Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hand Quilting and all that...

I tried to figure out a good visual to add to this post on hand quilting. There isn't all that much I can say or photo...hand quilting is what it is. To me, it is what quilting is all about and I love sitting to quilt. For the first time ever, a few months ago I put my quilt frame away with a quilt on it that was just STARTED. I won't do that again. Part of the interest in quilting is the starting. Getting out the new needles...I use new needles on each new project...and threading up the first dozen. Deciding on the stencil for the first border and marking the pattern, usually with my Pounce. Sitting at the frame and looking and looking at the blocks and choosing the way they will be quilted. But here I am, sitting to quilt, and all of the fun things have been done...and I might add...some have been forgotten. I can't find my lamp that clips onto the cross member of the frame, and slides along to be right where I need it. It's not in any of the usual places, and I believe I will have to go and buy another, assuming that I can find the one I want. I can't find the strips which I use to tighten the quilt on the frame. ARGH....I may have to make new ones. Inspiration is oozing away through my pores. This quilt has to be finished for the end of May. I should be INHALING inspiration instead of feeling it depart my body. This is not good. Maybe tomorrow will be better. It can't be any worse!!

There are only a few things critical to successful hand quilting, other than the will to spend the hours it takes to complete a quilt. Good lighting is the most important and for me, that comes from a little lamp that attaches to my frame and moves along with me. I have friends who use an OTT Light on a stand with wheels that can be located wherever they want it. I still prefer the one that warms my nose as I am leaning over the quilt.

Lots and lots of needles and YLI thread comes next. I thread a dozen needles at a time and never get up from my project without checking that there are plenty of needles ready for starting up again. Nothing is worse than sitting down to quilt and finding that the needles aren't threaded. The YLI thread is a must as it doesn't twist or knot and moves smoothly through the layers of your quilt. I have two colors: light brown and ecru. That's it. Since I don't have any white in my stash, I have no need for white quilting thread which I really don't like at all.

Small needle nosed pilers help to pull the loaded needle through the fabric, being careful not to bend the needle as you draw it through. Those little John James #10 needles bend easily enough. I know people who use tinier needles than those, but I can't do anything smaller and there are people who think the JJ#10 are pretty small. They do bend...I go through a couple of packages of needles on a big quilt because you don't want to sew with a bent needle. Right now I am using a jelly thimble and the jury is out on that one. I like it but that little flat-top metal thimble has done just fine for me over the years. For my under finger, I cannot manage with Thimble-its. I cut the little ovals in two and once I got used to them, I never quilt without one.

Add a chair that adjusts and great music and you're good to go. Now I know people doing great quilts on hoops on their laps. More power to them. They are producing more than me. But when I sit to work at the final stage of a project, the items above help me to go at it with enthusiasm and desire.

1 comment:

  1. Anne, great post , it would be so helpful to those just starting hand quilting . I could have used some of those hints before I started ;-) I have some of those thimble its but must confess don't use them and maybe I better start as I always have sore fingers .You should do a little program on these things at the guild, I am sure that the girls would love it !