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Thread: Supplies for Beginning Hand Quilting

  1. #1
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Supplies for Beginning Hand Quilting

    I am getting stuff to start hand quilting for Christmas.

    I had decided on the quilting hoop that Thimble Lady makes that goes under the thighs, but I'm not sure whether to get the rest of the stuff that's in her beginner kit or whether to get some supplies from elsewhere ... or how to pick.

    I know a lot of members have said they prefer the Roxanne needles. I've used John James quilting needles for some very limited hand quilting (inside applique) & had a Clover metal thimble that was close to useless so I usually ended up using my leather scissors cover to push the needle through. I don't have a huge amount of money to just try a bunch of different supplies out so I'm wondering if those of you who do hand quilting can share what you like/don't like about needles/thimbles/Aunt Becky or anything else you use for hand quilting. Also, I plan to continue using Aurifil thread covered in bee's wax & am wondering if there is a certain weight I should use ... or would I really be better off with some other type of cotton thread (and why)?

    I will be working with white muslin whole cloth & most of the quilting design is cross hatch. I'm planning to use Hobb's Heirloom Organic Cotton batting.

    Thank you so much for indulging my beginner questions. It's for my nephew & since there is nothing but quilting, I feel extra pressure to do a good job with the quilting.

  2. #2
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    After hand quilting for a number of years, I have found that YLI hand quilting thread works best for me. It doesn't shred or knot like the other threads I have used. It comes coated and does not need beeswax. My favorite needle is Hiroshima Tulip betweens. These needles can be ordered from Hancocks of Paducah or Amazon. I have tried every needle there is and the H. tulip is so superior there is no comparison. When I lap quilt, I never use a hoop. It is too cumbersome for me, but it is personal preference. I don't know the size of your quilting project, but I could never finish hand quilting a bed quilt by Christmas. I find that cotton batting is harder to hand quilt than 80/20 cotton polyester, wool, or silk. I am sure you will do an excellent job.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I agree with Genden about using a hand quilting thread. They are glazed, which makes them stronger than regular sewing thread, and the glazing makes the thread glide through the sandwich without getting the knots and tangles that are common with unglazed thread. Using the right thread makes a surprisingly *huge* difference in ease of quilting and also speed, since you don't have to stop because of tangles.

    I have hand quilted without a hoop and with a hoop. For me, with a hoop is definitely better! I watched the thimble lady's video, as I have not used her hoop. There are two things I wonder about her hoop. First, I noticed she sits in a regular dining room style chair in her demo. I am wondering if that makes it more comfortable to sit on the wooden pieces. I think it would become uncomfortable for me to sit on the wood for a long time, especially on a couch or other soft surface. I do not see any advantage to this type of hoop over a lap hoop. Second, I see that her hoop tilts in a fixed way. My hoop has infinite tilt which allows me to adjust the tilt to any angle I prefer. The hoop I own and love is no longer made. The one that is closest to it in features is this Grace hoop, which gets good reviews:
    http://www.graceframe.com/site/hoops/laphoops

    Batting makes a huge difference in ease of hand quilting. I agree with Genden that 100% cotton batting is harder to hand quilt than an 80/20 batting. You might want to switch to Hobbs 80/20 cotton batting or, even better, to Hobbs wool batting. Wool batting is supposed to be extremely easy to hand quilt, plus it gives super definition to the quilting. I have heard that the Quilter's Dream thin cotton batting is good for hand quilting, but it won't give the definition that wool would give.

    The Aunt Becky tool is notoriously difficult to master. Most quilters give up on it pretty quickly. My preference is for a thimble with deep dimples and a high rim. Most thimbles have dimples that are too shallow. The thimble recommended by Aunt Becky is a really good one; if I can find a link to it I will post it.

    I am going to look for the needles Genden mentioned for my next hand quilting project.

    I would not be able to finish a quilt for this Christmas. My fingers would get too sore!

