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Thread: Hand Quilting - need encouragement

  1. #1
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Today I worked on quilting my first hand quilted project (aside from a potholder). I don't know, I wanted to do the hand quilting to learn a new technique and because everyone says how relaxing it can be, but I don't feel good about how it's coming out. I want smaller, more even stitches and it just seems like it is physically impossible for me.

    On the one hand, I feel like of course it isn't relaxing, the first day. I had to keep looking up tutorials and stuff, and even had some in-person demonstration from DH's grandma. I find knitting incredibly relaxing, but when I first started it drove me nuts, so this is probably the same.

    On the other hand, I just want some tips and encouragement, so please, help me out!

    BTW - the colors are SO different than these pics show. The back is BLUE, not green, and the border around the animal panel is pastel purple.
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  2. #2
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    I think you're doing great! Looks nice for the first time!

  3. #3
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    I think your quilting looks real good! Don't be so hard on yourself!

  4. #4
    Super Member LindaMRB's Avatar
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    If this is your first try, cut yourself some slack.
    Looks better than what I did on my first whole quilt.
    Even now, the one I am hand quilting, the stitches are uneven.
    I find if I put it down for a week and come back, I struggle getting small stitches again.
    SO I quilt a little here, a little there and hope it all blends in.

    The thickness and the fabric all pay a part in how easy or hard it is...

  5. #5
    Super Member LindaMRB's Avatar
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    If this is your first try, cut yourself some slack.
    Looks better than what I did on my first whole quilt.
    Even now, the one I am hand quilting, the stitches are uneven.
    I find if I put it down for a week and come back, I struggle getting small stitches again.
    SO I quilt a little here, a little there and hope it all blends in.

    the thickness and the fabric all pay a part in how easy or hard it is...

  6. #6
    Super Member BluegrassGurl's Avatar
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    Kudos to you for trying! Your first attempt is much better than mine was. Please do not give up. The more you do... the easier it gets.....and more relaxing.

    I found this video very helpful and inspiring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVXSGob_lKo.

    Keep on keeping on girlfriend!

  7. #7
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Thank you, everybody.

    I think the flannel backing makes it a little harder. I did a little test sandwich and thought "Oh, it'll be okay", but now I'm kind of wishing I'd chosen something else. However, it is a baby quilt and the flannel will be nice and cozy.

    It seems like i'll get better for a little bit, then I take a break and come back and the stitches are all long and messed up again.

  8. #8
    Senior Member grannyQ's Avatar
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    With being your first hand quilting project you have done great. It will get easier to do. Just like everything else, practice on small projects first.

  9. #9
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    Well, welcome to the "practicing stage," Butterfly! That's what I've been doing too. My hand is having a problem - doesn't want to cooperate where I want the stitches to go. My 7YO recently wanted me to show her how to quilt. Of course, she has to hold the needle the best she can at her age. I pulled out a sample piece with a design of diamonds in dots. After a few minutes, she got the hang of it and got that needle exactly in the center of each dot (down and up through the fabric. It has helped me too to visualize the actual size of the stitches I want. May feel elementary for you, but might be good visual training. Good luck, to you and me!

  10. #10
    deema's Avatar
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    I know what you mean...I tried a quick test sandwich to see if it was plausible for me to hand quilt something for my grandmother...it wasn't pretty (I say that as a quilter, looking for nice pretty stitches...my 5yo thought it was awesome - it was just a heart stitched into a charm sized sandwich...LOL). I'm sure it's one of those things that just comes with practice. We'll both get there eventually. I might make myself a table runner or something and use that for practice - big enough to take some time and really give me practice...small enough to not be overwhelming and make me feel like I will never finish it...and not something I'll be super concerned that it will fall apart from use. LOL

  11. #11
    Super Member greenini's Avatar
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    It looks great! It gets easier the more you do it, really. If you want to practice, one of the hand quilting courses used a gingham fabric to help judge the size and eveness of the stitches. That is one of the keys, they say, try for evenness at first rather then size and size will come.

