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I have a question for those that hand quilt.  I have a friend that has a quilt top that she wants hand quilted.  She is a senior citizen and has limited mobility.  I have volunteered pick up her batting and backing for her.  I am a long arm quilter and I know that the backing and batting needs to be 4" longer on each side of the quilt top.  Are there guidelines to follow for the backing and batting for hand quilting?

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Comment by Debra Miller on February 16, 2015 at 1:14pm

I would not get poly or poly mix.  stick with cotton or wool.  And thinner.  Needled would be good.  

Hand quilting takes up much more slack than machine or long arm quilting.  So batting and backing might need to be larger than you might think.  

Comment by Barbara Graham on February 7, 2015 at 9:51am

I totally agree with the comments about the backing fabric. I had to throw away a quilt that I used a batik for the backing. Almost broke my poor hands. I'm a wool batt fan too. It needles well and washes well and is lovely to sleep under.

Before she dives into the medium loft project, maybe you can find a small piece for her to try.

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on February 7, 2015 at 5:53am

Each hand quilter has their favorite batt.  Mine is wool.  The wool batts nowadays are washable with very little shrinkage.  They needle like butter.  While the wool batt is fairly thin, it gives a nice definition to the hand quilting for that mid-loft look.  It is, however, more expensive than cotton or poly.    

I agree with the rest about the backing being larger at 3 - 4" and the comments about the weave.  

Thanks for doing this for your friend.   

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on February 5, 2015 at 4:03pm

I like a very thin batting for hand-quilting; Quilter's Dream Request is my favorite.  4" all the way around should be sufficient, but I have one friend who hand-quilts most of her quilts and she likes at least 6".  Muslin backing is fine if you are careful to get a fairly loose weave.  Some "muslins" and all batiks can be very hard to needle.  Wash the backing first to make it softer.  Most muslins have a lot of fabric stabilizer in them right off the bolt.  Good luck and bless you for your kindness to your friend.  

Comment by LKC on February 5, 2015 at 2:35pm

Don't buy Jo- Ann's brand of batting, It has their name on the package. It is terrible to quilt by longarm or by hand. When it comes to hand quilting anything, quilting on three layers is breeze, but seams of more than three layers are hard to move the needle. My first quilt by hand I used a sheet, it took me two years, where when I use fabric like the top it was a breeze. Wash sheets a few times even for backing used with the longarm, it will keep stitching from skipping.

Comment by Catherine/TX on February 5, 2015 at 1:49pm

Thank you ladies! I know that my friend prefers polyester and has used the Mountain Mist.  She does like a mid loft though.  Will that be to lofty for hand quilting?

Also, that you for the info the thread count.  She likes muslin, so I will find one that isn't to tightly woven.

This really helps me, thank you!

Comment by Cat Lady--MO on February 5, 2015 at 1:40pm

I agree with Janet.  Also, do not use a backing with a high thread count, especially the 200 count muslin, as that is almost impossible to needle.  Batiks are also more tightly woven and can be difficult.  A good quality cotton is the best.

Comment by Janet/MO on February 5, 2015 at 11:36am

I would allow the same amount for hand quilting.  I used to only allow an extra 2" all around, but have found that 3 to 4" works better.  I prefer Quilters Dream Cotton batting for my hand quilting, but others will say they prefer polyester.  Do not get Warm & Natural as it is way too dense.  I know some people like to use it for hand quilting, but it makes it so much more difficult than it needs to be.  If I use polyester, I like both Thermore by Hobbs and Mountain Mist Lite, both of which you can get at Joanns.  

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