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Hand Quilting Made Easy

Posted by Quilting Bee on

Now that quilting machines are widely available, hand quilting is often considered the last option. This is because hand quilting is associated with finger sore and pain, eats up a lot of time, and seems a laborious process. Yet, there are still a good number of quilters who devote themselves to hand quilting and, while putting up with these kinds of drawback, manage to come up with beautifully and intricately designed quilts and receive awe and admiration from peers. Their works, which yield a classical appeal, eventually become some sort of a standard.

How do they do it? Aside from not having their drive sapped by the thought of hand quilting being hard, time-consuming, and painful, they apply some techniques to make the activity more fun and enjoyable. Since then, they experience minimal, if not zero, difficulty or pain. You can do it as well, and here’s how:

  1. Use a thimble. This will keep the middle finger, which maneuvers and pushes the eye end of the needle, from sore and needle pricks. There are now various options for thimbles. There are those that are designed for people with long nails and those that address sweating. In place of a commercial thimble, some quilters use homemade thimbles made from leather scraps and other like materials. 

  2. Quilt with a hoop or frame. A quilting hoop is more like an embroidery hoop that holds and stretches out the quilt, making it steady. This consequently keeps a proper tension and makes stitching a lot easier. But unlike an embroidery hoop, in which a fabric for embroidery is tightly tucked, quilting hoop functions best when the quilt is loosely attached. The center of the quilt must be pushed down and the sides should be hanging loosely. 

  3. Keep the thread, at the most, 18 inches long. If it is too long, the thread is more likely to get tangled. It is also best to thread all the needles before beginning the actual quilting session. Doing so will keep you from stopping to thread again and again.

  4. Use smaller needles. In quilting, smaller stitches are more ideal, but the problem with hand quilting is often about the stitches being large, uneven, and non-identical. Smaller needles can solve this problem.

  5. Practice hand movement and rhythm to perfect stitch size and consistency. This will be at first difficult, but as you progress from project to project, you will be able to make beautiful stitches. The key here is not to be overly obsessed with the size of the stitch. Focus on the stitch evenness first; after a while, making smaller stitches will come almost naturally.

  6. Stick to tools and materials that you are most comfortable working with. But try to experiment with different kinds of brand every once in a while because manufacturers are always introducing innovative products. 

  7. Remember that hand quilting is a continuously improving craft and that quilting techniques are developed every now and then; therefore, never stop learning from different people and other sources even if you’ve become a master yourself. 

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