Hand Quilting – Patience Is The Key

Of the types, hand quilting is probably the least prevalent type today, although it was once the only way that there was to make a quilt. It certainly can take the longest, which is why extreme patience is required. For many of us, this form is synonymous with the pioneer women of long ago. These projects could take months even years to make depending upon how much time you had to devote to the project. There still are many modern women who prefer to hand quilt, some who prefer this form over using a sewing machine. The process requires a hoop or frame, needles, a thimble, and thread designed for this type of quilting. The hoop generally looks like a larger version of an embroidery hoop, and can be made of wood or plastic. They are not always round, some being rectangular or even square. These hoops can be lap hoops or hoops with a floor stand. They generally come in sizes such as 14 inches, 18 inches and 24 inches. They are deeper than embroidery hoops because they have to hold the sandwich of quilt top, batting, and quilt back, pulling all three layers taut for stitching.

Quilt frames are much larger than hoops and are designed for really large projects. Both hoops and frames by holding the quilt stretched tight also prevent puckers in the quilt.

There are a variety of quilt hoops and frames for hand quilting to choose from at allbrands.com Needles for hand quilting are called betweens, and are generally smaller and stronger than regular sewing needles. The size of these needles is 9, 10, 11 and 12. Size 9 needles have the largest eye and size 12 needles having the smallest eye. These needles have to be strong to prevent them from bending or breaking while the quilter is stitching through the multiple layers of fabric in the quilt.

The thread used should be 100% cotton if the quilt fabric is 100% cotton. If the quilt is a mix of cotton and polyester, then the thread should be a cotton and polyester mix. Also, the thread should be the color closest to the color of the quilt.

There are also some resources at amazon.com for those that have an interest in quilting by hand. One such resource is:

Quilting by Hand: Simple Stitches, Exquisite Quilts – by Jinny Beyer.

These quilts can give that vintage look reminiscent of a bygone era. Although time consuming, if you want that antique look, then this is the quilting method for you.

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