  12. #12
    Super Member Pat P's Avatar
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    Handquilting is like basketmaking. As long as you do it all,no one will very say or notice anything. Like anything else it takes practice. If you are a perfecionist you'll either improve or not enjoy it. My stitches were not 12 to the inch or whatever but they were MINE. I had a cousin that would shine a flashlight under the quilt to count the stitches, that worked for her, think she made all of 2 quilts in her lifetime. Good luck, don't give up! Remember more love than perfection goes into quilts.

  13. #13
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    BlueGrassgurl - Thanks for the video link, but apparently my computer decided to quit making sound, so I'll have to check it out later after I get the problem fixed.

  14. #14
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    I don't know why it is bugging me so much - I am SO not a perfectionist, esp. at quilting. Maybe tomorrow I won't care so much? I can hope.

    I know one of my friends has a quilt with WONDERFUL hand stitching, and I commented on it, and she said it was because she ripped out and redid it until it was right. But that's the only one she's ever finished.

  15. #15
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Texasjunebug - my daughter is 5 and is making a quilt for her baby doll. She made a little potholder for her play kitchen, and for quilting she just does stab stitching. I've tried to show her the other way, but it just doesn't connect, so I let her do what she can/wants to.

  16. #16
    Super Member mommamac's Avatar
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    I'm impressed with your results & don't think you are giving yourself enough credit.

    When I first did hand quilting I used 'tiger tape' - it's marked to help you stitch evenly. Maybe this is something that would be helpful to you. Here's a link:
    http://www.tigertape.com

  17. #17
    Senior Member merrylouw's Avatar
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    Getting the hang of hand quilting takes time and practice -- just like any other part of quilting! So, just relax, take your time and enjoy the ride. First, practice getting your stitches even (not small). Then work on getting them smaller.

    Yes, the flannel backing is probably making it harder for you, but it will be cozy.

    And, finally, there's no hand quilting police here. The baby won't know the difference!

  18. #18
    Super Member skydiver70's Avatar
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    I think your doing fine. I like the way you basted it first, that helps to keep it from slipping. I can't make small stitches, no matter how much I try.

  19. #19
    Junior Member annlouise's Avatar
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    Your quilt is beautiful and handstitching it gives it more of You. I finished the quilt in my Avatar with quite a bit of outline handquilting and I enjoyed it. I used pearl cotton and did big outline stitches - not big enough to catch your finger or toe but they stand out as another accent to the design. As soon as I outlined one or two of the stars I could step back and see the difference. It looked OK and believe me my stitches were not uniform or totally even but it looked good. I would do another using big handquilting for decoration and my quilting foot for straight stitch in the ditch and grid line quilting.

  20. #20
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Mommamac - I don't know if my stitches are small enough to use tiger tape! Also I'm trying use things I have on hand, but I wonder if I could somehow improvise the same sort of thing at home.

  21. #21
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    It looks great to me, and the elephant made my heart melt!

    I stink at hand quilting. Just awful. So this year I'm tackling a hand piecing project first to get more dexterous with a needle and thread, and then I'll use this quilt to practice hand quilting, too.

    We are always our own worst critics. Let yourself off the hook - the results look fantastic!

  22. #22
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    annlouis - have you posted a pic of your avatar quilt that you can link to for me? I would love to see a larger picture, it looks very unique and beautiful.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Dandish's Avatar
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    I think it looks really good! It takes practice. I don't hand quilt - yet....I'm going to give a go at some point.

  24. #24
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    [quote=JulieR]It looks great to me, and the elephant made my heart melt!
    /quote]

    Thanks! I really like this panel, it's a leftover piece from a remnant I bought off the $1 table, but it looks so cute. :lol:

  25. #25
    Gal
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    I think you should stop beating yourself up, there is nothing wrong with your quilting, I think it looks fine!

    Gal

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