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Okay, here is a link to the better quality thimble I mentioned:
    http://www.aztec-rose-crea.com/thimb...ml?language=en

    This is one of the best thimbles assuming you push on the needle with the tip of your finger (which is what I do). If you are uncertain about size, buy a little bigger because you can push some children's play clay into the tip if it's just a little too big. If it's too small, you can't use it.

    The other type of thimble I loved was a leather thimble with the deep metal rim inserted into the top. It was comfortable to wear because it "hugged" the finger. I don't think they're made anymore, though. They were pricey and didn't last very long because the metal piece eventually came loose from the leather.

    If you push with the side of your finger instead of the top, I don't know what thimble to recommend (although I would still look for deep dimples to help hold the eye end of the needle in place while you are pushing).

    Here is the type of common thimble you want to avoid:
    http://www.prym-consumer-china.com/english/thimbles/
    It has shallow dimples and it's easy for the quilting needle to slip out of the top. It probably works fine for hand sewing, which is why it's so common.

    I should mention I do try to protect my underneath finger from the needle pricks. I found the "tools" for this purpose always rather awkward and bulky, plus I think they dulled my needle faster. The "liquid skin" type things were never heavy enough for me. Overall, I think investing in some adhesive dots for the underneath finger is worthwhile. These might work:
    http://www.amazon.com/Colorbok-Thimb...dp/B001J5JN7G/

    Regarding the Aunt Becky's tool and other implements to be used underneath the quilt, I found that once I had enough "give" in the quilt (similar to what the thimble lady shows in her hoop video) they weren't necessary.

  5. #5
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Thanks! Just to clarify, I am getting the SUPPLIES as a Christmas present. I will start the crib quilt in the new year as a gift for my new nephew due in February. I've already told my SIL it likely won't be complete by his birth. Since it is a baby quilt, I do need to use an all-cotton batting. I typically use W&P or W&N for machine quilting (and a bit of handwork), but it is very thick so that is why I'm going with a thinner cotton for this quilt -- I'd prefer Hobbs organic, but have also considered Quilter's Dream cotton. Since you say thinner is better, I'll go with whichever of those is thinnest. Thank you so much for that tip as I know it wasn't easy to even do small sections of hand quilting through W&N on past quilts.

    I will also be sure to order some YLI hand quilting thread.

    Thanks again & I look forward to any additional tips others can offer! I'm just a newbie at this & can use all the help I can get!

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I think this is the same (or similar) thimble on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Colonial-Needl.../dp/B004KZ5G46

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    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Oh. Just saw the reference to silk batting. I think that would be okay for Baby. I will look into that. I'll have to also make sure it won't be visible through the white muslin whole cloth. Has anyone tried it with white cotton/muslin fabric?

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I took a hand quilting class years ago from Roxanne McElroy (of Roxanne's needles). Silk batting was her favorite, and she used it frequently with cotton fabrics. She passed around some of her quilts and they were the *softest* and most luxurious ever! I think it would work fine with muslin, but silk batting is expensive.

  9. #9
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Trying to find one that is 100% silk. Hobbs is 10% poly/90% silk. I'm also wondering if silk would hold up to weekly washings.

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    I buy my silk batting from Quilted Memories LLC online. Sometimes they have it on sale. I don't think the price for crib size would be too high. It is more expensive than cotton. The first Hobbs silk I bought was very white. Lately it is more off white. If the muslin is a stark white, that might be a consideration. Most battings except polyester are varying degrees of off white to ivory. I don't know if washing silk often is a problem. I doubt it, but you could call the company.
    Last edited by Genden; 11-21-2015 at 09:33 PM.

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    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    I just started hand quilting. I use a regular thimble on my upper hand and a silicon/rubber thimble under the quilt.

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    Sometimes you have to try a product and see what works best for you.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  13. #13
    mem
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    Genden said, "My favorite needle is Hiroshima Tulip betweens. These needles can be ordered from Hancocks of Paducah or Amazon. I have tried every needle there is and the H. tulip is so superior there is no comparison."

