Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quilt Class 101 - Week 11 - Hand Quilting

Thank you for all your lovely comments regarding my Blogiversary!! There were some Great Random facts about each of you.. very funny! Thank you for sharing them with us... xx Winners will be announced shortly...

Its Quilt Class time again.. These weeks come round so fast!! I swear they keep getting shorter and shorter.
 I have a disclaimer before we start. You will have to excuse the pictures a bit. Some are a little wonky, some a little out of focus, I cropped some because the centre was WAY off!! I had both hands needed for the tutorial.. and so,  I needed the help of my little assistant in taking the pictures. She just turned four and not a master of the camera just yet. The only complaint SHE had was that I was interrupting her watching High School Musical.. She would only take a few quick snaps and that HAD TO DO!!  Now that I have excused my crazy pictures... I have a tutorial for you...
 Hand Quilting
First off... Tools.  For Hand Quilting Cotton, I use a ball of Pearle 8 Cotton. It comes in a large variety of colours. It is the perfect thickness. I mostly use the DMC brand but i do have a couple other brands i have come across that seem great too.  I also use a leather thimble. It has a small metal plate that protects your finger. I wear it on my right hand, middle finger, as this is the finger that does most of the work. The metal plate is just in the perfect spot to help you push the needle through. I have tried the open metal one (below) that you can see but I find I like the flexibility and grip of the leather. Needles are a hard one. These are my favourite so far. Embroidery Needles size 9.  A pair of scissors, and a little zip purse to keep it all in.
 Hand Quilting is one of my favourite parts of making a quilt. Its nice to just sit somewhere and sew. Its relaxing, therapeutic, i just love it.  It also adds a 'handmade' touch to your quilt. It gives a nice soft texture and your quilt drapes beautifully.
OK, Cut a length of cotton. I think text book teaches you about 18 inches or so.. But i always like to do more like 36 inches, so I'm not stopping and starting as much.
Take your length of cotton and tie a single knot in the end.  
I don't like to use a hoop, I tried once and couldn't get it to sit just right. When I hand quilt, I sit on a couch with my knees tucked up and the quilt drapes over them.
 For this quilt I'm going to hand quilt 1/4" from the seam. You can mark your quilt top, sometimes you can see a shadow of the seam underneath to follow, or you can just guess. I usually just guess. Hold the fabric flat in your left hand and the needle in your right. (opposite if your Left handed). I hold the needle between my Thumb and middle finger and guide with my pointer finger. Push your needle down through the three layers, back up, down, then up...
 Pull your thread through till your knot is at the end.
 Give a slight tug and your knot will slip inside and get lodged in your batting.
 Take your needle again and push down through all three layers and back up, down and back up. Try and get your hand in a rocking motion.
 I try and get two or three parts on my needle before i push the needle and thread all the way through.
 Use the metal plate in the thimble to push the needle through.
 Pull the thread all the way through
 Continue your hand quilting and your rocking motion as far as you need to or until you get close to the end of your thread.
Once you get near the end of your thread,
 Make a loop and thread your needle through the loop to create a knot.
 I like to position the knot about 1/2" away from my finishing point.
 Next, put your needle in where your next stitch would go, ONLY through the Top and batting layer. Angle it so it comes up about an inch away from where you are quilting.
 Pull it through and your knot will sit out.
 Give another slight tug, so your knot slips under the top and gets caught in the batting.  Cut off the thread remaining.
 To continue on, get another length of thread and start again. This time your starting in the middle of the Quilt top.  Tie a knot at the end of your thread, start about an inch away from where your previous stitches were.  Put your needle in through your top two layers, be careful not to go all the way through to the back. Bring your needle up right where your next stitch needs to go.
 Pull your thread through.
 Like before, give a slight tug so your knot slips under again...
 And your ready to continue right where you left off....
 Try and keep your stitches as even as you can. I usually snip all my threads once im all finished. Hand quilting can be a little slow to start with, but with practise you will get alot faster. When you flip your quilt over.. You will have the same stitches come through the back.
Continue along...... and your done!
I have decided to do quite a lot of hand quilting on this quilt. Lucky I enjoy it so much!

I hope that helped you. Kate from Kate Conklin Designs has a great Hand Quilting tutorial on her blog. She holds her needle slightly different to me and uses a different type of thimble. You may like to pop over and have a read of hers and see which way suits you best.

Do you have a Hand Quilting Tutorial you would like to Share with us???



  1. so... do you use a hoop of any sort? or do you just baste and go with it?
    i am starting my first hand quilted quilt next week and have been searching for tutorials and yours was perfect timing!

  2. Great tutorial! You have lovely hands... :P

  3. I was taught to hand quilt 40 years by a circle of octogenarians from the church I attended at the time, and they all had been quilting all their lives. They told me that 'correct' quilting has 18-22 stitches per inch!!! Can you imagine? I'm lucky if I get 8-10! Your quilting is lovely-and I think what make it stand out is that your stitches are even. Makes all the difference in the world!

  4. Thank you for the lovely tutorial. I love hand quilting, but I never like the way I do it. I am hoping now I can give it another go and do better. I have large hands, do you think this matters?


  5. I discovered hand quilting in January and love it! It adds texture and a special accent to the quilt and makes is seem more special. It's also nice to have a project to do on the couch in the evenings. Productive TV watching is what I like to call it!

    This tutorial is perfect and full of great pictures. I'll be sharing this with my friends who quilt to spread the hand quilting word.

  6. Another great tutorial that I will send people to often!!
    Now I'm off to do the linky thing!
    Andi x

  7. many thanks for the tips for handquilting. I like handquilting, my quilts are all handsewed. can you say me, if you start handquilting in the center of the quilt?
    have a good day
    mg elfriede

  8. Your photographer did a great job to enhance your tutorial. Thank you!

  9. well i think indi takes great shots!!! i soooo want to get started on my quilt...maybe this weekend :)

  10. Thanks for the great tutorial!! Makes me want to start a new project to try it out on :)

  11. I am intrigued by this thimble with the metal plate in it. I go thru thimbles like water as I do lots of hand quilting but have really been unable to find one particular one that suits my needs. I tried to find good pictures of this one you show online but to no avail. Curious!!

  12. thanks for the greast tutorial, I have always wanted to try hand quilting but just did not grasp the full picture. your photos help me alot

  13. Hi Rebecca! Thank you for a lovely post! I love hand quilting and have made two small quilts like that. The quilt becomes so beautiful when it has those colourful stitches!
    Sunny stitching time!
    xxx Teje

  14. Thanks for the tutorial. It is a very clear.

  15. I can't wait to try a small project. That thread just pops.

  16. great tutorial..thank you...awesome photographs! I've loads of PC balls and I have yet to try handquilting with it. Been seeing lots of great work using PC #8.

  17. great! thanks fro sharing, I'd love to try hand-quilting next time


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