Hand quilting is alive and well all around the world! Join with fellow hand quilters to share techniques, tips,
and the BEAUTIFUL quilts being made by others who share your passion for quilting... by HAND!

Monday, February 27, 2012

my loves and the rest

By Fran├žoise Lietaert

So I'll start out with the things about quilting that I absolutely love :
I love to design and lose myself in the proces. It's as if I'm in a kind of trance when things go well.

I love feathers, in every way. Actually, I started an Amish-style top just to be able to design and quilt feathers to my heart's delight. We are not talking about a finishing date here. 

The  pictures I added are details from quilts I have made so far. They only contain feathers in the borders, the more classical way I think.

the above is from what I call my millennium quilt. It's rather simple, combined with parallel lines to form a cable. I was on a very thight time schedule here because of a competition.

You can hardly see this one. It's a very simple feather in the border with the classical turn around the corners.

This again is a border. Unfortunatly, I am not able to make a picture where you can see the whole quilting on the border because some places the fabric is rather busy and you can see it only when you pay attention to it in real sight. It is a small border where I did an other solution to turn the corner.

I also love to design my whole quilts as well, usually starting from (a) fabric(s) I happen to buy. 

What I do not like (and that's an understatement) is to baste. So the quilt I'm currently working on, I basted with those curved safety pins. I don't like that either. It gets stuck between the rings of my stand, which is a Hinterberger for those interested.

And what I hate is to do the binding. It takes forever. And ever.

 But for now, I 'll go work on some ideas I got in my bed last night, for a quilt I'm designing. Yippie!  Enjoy yourself too today (and tomorrow )

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Likes and dislikes

By Berit Hansen Gilde

Star patterns - love those! Hand or machine pieced, I love the symmetric effect, I suppose. Not a great fan of the wonky stars, even thou I do see the charm. Love old patterns like the DJ and Nearly Insane.

Basting. Really do not like crawling around on the floor hand basting big quilts. But since I rather want to spend my money on fabrics and notions than pay someone machine baste for me, I have no right to complane :-).

Friday, February 17, 2012

My likes and dislikes

By Annemart Berendse

Great topic, Caron! Althought I just posted, I couldn't let the opportunity go... Preferences for hand quilters can be so different from machine quilters! So here are my preferences:

  • Variegated Egyptian cotton, thin and bright, like King Tut or Valdani (check them out...)
  • A closed sturdy thimble, that fits just right (hey, do I hear the name TJ Lane popping up again?!;-))
  • A regular stitch that is the same all over (no matter whether it's 8 or 20 stitches on an inch)
  • The liveliness of the fabric next to a quilt line, where the fabric goes up and down. A machine quilting stitch is just down.
  • Having a few hours to finish a certain area to near perfection.
  • Soft tight woven cotton, that doesn't split when quilted.
  • A perfect curve
  • A fine grid
  • Quilting needles #12
  • The look of a quilt on a frame or in a hoop itself!
  • Cheap printed cotton with the rubbery grey on the back
  • Thick seams, although a rocking stitch helps a lot!
  • Old needles
  • Callus on my underhand
Love to see all the other contributors lists!

Have fun quilting!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hand Quilters Likes and Dislikes

Hand quilters often think differently than other quilters.  When you're a hand quilter, you focus more on the quilting stitch; how it will look, what design will best fit an area, how to achieve that puckered, even stitch. 

Hand quilters, join in on this discussion and tell us what you like... and what you don't like about the quilting process!

I'll start the ball rolling!


When I design a quilt, I like wide open spaces without seams so that I have a lot of room to showcase (hand quilting) stitches.

I like fabrics that aren't so busy that the design hides my quilting stitches in a shroud of print.  Solid, textural blenders are perfect for hand quilting!


I really don't like quilting through a lot of thick seams. 

The basting process is a real drag. I baste with little brass pins, and then when I quilt, the thread always gets caught on the pins.  UGH.

Your turn!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Pattern I am in Love With

By: Karen Goad

Wow – how to pick out a favorite pattern. I rarely design my own patterns. Most of the time I find a pattern I like and often make changes to it making it my own, but I start with someone else’s idea – A lot of us are not quite artistic and creative enough to get started totally on our own Smile Sometimes when I like a pattern I see I make it just as I see it and sometimes even using the same color of fabrics that are in the original design – especially if it was the combination of color and design that attracted me to it in the first place.

