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Hi Everyone,

I posted a question on another forum but I'm afraid it's getting lost in other conversations. You know, getting pushed along to another page. So I thought I'd post it here too for more input. Here it is, copy/pasted:

Hey ladies, guess what I've been doing since yesterday? Finally, I'm quilting a top I pieced a long time ago. Actually the piecing was started in 2012. This is the one I learned piecing on (bad English, I know). Just doing ditch stitching right now and thinking of trying my hand at hand quilting here and there in the blocks. I have a question for whoever knows: Should I pin baste the blocks when I'm hand quilting? I will be using a hoop.  Or is it better to thread baste?  Or maybe no basting? The blocks are 12". I'm wondering if I can skip the basting since there will be ditch quilting around each block, and also some ditch quilting within the blocks.

So I thank all of you ahead of time, because I know I'll get feedback here :)

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Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on June 14, 2015 at 6:15pm

I would suggest thread basting even if you are using a lap hoop, on any areas to be hand-quilted that, after your machine stitch-in-the-ditch is finished, are larger than the area that would entirely fill your hoop.  Does that make sense?   Moving your hoop can get things off kilter if they are not held by basting stitches.  I keep my hoop only loosely "tightened"  (like the cat just sat on it), so I can take smaller stitches, and I use a 14" hoop.  I never pin-baste anything I am hand-quilting.  I agree with Janet on the Warm and Natural; I use Quilter's Dream Request for hand-quilting.  And don't try to hand-quilt a bed-sheet or batik backing! 

Comment by Pam/NY on June 14, 2015 at 4:04pm

I would baste it...I don't use pins or a hoop. When I hand stitch, I lay the quilt over the table to have a natural tension on it. I then reach up under it to get smaller stitches. I am a nonconformist quilter!!!!

Comment by Kathleen Kingsbury on June 14, 2015 at 3:56pm

Wow! Fast responses! I knew I could count on all of you!

Cat Lady, yes, I neglected to specify I am using my home machine to quilt in the ditch.

Janet, I guess, sadly, I am using Warm & Natural quilt batt. I didn't think that would present a problem. What I think I will have a problem with is my background fabric being a but sturdier than the quilt prints I used. And now the batting may pose a problem. And I will be using a lap hoop. I guess I should baste somehow because being my first blocks, some of them are kind of on the saggy baggy side and will need stabilizing now that you mention that.

Barbara, I like your circular manner of hooping. I'll remember that too.

Sue, funny you should mention ugly cheap thread. I was thinking if it turns out I should thread baste, I have some estate sale thread that I buy for the purpose of EPP hexagons. I could use that thread!

You are all so helpful! Thank you again!

Comment by Sue S. / OR on June 14, 2015 at 3:30pm
I was taught to hand quilt by a great lady who ONLY hand quilted her quilts (and she did beautiful work!) . She taught me to baste the layers with thread, the ugliest, cheapest thread she could find. The thread of the month that I worked with her was a bright red, you definitely couldn't miss it!
Comment by Barbara Graham on June 14, 2015 at 2:59pm

I would not use pins. It will make it awkward and almost impossible to put into a hoop.

I hand quilt a lot and always use a hoop. Usually I will thread baste all the layers in about a 12 inch grid. But, I have a friend who doesn't baste at all. She places her hoop in the center of the quilt and makes sure every thing is in the right place when she starts moving the hoop in a circular manner until she reaches the edges.

Comment by Janet/MO on June 14, 2015 at 2:59pm

First of all, let me ask why batting are you using?  Not all batts are created equal when it comes to hand quilting.  I love Warm & Natural when it comes to machine quilting & absolutely hate it for hand quilting because it is so dense.  Secondly, I always pin baste my quilts even if I'm going to hand quilt and I only use a lap hoop.  If a pin gets in the way of the hoop I just move it.   If there is more than about 3" between quilting, even in the ditch, you should still baste to prevent the 3 layers from sagging.  Even if you use a hoop this can be a problem which makes it more difficult to get small even stitches.  Lastly, be sure to relax & breathe.  Good luck.  

Comment by Cat Lady--MO on June 14, 2015 at 2:54pm

Kathleen, an interesting question.  Are you doing your ditch stitching by machine?  If you have already prepared your quilt for machine quilting, and have at least stabilized your 12" blocks with it, you probably would not need to do any further basting.

You might also want to post your question on the Hand quilters group here at QWU. Here is a link to the group page.  http://quiltwithus.connectingthreads.com/group/Handquilters

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