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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Midwest Quilt Builder
Date: 07-14-2006, 04:33 PM (1 of 9)
I'm looking for tips on hand quilting.... anyone out there hand quilt?

I've always machine quilted but I'm going to try hand quilting for the first time on a quilt that I'm making for my daughter.

I'd also be interested in your tips on basting the 3 layers together - do you pin or sew baste? Have you found a way to baste so that you are not crawling around on the floor hurting your knees? (like I do)

Thank you!
User: Midwest Quilt Builder
Member since: 12-03-2002
Total posts: 17
From: HeyJudee
Date: 07-14-2006, 06:17 PM (2 of 9)
Well I usually machine quilt but I don't pin my quilts on the floor (no crawling around for me). I have made a quilting frame similar to what my mother and grandmother used many moons ago when they would hand quilt. I use four 8 foot 1"x2" boards that I bought at Home Depot. I am fortunate to have room to set it up in my living room. But I am gradually cleaning out my basement so should be able to work down there in the future when I pin my quilts.

Here is another link where we were discussing quilting frames and I posted two pics of mine. Maybe this will give you an idea. This same type of method could be used to set-up the quilt for hand quilting.
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: Sewmoody
Date: 07-14-2006, 07:46 PM (3 of 9)
Hi HeyJudee,

I also machine quilt, and have a hard time pinning everything. I had my husband look at your pictures and he hem-hawed and said maybe he could do it. He had questions about how you attach the boards together? Also, I was wondering if you use those round clamps when you roll your quilt up. I haven't gotten any and really have a hard time maneuvering all that fabric around. I have really gotten discouraged and threaten to quit. You can tell maybe I am an 'ole Granny and sometimes I lose patience real easy! LOL

Also, another question what do you wrap around the boards -- do you pad it and then put something like muslin so you can pin? I have also tried on my last twin quilt spraying the Sulky temporary adhesive. It worked for me to do the pinning in sections. But your way really sounds better and easier on your back, knees and every other joint!

I hope I haven't asked too many questions, and I really appreciate any help you can give me.

User: Sewmoody
Member since: 04-02-2005
Total posts: 5
From: HeyJudee
Date: 07-15-2006, 02:28 PM (4 of 9)
Wanda, I made the frames myself - so if your husband can't do it I'm sure you can. :bg:

It is just four separate 1x2's that I bought at Home Depot for 93 cents each. Then I took an old sheet and cut it up into approx 4-5" wide strips, folded in half and stapled the cut edge to the boards so that the fold overhangs the edges of the boards by at least 1" (or more). You need 4 clamps to hold the corners. The clamps cost me more than the boards. I have four 2" C-clamps. When there was a sale on micro-spreader clamps at the hardware store I got some. I like the spreader clamps better because I it is easier to close the clamps only using one hand...but they aren't as sturdy as the metal C-clamps as I have already broken one of the spreader clamps.

I don't know if you took a look at all the pictures that I posted re the frame. I actually have 5 pictures on my site with some commentary underneath the pictures. Check out the pictures via clicking on the thumbnails in the the top right.

If you want further explanation, just let me know.
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: Magot
Date: 07-15-2006, 06:47 PM (5 of 9)
When hand quilting I have really only grovelled all over the floor when pinning and then basted - you could use saftey pins to pin and then they wouldn't keep sticking in you. I tack about 6 - 9 inches apart on a grid across the quilt starting in the middle and working outwards. I then use a large embroidery frame to do the actual hand quilting. Don't know if this is the recommended method but it works for me. Using a lap tambour means I can pick up the quilting when I sit down to watch tv or something without haing to be put in a separate room!
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: Sewmoody
Date: 07-15-2006, 08:06 PM (6 of 9)
Thanks for all the info, I didn't mean my DH "couldn't" make them, only if he would make them. We moved here about three mo. ago and are still getting settled. Of course, I'm sometimes impatient and think I need things now.

Seeing the other pictures really makes a lot more sense. I think this will be a much better solution to pinning quilts instead of trying to do in pieces on top of the kitchen table which is too small.

And I like the idea you can take apart and store until needed again! I have my sewing room crambed full now. Not too sure about spelling. LOL!

User: Sewmoody
Member since: 04-02-2005
Total posts: 5
From: lvquilts
Date: 07-16-2006, 07:50 PM (7 of 9)
Don't know if you've already found a solution for basting but I thought I'd toss this out there for consideration. I love to hand quilt, and have always crawled around on the floor to thread baste the quilts. This becomes less easy the older I get. One of my friends told me that she taped/glued a toothpick on the top but near each side of her cutting table, positioning it so it was equally distanced from each end (centered along the edge). She then spreads her backing, feeling for the toothpicks to be sure the backing is centered. She continues to build the sandwhich by feeling where the toothpics are as a guide, then bastes while standing over her cutting table. I can't recall if she had issues with the sandwhich layers shifting. I have seen pictures where binder clips (found at office stores) were used to temporarily fix backing to a table, that might do the trick if the material wants to slip around while you're basting.
User: lvquilts
Member since: 07-16-2006
Total posts: 29
From: JoanieB
Date: 07-17-2006, 05:57 PM (8 of 9)
Midwest quilter:

I only hand quilt so far. I haven't jumped into the machine quilting yet. Maybe some day. I have thread basted as well as pin basted my quilts. While I think thread basting holds the layers together better(for me anyway)
pin basting is faster. The quilting police say that you aren't supposed to pin baste if you are hand quilting, but I figure it's my quilt. Alot of people I know will clamp their work to a table top after postioning all of the layers together and making sure every thing is centered. There are special clips you can get to do this with, but the large binder clips you can get at office supply stores work also. Whether I am thread or pin basting, I always start in the middle and work towards the outsides, making sure there are no wrinkles in any of your layers. I will agree with you the floor is murder on the knees, as well as the back :sad:. . I use a floor hoop to quilt in. I also have a couple of medium sized lap hoops. Hope some of this helps a little. Good luck.

User: JoanieB
Member since: 01-28-2005
Total posts: 68
From: NDNQuilter
Date: 07-18-2006, 05:41 AM (9 of 9)
I do most of my quilting by hand some piecing by machine. Basting works best for me. There are quilting safety pin out there that have a round in them that make it easier to roll the quilt if pinned. My quilt frame is like Judy's. Before we moved I was able to put it on rollers and raise and lower it from the ceiling. I tried machine quilting and found the back was a mess. I dropped the dogs and thought I had everything secure but found while pulling the quilt thru it was getting off track and very hard to turn and manipulate on my machine. I would like to learn more about it though. have a great day. Gena
User: NDNQuilter
Member since: 10-04-2002
Total posts: 90
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