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Monday, January 2, 2012

Tip for today: Keep ‘em loaded!


If you are a quilter who pieces on a machine, you probably do the same thing I do:  load up several bobbins all at once so you don’t have to keep stopping to load.  Am I right?

I do the same thing when I am hand quilting on a frame or hoop.  No, I don’t load a bobbin, I load several needles with knotted thread.  And, in addition to that, I usually will have at LEAST three needles in the works at any one time.  In the picture above, you might be able to see the three needles I have going in the border of this quilt.  They are circled in red.  (Click on the photo to enlarge.) Because I usually quilt in a hoop now rather than a frame, my goal is to do as much stitching on what is currently in the hoop as possible before I shift the hoop to another position.  So if I have several needles going at once, I don’t have to keep stopping to reload. I’ll quilt as much as I can in a straight line with one needle and stop, pick up another needle and quilt with that one, and go to the third.  It seems to move me across the hoop much faster, and I don’t have to keep knotting, snipping, threading the needle, etc. 

At least in MY mind it’s much faster. 


From underneath you can see the corner where I’ve been working on the border, along with a few brass safety pins used for basting.

Do you have any tips you can share?  We’d love to hear them!


  1. I sometimes have several needles going at once but not all the time. It does seem to save time. I do it more at my big frame then when I am working with a hoop though. And yes I do up several bobbins at a time before I start machine piecing -

  2. I to load up bobbins and needles. I think it saves time!
    Am a big fan of little things that saves me some time, so that I can spend time on what I like.

  3. I guess I am not as efficient as I could be, but I do one needle and thread at a time. I twist and turn my hoop so much when I quilt that having more than one going at a time would create a knotted mess. I admire anyone who can keep tabs on more than one thread at a time

  4. I usually only have one needle going at a time, but I do like to load up the needles and have them ready and yes, I load up several bobbins for the machine at a time too!

    Happy New Year!

  5. I tend to have several needles going at once to save ending and starting rather than the time saving aspect. I keep the needle working along one line and move to another needle when I've run out of space in the hoop for that one... No tangles!

  6. Usually I have several threads with needles on my work, but not only that. To save myself time to thread needles, I take a whole package of needles and thread them on the spool. So when I need a new thread, I take the first needle of the 5/6/10 needles, shove the remaining needles backwards towards the spool and cut of the yard of the thread, including an already threaded needle! Great job for children too...;-)

  7. Has anyone hand quilted "Over" an embroidered piece? Any hints Julierose


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