Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reminders to Self about Hand Quilting - W.i.P. Wednesday

This is my very scrappy String-X a la Bonnie Hunter.  What you see in this photo is essentially all I have left to hand quilt.  Do you think I can quilt it in two weeks?  I hope so.  I will be so thrilled to have this finished!

Notes to myself as a beginning hand quilter.  

Choose your thread carefully.  Use the same color of thread as the fabric you're quilting, or at least choose a thread that blends or mostly disappears into the fabric.  That way your novice abilities won't be so obvious.  Once you're an expert hand quilter you can use a different color of thread so your stitches will stand out.  By then you will appreciate that people will notice your quilting skills.

Press seams open!  Seams pressed to one side are hard to push a needle through.  Sometimes a seam with two layers of fabric overlaps another seam with two layers of fabric.  (You can just barely see it in the photo to the right, where the colored corners are.  You can click the photos to enlarge them.)  That's four layers just for the seams.  Add the top of the quilt and the back of the quilt and you're quilting through 6 layers in the finished quilt.  Six layers are too many!  Press seams open and it will be easier to quilt.

Improve the pin basting.  Find a way to prevent the loop end of the pin from catching the fabric and making a hole.  Maybe a small bead on the pin before putting it into the fabric would prevent the holes.  Or maybe tie a knot with a large string and slide it down to the end of the pin with the circle.  If you can't find a solution to prevent the holes, thread baste!

About penciled lines.  Following lines in quilting is boring.  It's like coloring in a coloring book instead of making your own drawing or painting.

Get a good thimble and use it to push the needle through.

Build up callouses on your fingers and keep them.  That means quilting every day.  Until you have callouses, you'll have sore fingers.  And never, never, never, never hand quilt immediately after washing your hands!  It makes even calloused fingers so soft that the back end of the needle might poke through your fingers.  Wait till your hands are completely dry.

I'm linking this post to W.i.P. Wednesday at FreshlyPieced.  Thank you, Lee and Svetlana.

Thanks for visiting.


  1. Wow! Someday I would love to do hand quilting. I love Bonnie's patterns too.

    1. Bonnie is so generous to make so many patterns available. Some I have fallen in love with, others I can leave, but that's mostly because they seem too complicated for me (just now). Thanks for coming to visit, Beth.

  2. You do beautiful work, Nancy - both piecing and hand quilting. I hope you post photos of this beautiful quilt when you have it done. There is something very inspiring about it - makes me want to run to my sewing room and start sewing!

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Karen. I guess because I can see the work close up I can see so much room for improvement. I will be so thrilled to have this finished I'm sure I'll post photos. Yes, yes, sew! Do you quilt, too?

  3. Love the photo of your hand quilting! And the notes you wrote were very interesting to read! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Love your quilt and especially your hand quilting!

    I would not personally press my seams open, you would then only have thread holding your two pieces of fabric together. If you already know how you're going to quilt it, you can press the seams to your advantage. Also, you can clip your seams if you want to prevent them from creating shadows in your white areas. These are a few things I've recently learned and have found to be true. :D

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights, Tabatha. I'll begin thinking about how I'll quilt earlier from now on.


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