Now back to the pattern I am in love with – – I change my mind so often. Right now I can tell you that the next queen size quilt that I want to make is one of Edyta Stars patterns called Common Bride” it is beautiful. I love the colors, I love the pattern – the only change that I intend to make to it is adding another border to it in order for it to fit my bed. click on the name of the quilt and it will bring you to the pattern and you can see how beautiful it is yourself. If you click on the photo of the pattern it will enlarge so you can see it better. I love a combination of piecing and applique (needle turn). Hand quilted of course Smile


I have not purchased this pattern at this time but it is one thing that I plan on looking for at the Paducah Quilt Show in April. I love the colors – browns/pinks some greens and blues – tiny patchwork blocks that can be done up in numerous shades of those colors.

I will not start this quilt though until sometime next year - I really need to finish a few things first!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The pattern I love most

By Annemart Berendse

For February Caron asked us: what pattern do you love most? Well actually, I have to confess, I made only one pattern, a Broken Star. And I made the template and calculated all measurements myself. I never used a kit. Nor did I recreate, other than in class, a quilt made by somebody else. I can't. I just can't. I see the designs of Di Ford and all, and it does not inspire me, although I like the quilts.

To me quilting (and shoe decorating, but that's another story) is about being creative and original. And that means I try to make my own thing. So I make my own Broken Star template, and think of the colors I would like to use and search in every quilt shop until the right colors are there. Or I think of a half square triangle quilt and experiment with color. Or I get a gift like a jelly roll, take it all apart and use it with other fabric. I only once made a quick quilt from one jelly roll. And I wasn't happy about it.

So what pattern I love most? A pattern that gives me the opportunity to search for every color on the color wheel. A pattern that is challenging, brings me out of my comfort zone, without creating panic in my mind. Applique, trapunto, cording, stippling, all by hand.

I know what my favorite pattern is. It is my next quilt. What it will be? Don't know. But something with a lot of color, applique, trapunto...

Have fun quilting!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quilt Marking

By Rose Marie Castonguay

There are times when I'm working on a project, I know right off the bat what hand quilting designs to use. Then there are the times when nothing sings to me. Or after the top has been sandwiched, everything changes or I want more designs added.

For my pumpkin quilt, the centre portion got marked up, sandwiched and hand quilted fairly quickly. For the borders, nothing came to mind until much later and then it hit me what I should do. It should be easy, right? Nope, not that easy. For this quilt, I used Hobbs Poly-Down batting and how can you mark borders when the centre portion has already been quilted and the borders don't lay flat and are kind of puffed up? My DH came to the rescue by cutting out a wooden template of my quilting hoop. He just traced the inside of the hoop onto a piece of 1" thick board.

Then he cut out the template using a jig saw and sanded the cut areas afterwards.

Now, I can place the board inside my hoop and lay a border section on top and then place the outer hoop section on, secure it and then trace whatever design I want. This way, everything is taut and my border lays flat. Much easier. Before having this board and with my quilt in the hoop, I tried using some books underneath the quilt but nothing stayed in place and the markings were not that great. They were crooked, etc. Now, this is making me very happy.

The one drawback to the board is that it is very heavy to handle. A year has passed and now I am wondering if a piece of styrofoam would work?

Following the same process, my hoop was traced onto a 1" piece of styrofoam ....

... and then cut out using a knife. Much easier than a jig saw.

It fits nicely into my hoop.

Yes, it works very well. The border section that is in my hoop gets marked up, the styrofoam template is removed and then hand quilting takes place. Both the wooden and styrofoam work well. All that is needed is a firm surface to work on.

I have just finished quilting the borders on my pumpkin quilt and it is now ready for finishing. Oh, happy days!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


By Grace Thorne

New contributor here...My name is Grace, and I live in coastal southern Maine currently. I lived in the Boston area until 2001 when I came to Maine for family reasons. I prefer city life so call myself "cityquilter" not affiliated with the New York shop of the same name.  I am currently unemployed, so I have lots of time to sew and quilt. I started quilting in 1979, drawn in by amish quilts.  I love the simplicity, the color and the densely quilted patterns.  I do this for fun and hardly ever make blue ribbon quilts.  Here is my current quilting project.  It's an amish center diamond made from fabric I bought on a trip to Lancaster a couple of years ago. I am down to the last very wide border and corner squares.  I'm using matching thread because that is traditional for amish quilts.  I have mostly used Mettler quilting thread, but have some King Tut and Aurifil in my stash also.  The batting is a cotton/wool blend I bought from Buffalo Batt several years ago.  It needles very nicely but has no bonding, so it also beards quite a bit.  I enjoy seeing all the quilting projects posted, and the Hawaiian really caught my eye because I am currently appliqueing a bed-size Hawaiian done with an orange flame batik on white.  Thanks for "visiting" and looking!

