Hand Quilting

Today I met with a group of ladies to work on hand quilting a quilt. These are wonderful ladies that have taught me everything I know about hand quilting. 

I want to pass on the tips they have taught me. It is pretty simple, but there are a few tricks that will leave a nice finish on the quilt. 

To begin, the desired quilting motif is drawn on the quilt with a Frixon pen. Then the quilt is sandwiched and basted together. 

Butterfly quilting motif traced on striped fabric

The ladies recommend using waxed thread. It helps the thread from tangling and is easier to work with. Beeswax for thread is usually available at the usual quilting stores. 

Start stitching by tying a small quilters knot. Bury the knot by putting your needle through only the top layer and coming back out where you want to start stitching.

Burying a knot while hand quilting

Gently pull on the thread until the knot goes through only the first layer of fabric. If it is not going through, use a smaller knot or use another needle to help push it through. Cut any tails still sticking out. 

A buried knot while hand quilting

When stitching, the easiest thing to do is to rock the needle back a forth to make multiple stitches before pulling the thread through. I usually have a hand under the fabric to help put the fabric in place. A lot of people use thimbles or their fingernails to help push the needle through. 

Rocking needle motion while hand quilting.

The hardest thing is to try to have the stitches evenly spaced and consistent. It takes some practice. 

Sewing stitches while hand quilting.

I find it easiest to stitch right to left. This is something that is personal preference. I met someone recently that likes to stitch in circles rather than straight lines. 

Hand quilting a quilt with butterflies

When you get to the end of the thread, tie another quilters knot with enough room to bury it into the fabric. 

Yellow Butterfly Stripe Quilt ready to be hand quilted

I encourage everyone to try hand quilting. I like to learn a little bit about everything about quilting. I know it is hard to be good at everything, but I want to make sure I am well rounded in the quilting world. I do prefer machine quilting to hand quilting, but there are some projects where hand quilting is best.

Have fun sewing!

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