    What size betweens do you use?

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    I am one that prefers Roxanne needles. Usually use a size 11 or 12 between. Get them from Colonial needle. Very good customer service, btw. I mostly use a hoop but it is not on a stand of any sort. I sit in a comfy side chair while quilting and wiggle about quite a bit changing position. I think a hoop on a lap or floor stand would just annoy me as I would need to be in a single position for a long period. I can quilt for hours as long as I can scritch around in my chair.

    I use the Thimblelady thimble http://www.thimblelady.com/search-al...atured&page=10 in the stainless steel version. I started out with the plastic to see 1) if I liked that style thimble and 2) check for size. The sizing - using the website's instructions - have been perfect. With this thimble you push with the pad of your finger, not the tip. I find it much more comfortable.

    I use any old handquilting thread as long as it is the color I want. JAF sells a brand 'Americana' that is quite heavy and limited colors but I have used it. Otherwise mainly Guttermann. I also use Thread Heaven conditioner vs beeswax. I like the results much better. I even use it on glazed threads as I feel it really helps with the tangling. Mainly for keeping your thread as tangle-free as possible, don't cut lengths more than about 12-18 inches. This helps.

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    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Thank you all SOOOOO much for the tips. I think I will try both the H. Tulip & the Roxanne needles as I have heard such good things about the both (and I already have some JJ quilting needles that I have used in the past to fall back on, but I'm sure there are better choices for quilting). I currently push with the pad of my finger (or sometimes the side of my finger) for applique, hand sewing & the little bit of quilting I've done, so maybe I will try the ThimbleLady thimbles; they do seem like they would help with my tendonitis since they immobilize the knuckle joint.

    I also have those silicon thimbles & like them okay. Thanks for the tip, NJ, about needing to move around. I will have to think on that. I have had lot of surgeries on my neck & back so trying to hold a hoop is nearly impossible for me. I have a cheapy HL quilting hoop & end up pulling my knees up & holding it with my knees at times because I don't have the strength to hold it up with one hand -- same thing with hand embroidery which I used to do a LOT of. I've thought about lap quilting, but I can't tilt my head down so it's hard to see. Perhaps I could get a magnifier & then I could try lap quilting, but I've been thinking about the TL hoop & I think it would still work okay if I put soft weights & had it out in front of me so I could work on my knees or crosslegged. I definitely agree that it's important to change positions so as not to get too stiff ... although, once I got my ergonomic set-up with my machine, I seem to do okay working in 20 minute increments there with 5-10 minute breaks in between. I really hope I can make this work. Some day if I get lucky enough have a husband & adopt children, I would like to hand quilt a special quilt for my husband & each of the kids. There just really is nothing more special than a hand quilted heirloom.

    Thank you again to everyone for the wealth of information! I can't wait to get started on this next month. I'm sure I'll have more questions then, but I've definitely got enough to let "Santa" know what I'd like for Christmas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mem View Post
    Genden said, "My favorite needle is Hiroshima Tulip betweens. These needles can be ordered from Hancocks of Paducah or Amazon. I have tried every needle there is and the H. tulip is so superior there is no comparison."

    What size betweens do you use?
    I started out with size 10, but soon found I liked a size 12 better.

  17. #17
    Super Member Maureen NJ's Avatar
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    I have a Hintenburg hoop, which I love because it rotates in all directions. I have a 22" but I found I had to stretch too much and it hurt my back. I got the 18" hoop and like it much better. Check it out. The fact that it rotates really makes a difference. I like to use a clover thimble that has silicone on the sides and a deep metal top. I use this on my middle finger and, on my thumb, I use a soft silicone cot that is for FMQ but I like it for grasping the needles. I got it at JoAnns. I recently got the spoon for my underhand but haven't used it yet. Goggle spoon quilting for the YouTube link.

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