How to Try Hand Quilting – lots of tips


In a moment of frustration with my sewing machine’s free motion quilting capabilities, I decided that I would become a hand-quilter. So this is my first hand-quilted quilt. Get the free pattern here.

Not to bash my beloved Bernina 1530. She’s a doll with garment sewing and I love all of her conveniences…needle up/down, knee lift, sweet applique stitches, and perfect tension… except when quilting. And the throat is really short so there’s only about 6” between the foot and the machine, that makes it difficult too.

So I bought this Craftsy Class on hand quilting and gave it a try. Disclaimer: the class is called ‘heirloom sewing’ so there’s tons more to it than I’m showing. Tons. But I’m starting simple. I still decided to buy the class and I’m glad I did.

In the class Andi Perejda (the instructor) recommends using a hoop like the 14” inexpensive one on the right. I was pretty happy when I found the hoop/stand combo on on the left for $10 on craigslist. But it turns out that I’d rather lean back on the couch and chill while I’m hand quilting than sit forward next to a stand, so she was right about the smaller hoop. I’m glad the stand was not a huge investment.


I looked into different types of batting that would be easier to quilt than warm and natural (my usual) and also found this sweet thimble at connecting threads. I’m no thimble expert but I do love it. It fits way better than the cheap ones I found at the big box store and that silicone part is great for gripping the needle. I went with Hobbs Poly/Cotton blend batting. It’s very lightweight and not so dense which makes it easy to hand quilt.


And I love, love, love pearl cotton. For nearly everything embroidery related. So when I saw this nice stuff at my local quilt shop I grabbed some in several colors. It’s not blending in like regular hand-quilting thread would, of course. But I’m going for more of a long-stitch embroidery look on this quilt. This thread requires an embroidery needle with a large eye – the sharp kind.


And it turns out I love hand quilting! It does take longer than I expected. Yeah, and I’m not even doing the ‘heirloom type.’ But I really enjoy sitting back and relaxing on the couch and sewing.

And I can’t keep any secrets, I ordered a straight stitch mid-arm sewing machine just for quilting and it’s on it’s way… eeek! That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop hand quilting though. A girl can do both. 🙂

Update: My Juki TL2010Q came and I love it!

See more of my hand quilted quilts:

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