the paper clips and repeat the process with the rest of the quilt. This way, I don't get any puckers or unpleasant lumpy surprises when I quilt, whether it be by hand or machine. Good luck and enjoy!

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