Hand quilting is a traditional method of sewing together all the layers of a quilt - top, batting and backing.
If you are the kind of person who becomes anxious to see your finished quilt as soon as you done assembling the top, hand quilting is definitely not for you... But if you are looking for a way to relax and pass the time, it can be very zen!
Compared to machine quilting, this method adds a "handmade quality" to a quilt. And although it is more time consuming, it is very pleasurable to look at a quilt and see that your perseverance has paid off!
So, if you want to embark on the world of hand quilting, here's a list of tips:
1. Use a quilting hoop! It helps to keep the quilt taut and this results in more even stitches. But always remove the quilt from the hoop when you are done quilting so as not to create marks and distortions in the fabric.
2. The quilting needle is shorter than the sewing needle! The most appropriate needle sizes are 8, 9, and 10. Size 9 is the most used and allows you to have total control when making very even stitches.
3. Always use a thimble! It helps a lot when pushing a needle through several layers of fabric and batting. It is also advisable to use a protection on the finger that goes underneath the quilt! No one wants to go to all that trouble and end up getting a bloodstained quilt!
4. Always use quilting threads! It is stronger than sewing thread and will not break in the middle of the work. Unless you want to really show your stitching or if you want to be bold (using gradient colored threads for example) use a thread color that "disappears" into the fabric whenever possible. And if the fabric is printed, match the thread to the background color.
5. Choose wisely the method to transfer the quilt design to the fabric! There are several options on the market. Our favorite are the magic markers that disappear when heated. But beware of some markers that leave traces no matter how hard you try to take it off! Always test on a piece of fabric before you go drawing all over your quilt!
And the most important thing: Accept that hand quilting will take a lot of time... and have fun!