Monday, February 6, 2012

What's in my Frame

By Pippa Moss

I am still hand quilting my large purple and white Hawaiian quilt, Pilani. I have outlined all parts of the quilt and am now filling in the remaining echo quilting lines. I hope to have it completed by July so that it can go off to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham in August.

I use a Q-snap floor frame which has worked well for me. The frame is at the right height to sit at comfortably, and rest my forearms on the frame edges. It is light enough to move around the room - it lives in a corner!
You can see in this picture that the echo quilting is not marked, I just insert a line of pins (using a small ruler to measure the 1/2") and use those as a guide.

You can see more of the Pilani pattern in this photo - wool wadding is being used and it quilts up very nicely.

Perhaps you can see the quilting stitches more clearly in this picture. These frames do not last forever - my first lasted about 20 years, then the plastic gave up and I had to buy another! Luckily, I found one cheaply on Ebay. The quilts do have to be carefully basted before using this frame - I do it with lots of safety pins to hold the three layers firmly in place. The plastic caps allow you to reposition the quilt freely and also to adjust the tension.

I do have two other frames that I am meaning to try - I just haven't had time just yet.... this is a traditional British frame, it is very simple and consists of two long poles with webbing and two "swords" or uprights that go through two slots in either end of the long poles. The idea is to sew the backing onto the webbing fore and aft, then lay the batting or wadding on top of the backing. The top is also sewn onto the webbing at the front edge - then the far side is "needled in " or secured with pins or needles. As the quilting was completed in one width, the quilt was rolled up and a new section secured with pins, quilting across until the quilt was complete. This particular frame is not full size - it is only 48" wide and the cross pieces are about a yard long. As I am so interested in antique quilts I will certainly be making a small wholecloth quilt on this frame. The webbing that is on there now is hession or burlap and is a bit rotten, so I will have to remove the tacks and replace it with new webbing.

The other frame is similar but slightly more complex, as it is a folding frame; the two sides are like an X with the quilt held across the top. I think this dates from the 50's or 60's although it could possibly be older. Not sure how big this frame is - I keep saying that I will get it out and assemble it, but have not gotten around to it.

I also have smaller hoops both round and square and these are fine for quilting - most of my earlier quilts were quilted with hoops. I always advise students to see how interested they are in quilting before spending lots of money - simple tools are just fine when you are starting out - then when you know that you are "bitten" you can start spending more money!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In the hoop

I wanted to show ya'll what I have been quilting on. Now I'm not a very fast quilter but I sure love to quilt thou. This quilt is huge, did not know it was going to be this big when I first started it and I'm afraid it will take me a while to finish.

Picture this, it's on a king size bed and it hangs over the sides.
Yes it will be a while.

Here is a little of what I've done. Nothing fancy, this quilt is very busy with very little open space so I thought the best way to handle that is just with outline quilting, 1/4 inch.

Till next time

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Square Hoop

By Audrey Easter

I'm a little late to this 'Whats in my hoop' party. What fun to see all the different quilts being hand stitched at this very moment! This is quilt made from a Pat Sloan pattern featured in an old American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. It was slow going with the hand quilting in the beginning as I dithered back and forth with marking, not marking, taking out the curved, wavy lines, leaving them in etc. etc. Finally I found a rhythm that is working and I'm loving the casually, imperfect look of my stitching for this quilt. I used to always use a round wooden hoop for the majority of my hand quilting and this plastic square hoop just for the border work. Then, one day I decided to use this hoop for the entire quilt and I've never went back. It was a little awkward at first trying to figure out how to hold it just right, but being able to quilt right up into the corners makes it worth the effort. It has a crack in the right plastic clamp but I'm babying it along until it's completely unusable just so I can see how many years I get out of it.*wink I'm frugal that way.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Desert Island

By: Glenn Dragone

What does that title have to do with quilting?

Let’s play a game. You’re on a desert island and you have all the comforts you desire. The luxury hut, complete with ocean views (how could it not?) and of course, electric. It’s has been constructed by the mate of your dreams. He/She happens to be a gourmet chef and mysteriously anything you need to make your stay heavenly appears when summoned. 

It’s a game remember so go with the crazy premise.

Now that you’re all relaxed and fed you have the simple joy of hand quilting your days away. 

The deal is you can only bring one of your favorite quilting items with you on this magical adventure. It could be a tool, an audiobook, a TV, anything you like.

So, what’s the one item that you can’t quilt without?

Here’s mine:

My TJ Lane thimble is my favorite tool when hand quilting. The fit, the feel and the look make me happy each time I make a stitch. As you can see, the thimble happens to have a case in the shape of a piece of luggage. The little guy is ready to go!