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Hi everyone!  I'm new to this group and new to quilting.  I took a class at Joann's when I lived in Atlanta and completed my first quilt - a baby quilt.  The lady who taught me was very good, but she only knew about machine quilting, and I have discovered I LOVE hand quilting and piecing!  I've pieced together a table topper and am getting ready to hand quilt it.  I now live in a city where there is not a LQS and do not know any quilters in this area.  So, I wanted your recommendations of what technique I should start with as a beginner.  I really don't want to prick my finger.  I've seen many people like Jean Brown's method, as well as the Thimble lady's.  Would love to hear from you all your ideas.  Thanks! 

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Jean Brown's method looks like the traditional one.  I was never able to master it.  I use the Thimble Lady's needle or straw needles. I find long thin needles are best for me. I have long strong fingernail and use my thumb to push the needle.  I can hear everyone cringe.  My point is try several methods and practice, practice, practice.  You will soon find out what won't tire your hand.  I enjoy handiwork and am not trying to win prizes.  If you are interested in entering contests, consistency and size of stitches impress the judges.  Wishing you much success.

Maybe you can find a hand quilting class in your area. There are many different methods and I suggest you try as many as possible to see which you like best. Personally, I use a method that doesn't use a hoop or frame so it is easy on hands and wrists. I have done Jean Brown's method, but there is quite a learning curve, and is not quite as portable as I like. You might try an online class if there aren't any being offered near you.

There are lots of books out on hand quilting and also classes at your local quilt stores.  Duh - you don't have one, sorry.

The book I found most useful is That Perfect Stitch by Roxanne McElroy  -  I have learned tons and tons of stuff from this author and this method.  The thing about leaving your under finger naked scared me at first, but it doesn't hurt and you get a much tinier stitch.  Good luck in your efforts.

I took Roxanne's class two years ago at the Quilt Show in Manchester NH.  She gave us size 11 needles, and I have to admit, I lost a few on the carpet.  Her book really explains the process very well.

I took the same class at the Philadelphia quilt show.  She did an excellent job breaking the process down.  Her books is great as well.   

I love that book! It really helped me a lot. I also have her thimble, and her needles are my favorite. I use the size 11. I also use them for appliqué.

Oh yeah, what odessaquilter said - YouTube has many many classes on just about anything, so you might be able to find one there.

Thanks for all the advice.  I'm like you, Ellen, I just enjoy it and don't have any intentions of entering contests or anything.  In fact, I like my quilting to look like I handquilted it, so I'm not real big into making my stitches really tiny. 

Odessaquilter, I am also interested in not using a hoop or frame too - I like to be portable as well. I travel with my husband on business trips and like to take my quilting along.  Do you know of a youtube that shows how you do it?  Or maybe you can explain how you do it? 

Bobbie, that's a great idea of youtube videos.  In fact, I've been watching a lot of them since I don't have any resources here.  But it can get a little confusing since there are so many different ways people quilt, which I why I asked this group.  And thanks for recommending Roxanne's book. 

 Sharon Schamber has a video of how to quilt without a hoop that might interest you   hope this helps   http://www.youtube.com/user/SharonSchamberNet/videos

Great video.  I like the way she bastes. I want library embroidery thread to baste. I have used this technique but don't rock as much. I have arthritic hands and fingers.  I usually am working on bed-sized quilts so I need a small frame.  I Have used the lap frame but get overheated under too much quilt.  I have a round floor frame which turns and tilts to accommodate me.

First of all welcome to the group.  I used to teach hand quilting years ago and what I would do is have my students start out with drawing a heart or tulip on to muslin using a quilt stencil.  Layer it with thin batting such as Quilters Dream Cotton request loft and make sure to baste it good so you are not fighting sagging of the 3 layers while you are trying to stitch.  Use a good quality hoop if you desire although you can quilt without it.  Personally I find that slows me down, but there are others who are faster doing it that way.  While some people advocate using a #9 quilting between needle, I had my students start out using the #10 so that they immediately got used to that size.  The reason I had them use muslin was because it needles easier than fabric with dye in it.  That way they had a chance to get used to the process without having to deal with a draggy needle.   There is a class on www.craftsy.com that I have heard very good things about so you might want to check it out.  They constantly run good sales on that site too.  Most of all, don't get discouraged!  Rome wasn't built in a day so don't expect to get tiny even stitches right off the bat.  Enjoy!

Thanks Genevieve.  That is a great video.  Think I may try that, but maybe do like Ellen and not rock as much.

Thanks Janet, for all of your helpful information and encouragement.  Is there an advantage to basting versus using quilting safety pins?  The lady who taught me said to use the pins.

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