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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: Helen Weiss
Date: 02-04-2007, 07:20 PM (1 of 6)
I'm trying to learn to hand quilt on my own. With no one to show me the "rocking motion" while using a hoop, I'm struggling. I seem to have no trouble while stitching without the hoop, but that depends on my left hand being underneath the quilt with my left thumb on top. This is ok until I want to work in the midddle of the quilt. I hope I've explained my dilemma so that you can understand. It seems that when the quilt is stretched in the hoop I can't make the stitches small enough. I would really appreciate any suggestions...Thanks!
User: Helen Weiss
Member since: 10-16-2003
Total posts: 69
From: HeyJudee
Date: 02-04-2007, 07:42 PM (2 of 6)
Hi Helen, I've only hand quilted one quilt and didn't use the rocking motion. But from what I've learned from reading about it and hearing from other hand quilters, I think there is supposed to be some slack in the hoop, otherwise you can't rock the needle. Here are some links that may help you. I'm sure some hand quilters will be along to help you out.,,HGTV_3307_1390575,00.html
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: Helen Weiss
Date: 02-04-2007, 11:08 PM (3 of 6)
Thank you so much for the helpful web sites - the H&GT one is particularly good - great pictures along with description. I'll keep working at it - I'm determined!
User: Helen Weiss
Member since: 10-16-2003
Total posts: 69
From: MaryW
Date: 02-05-2007, 09:14 AM (4 of 6)
Helen, I have the same problem. Small pieces are fun to quilt but if it is big I get so frustrated. :mad:
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: EmaCon
Date: 02-05-2007, 12:27 PM (5 of 6)
I thought the pictures on the Threads site were very clear. It's easier to quilt towards yourself, rather than from side to side.

You may want to practise on a single piece of fabric in a hoop until you get the hang of it. Practice taking one stitch, then practice taking 2 in succession, then 3 in succession etc. Pretty soon you'll be "rocking". Then you can progress to the 3 layers for the quilt with an idea of what it's suppose to feel like.
User: EmaCon
Member since: 07-28-2006
Total posts: 67
From: swartzrn
Date: 02-05-2007, 09:23 PM (6 of 6)
Hey I have hand quilted 2 quilts -one a full size and the other a queen. I thoroughly enjoyed. Your stitches will eventually get smaller and you will be able to get more than 1 on the needle. Just practice and have patience. I personally don't have alot of patience but I kept trying and finally started feeling more comfortable. Now I love it! I have done some smaller projects too but those 2 quilts were the biggest. My grandmother handquilted everything and she told me that what makes each quilt unique is that the stitches are all different. I went back and looked at the one's she's made for me over the years and although her stitches were just about the same size, I could see what she meant. To me, the rocking motion comes with learning to use your thimble and not having your fabric too tight in the hoop. Plus the needle quality too is very important. Use "quilting" needles. The first time I tried, I decided it would be OK to use a regular needle-I didn't have much luck with that. Anyway, don't give up! Good luck!
"To see the future, look into a child's eyes."
User: swartzrn
Member since: 02-17-2006
Total posts: 436
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