There is a resurgence in what my generation called handwork. Embroidery, working in wool, English paper-piecing, and now hand quilting are gaining in popularity.
At a recent show, many of the new generation of quilters wanted to know how to get started. In the “old” days, I was considered an expert hand quilter because I could quilt 12 to 15 stitches per inch. These are my favorite tools and hints….
If you want to achieve tiny stitches, use a light weight polyester batting. Cotton batting is thicker and is harder to quilt.
I never learned how to use a traditional metal thimble. I prefer leather thimbles because they mold to my finger. Goat skin thimbles are virtually indestructible. The finger tip version comes in several sizes.
Item #FTMD Retail $17.40 (Medium)
If thimbles tend to slip off of your finger, try this version….
Item #KT-1SZ Retail $19.00
Start with a 17″ Q-Snap frame. An entire 12″ block can be quilted without moving the frame – and can be quilted in an evening. It is easy to manipulate and turn as needed. Most people can only quilt in one direction so floor frames are limiting.
Item #SF17QS Retail $18.75
There is an old adage – The smaller the needle, the shorter the stitch. I have found that I can get perfectly small stitches with a size 9 Colonial Between needle. This needle has a larger eye so it is easy to thread and is strong enough so that it doesn’t break when quilting.
Item #CB120-09 Retail $2.03
Quilting thread is a cotton thread that is coated to give it strength and make it easier to glide through the fabric without fraying. It is only used for hand quilting – not piecing. It comes in a variety of colors.
Item #201M-0928 Retail $4.19
Consistency is more important than the number of stitches per inch. In the beginning, use a water soluble marker to mark dots every eighth inch. This will give you a “target” for your needle.
Use a print for the backing. A print hides any uneven stitches while you are learning.
Choose a quilting thread that matches the fabric. Wait until you have perfected the stitch before moving on to an accent thread.
Rock the needle until you have three stitches on the needle. More than that makes it difficult to pull the needle through the fabric. After you are more experienced, you can increase the stitches.
Avoid seams when possible – and when you can’t, stab stitch through the bulk. This is when you will LOVE a thimble!
Start now! Many of us can no longer hand quilt because of carpal tunnel, arthritis, and eye sight issues.