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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 LKC on June 15, 2015 at 5:25pm

I have often pushed the needle down, then pushed it back up, before I watched and understood the rocking method. Still not sure I am great or will get a ribbon. Move any full area to the center of the pattern or where it will have less show. You could also stuff with yarn if that would give interest. I have taken apart some of my mess, but don't. It will look better than you think at the time. I have correct pleats at the back, but only take out as small of area as you can. If you end up with not enough backing in a area, add, but try to make it more of art statement.

Comment by Kathleen Kingsbury on June 15, 2015 at 5:08pm

Linda, I think my quilt would be considered a twin or lap size. Thanks for reminding me to place my stitches where there is only three layers.  I do have some areas where there are more layers, such as a dresden plate. Maybe if I do one "big stitch" at a time I can get through those areas.

Carol Ann, I guess it's a good thing I have supplies for "big stitch" style. Sounds like it will be a good way to learn hand quilting. I plan for the hand quilting to be just accenting the blocks here and there.

I'm really enjoying and appreciate everyone's input.

Comment by LKC on June 15, 2015 at 4:52pm

I have tried out every needle and thimbles.  I love Roxanne needles, because they will not bend like John James. Also the new thimbles with rubber for part of it were very comfortable. CT carry both.

Comment by LKC on June 15, 2015 at 4:45pm

What size is your quilt? Sounds like you have quilted with the machine in the ditch. I often do hand sewing in the center.  I used a round hoop about 14" for my king size quilt. I did work from the center out. I used waxed type quilting thread.  I love to do small projects wall size by hand. I baste my quilt with that waxed type quilting thread, don't use it ever in the machine. I don't like a hoop. For my large quilts I have real frames where the quilt is rolled. I still want to baste as much as possible. Ditch quilting by hand is hard on the hands/ fingers. The more layers you have to go through the harder to move the needle. When quilter tell you to press to one side it is because you will quilt where you have three layers not four or more. Move the needle under all cross seam too. Quilting 1/4" in is used for that three layers. You can use pins or safety pins, but safety pins also can leave big holes. I don't know if the new ones are different.  Hope this helps.

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on June 15, 2015 at 3:30pm

Okay - I have used Perle cotton no. 8 with a size 8 embroidery needle (John James has a big eye which accepts the perle cotton easier), but only for "big stitch" hand quilting on cotton flannel quilts.  It's fun, and a great way to learn and practice hand quilting with easy needling.  But for my regular  quilting projects, I use YLI hand quilting thread (it's a little stiffer than regular cotton thread), and a size 9 between (a very short needle) or embroidery needle, depending upon which thimble I'm using.  Confused?  Let's see what everyone else says, then we'll mention thimbles!

Comment by Kathleen Kingsbury on June 15, 2015 at 10:32am

Wellllllll, I took the advice of a random blogger (I know, I should have come here first . . . . when will I learn) and I've already purchased a 14" hoop, so that's good I guess.  But I also already purchased some No. 8 DMC pearl cotton thread and size 8 John James embroidery needles.  Anyone care to weigh in on my purchases? :o)

I certainly won't be doing any hand stitching very soon. So you all have lots of time to give me advice!  The weather is so sticky-muggy-damp here the past few days. Every piece of paper I touch feels soft and some of my furniture feels tacky!

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on June 15, 2015 at 9:14am

Oh, and Janet has to bring up thimbles and needle sizes!  Want 10 more opinions from hand quilters??  LOL

Comment by Janet/MO on June 14, 2015 at 8:41pm

Kathleen, as you can already tell, you will get 10 different suggestions from 10 different people.  LOL  I envy people who can hand quilt without basting as I found that I struggled to get good even stitches when I did that.  I definitely agree with Carol Ann about using Quilters Dream cotton request loft.  You can't beat it in my opinion.  The only polyester batt I like is Thermore by Hobbs as it has more the consistency of Quilters Dream cotton.  The problem with that is it is very limited in the sizes you can get.  I used to do thread basting, but years ago someone suggested pin basting and that is what I have done since with no problems.  If you want to learn how to hand quilt what I would suggest is getting some middle grade muslin, cut it in to 15" to 20" squares and layer it with a thin batting.  Draw something like a heart or tulip on one of the squares before you layer it.  Be sure to use a good quality hoop and a size 10 between.  Also use a good thimble that fits you with a flat head.  And then just practice, practice, practice.  The reason I say to practice on muslin is because it is easier to start out with fabric that doesn't have dye in it.  A heart or tulip will give you gentle curves which you will need to learn how to do as well.  You can always use it in a pillow if you are happy with it when you are done.

Comment by Kathleen Kingsbury on June 14, 2015 at 7:22pm

Oh boy, I think I'm in for a learning experience! Good thing I consider this my practice quilt. Although I don't want to mess it up because I put a lot of work into the blocks, all being first tries.  I'm going to have to do a better job at sandwiching next time. I'm already noticing that I didn't.  My blocks and the backing look too puffy I think. This is my first big quilt. Not sure the size. Twenty 12" blocks plus sashing. My SITD isn't pretty either.  I have a decent sewing machine but it was still a struggle pushing the bulk of the quilt through and made a tight squeeze for hanging on to the part I was stitching. I'm just going to keep telling myself it will look better after it's washed!

Comment by Ally Bryant on June 14, 2015 at 6:35pm
I am a hand quilter and if you are using a hoop and hand quilting warm and natural is not the batting of choice, it is more for machine quilting. I always use pins when basting then move then as one moves around the quilt in the hoop.Also I do sometime put in a frame the old fashion way again I use safety pins the bent kind. Also I always stretch my backing and tape to the kitchen floor or large table then layer the batting and then top and pin. Hope these answers help, I think everyone finds there own comfort way of doing things.

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