Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Running the lines...

and I chuckle as I say that, because in todays world it probably has another meaning. But I'm too old to know about such stuff as that. Rest assured, I'm talking about hand quilting again. *VBS* It's been a very busy few days with getting the bothersome kidlet moved, and into a place of his own. I'm hoping and praying it works this time. He doesn't do well on his own, but he knows its well past time that he learns how to manage for himself. I've quilted abit over the weekend since I posted last. I have another 4 or 5 of the sampler blocks done. Quilting is very 'centering' for me. My hands perform the task and my mind is free to work on things. That's NOT something you do while machine quilting! I've hand quilted for about 30 years now.
 And I have preferances in everything I use for hand quilting. I've never cottoned to a metal thimble. I found a leather one that worked well but get 'poked' through after a while. Then I came across the "Coin Thimbles" and have used them ever since. They are pricey, but they last a long time. In the picture,an old one I'm using, formed to my finger shape, and a new one, waiting in the wings. I use the thimble on the middle finger of my right hand. I have found I don't need anything on the underside on my left hand. You develop a callus where the needle touches and that works just fine.
 I've tried many kinds of quilting thread as they have come on the market, but I still prefer the good old Coats and Clarks. Several of my friends(in a similar age group) have all returned to the C & C thread after giving the other brands a spin. It doesn't tangle or knot up as you work with it. I prefer the S. Thomas & Bros. betweens, size 10 needles. I used a size 12 made by Regal, but they stopped making them. Took me a while to find these. It's not a brand that gets alot of hype, and ypu'd probably have to search to find them. I bought 10 packages of 20 needles each, so I'm all set forever, I think.
 When it comes to running the lines, I rarely decide before hand what design I will use. I have the plastic templates(stencils) for marking borders and for the nice open setting blocks. Mostly I like to quilt at the 1/4th inch spot. Often inside and outside as in this picture. The quilting lines create the 'definition',the rise and fall of the blocks which changes the way the light hits it when you look at them. I've done spider webs and baby ducks, lots of diamonds, circles, pumpkin seeds and cables. The choices are almost unlimited. I do mark where I will quilt for the most part. I've done some free hand quilting and it's just "ok" for me. I like my lines to be relatively straight and equal distance from the seam line. What have I learned over the years? Concentrate on the spacing between the stitches rather than on the stitch size. You'll find that when your spacing becomes quite consistant, the sixe of each stitch will follow suit.That's true for both the front and the back of the quilt. They need to be consistant on the back side also. The needles I use are just over an inch long. I can't get 6 or 7 stitches the needle before pulling so I usually put on 3 or 4 and feel that is plenty. It seems to add to my ability to keep the spacing and stitch size uniform. I learned a new thing watching atree3 hand quilt on You Tube a couple of weeks ago. She does her needle in, needle out and then the pull through, but she only pulls about half of the thread lenght through. Then the next needle in, needle out series and pulls the entire length through. I've never tried that, and I wondered about it. Well, now I have tried it and it works wonderfully!! Oh yes, the 'rules' say to cut only 18" of thread for each time. Since threading the needle gets harder, I'm cheating these day by using 20 to 24" of thread. So far no ill affects that I can see...LOL If you have any questions, please ask.
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15 comments:

Amelia said...

Oh it is so great to read about how you quilt...sounds almost just like I do it. I have not tried anything other than C&C quilting thread...it works great for me so why change and take a chance on problems. I use a metal thimble so I am used to that.

I do pull out more than 24 inches of thread - It is not much as threading the needle as it is hiding the knots at the beginning and the end.

I also use a hoop like in your picture. I usually quilt in the ditch - but depending on the quilt pattern will vary what I do.

Take care...

Amelia

Danetta said...

I was so glad to see this post. I have been using Gutterman cotton thread and I am finding it to split. I was wondering what kind to try.

Thanks!

Granny Lyn said...

I just love looking at your stitches! I don't have the time (read patience) for hand quilting, altho that is what my Aunt Biggie does. I just never took the time to "get" the rhythm.

Caryn said...

I love hand quilting but haven't done it in a long time. I really want to get back to it. There is nothing like the look of hand quilting. I use those leather coin thimbles also.

Pieceful Afternoon said...

I use Gutterman thread - always have and really love it. When I can't find a color I want I go to another brand - but not often. I also cut my thread super long - sometimes well over 36 inches - and it seems to work for me.

I often pull half the thread through - leaving the other half sticking out of the quilting design - then quilt using the first half. Go back, rethread my needle with what was left sticking out - and quilt the rest of the piece of thread. This cuts down on the number of knots I have to pull through to the underside of the quilt.

I like the quilt you are working on - the quilting looks great.

Lyn said...

Hello Finn, thankyou for the information on hand quilting. Due to a neck injury I have, I am unable to hand quilt. DH said to me yesterday, that I should try again.However, it has been such a long time, I have forgotten.What do you suggest, maybe I should try on a small project...Warmest Regards Lyn

comicbooklady said...

Thanks for your tips on handquilting! Despite the fact that I belong to a guild, I find more and more are machine quilting and I find less people are handquilting, so I am hungry for advice! I am still experimenting with thread, I like C&C but I also like trying out embroidery thread too, I am currently enjoying perle cotton 12, but the hard part is finding a needle that has an eye large enough to accommodate it yet pulls nicely through the layers.

Myra said...

Lots of good info in your post, and in the comments that go with it! I have to get into my hand quilting again... Thanks all!
I was surprized to read about getting "the bothersome kidlet" moved. I had thought you were totally on your own. 8-)
Happy stitchings Finn!

Libby said...

I like that 'pull the thread on the second set' idea very much . . . just can't remember to do it. I always find myself just yanking it on the first pull. At camp last week, I learned now to quilt with NO knot. That was pretty cool, too. Sort of the same theory - not as much stress on the threads by pulling it through over and over and over again.
Hand quilting is so theraputic and relaxing - far better than a real shrink any day *s*

Anjea said...

Beautiful quilt! I also love handquilting. It's so relaxing and meditative.

Anjea in Austin, TX

KCQuilter said...

Excellent tips on handquilting! I don't do much of if because I always hate the way the back of the quilt looks. Wish I could master that!!! Any specific secrets you've learned on that?

paula, the quilter said...

I've been hand quilting a small quilt and trying out various quilting threads. Someone gave me some Americana hand quilting thread to try and I hate it! I have relegated it to a basting thread because it is just too stiff for quilting. So I moved on the Gutterman. Now I remember why I don't like it -- it splits and frays so much. So thank you for the reminder about C&C. I am going to stop at Hobby Lobby on the way home and pick some up.

Have you ever tried the Clover Desk needle threader? I can not live without mine. I am a very satisfied customer.

I am going to have to try the pull the thread on the second set.

Patti said...

If you are hand quilting again then your eyes must be doing OK right now - I'm so very glad! I know how much this means to you - being able to do this. I've been back at it again myself after months of doing little or none - and it is wonderful! Like you, I like the 1/4" in also. This is a typical Finn scrap quilt - that's obvious from the pictures - the very best kind!

andsewitis Holly said...

I'll have to look for those coin thimbles. They look like a wonderful invention. I've tried a lot of threads and prefer Mettler to CC because it leaves less lint in the bobbin area but I will use whatever brand I have on hand. I like to handquilt 1/4" inside or outside, too, Finn, as I'm not good at great thicknesses. Need more practice I guess. I'm handquilting a sampler, too, but am not as productive as you are.

cher said...

and what needle do you use when quilting with perle cotton Finn?

thanks for your tips..I dislike the metal thimbles too