How to Quilt - For Beginners

            These are instructions for someone who is new to hand quilting.  This article covers items needed, as well as useful tips to make your hand quilting experience faster and more enjoyable.  If you have never quilted before, we recommend that you start small, by making a doll quilt or a baby quilt, until you get more comfortable with quilting.

Items needed:

Quilting needles - We prefer Sharp brand quilting needles.  As for size, we prefer a needle that is 1) thin-because it goes though fabric easier and 2) long-because it allows you to take more stitches.

Quilting thread - We recommend quilting thread that is the same color as your quilt backing.

Thimble - Some prefer to push the needle through with their thumb and some prefer to use their pointer or middle finger.   Find a thimble that fits the finger that you like to use.  I like to use my thumbnail to push the needle through because it's faster than using a thimble.  It's just a matter of what works best for you.

Needle grabber - A needle grabber works great when you are quilting through thick fabric, seams, or if you just like to take a lot of stitches at once.  It helps you get a grip on your needle to pull it through the fabric if your needle gets stuck.

Quilting Frames, Clamps and Large Tacks - see article - How to Put a Quilt On Using Frames

-or-

A Quilting Hoop - see article - How to Put a Quilt On Using a Hoop

The Quilting Process

The purpose of quilting is to hold the layers of a quilt together (quilt top, batting and backing).  We recommend that you don't leave more than about a 6" area of your quilt unquilted. 

Thread approximately 1 yard of thread through a needle and tie a double knot with both ends.  Poke the needle through the top layer of fabric approximately ½" from the point you want to start at.  Bring the needle back up through the top layer at your beginning point and pull the thread until the knot is hidden between the top layer of fabric and the quilt batting.  Now you can take approximately 1/8" stitches around the area you are quilting.  When you come to the end of your thread or the end of a line, tie a double knot right next to the fabric, then poke the needle through the top layer of fabric and bring it back up approximately ½" away.  Pull the thread until the knot goes through the top layer and is hidden between the top layer and the quilt batting.  Cut the thread very close to the fabric.  Continue this process quilting until finished.

Tips:

  • 1) Be sure to keep everything flat and tight to avoid puckers.
  • 2) Try to avoid quilting on seams where it will be more difficult to pull your needle through.
  • 3) It doesn't have to be "perfect", especially if you are new to quilting! You are probably the only one who will notice your minor imperfections!
  • 4) Have a quilting party! Invite your friends over to help you quilt. You will have a lot more fun visiting and eating food while you are quilting.
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andrea@sandreababyquilts.com