Hand Quilting…..always learning

When I first started hand quilting I read a book on the subject. “Learn to do Hand Quilting in Just One Day….and then practice for the rest of your life”  by Nancy Daniel.  It is a very informative book but I didn’t change my quilting method to match hers.  The part of the book I like best is the  subtitle……practice for the rest of your life.

I think that every quilt is different and there is ALWAYS something new to learn and improvements that can be made, and every quilt is practice for the next one.

My current quilt is no exception.   The backing fabric is batik.  Batik fabric is very tightly woven and is not easy to quilt through.  After a few days of working on it I have found what works best for me.  On my last quilt


I was quilting through muslin both front and back and I was taking about 5 or 6 stitches before pulling the needle through, on this quilt I find that 2 or 3 stitches at a time is better.  Less stitches at a time is allowing me to get more uniformity in size and smaller stitches.  I started this quilt using an 18″ hoop

and yesterday I switched to my 22″ floor stand hoop.

I find that it is much easier in the stand because the weight of the quilt is off my arms and I can get more force behind the needle.

I feel like I am getting a rhythm going now and I think the quilting is looking pretty good.

Here are some more pictures (click to enlarge)

Back to practicing

Happy Quilting


24 thoughts on “Hand Quilting…..always learning

  1. Glenn says:

    Your “Tree of Life” quilt is fabulous. Congratulations! I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on a quilt stand. I don’t think I could get use to using one. I end up in a balled up position while I’m quilting. I’m thinking you’d have to sit much more upright to use it correctly?

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Glenn
      the stand does require a bit of a better posture..but the hoop on it turns freely all the way around so directional quilting is not a problem and it keeps all of the rest of the quilt out of my way…it is a trade off. I used the 18′ regular hoop on the tree of life but its a small quilt so the volume of fabric was not so much an issue….this is a big quilt…so all that stuff hanging out of the hoop is always getting twisted around and wadded up…the stand is making that less the case.

  2. belinda says:

    Her saying “practice for life” is soooo right on! Seems every quilt to be hand quilted needs to be handled in another whole different way. Different batting, different fabrics and quilt size. I have many different hoop sizes/frames. I have used them all and have different feelings on each one of them. I am currently using a 14″ lap hoop (first time for me) and have wondered how you keep your lap hoop up? The hand I use for the underneath gets so tired/distorted trying to hold the hoop/quilt tilted upwards enough so I can see my marking lines. I find my quilting/stitches are all over the place and realize time and time again I am holding up the whole thing with my finger underneath controlling the needle when I push it back up to the top….?? Just curious if you have a trick for this “condition” of mine. I have sat at my dining table some, letting the table edge help me hold the hoop up but find it is a little high/close to my eyeballs! HA! Needless to say I have been doing a LOT of grumbling on this ole clam shell I have been quilting on!

    • timquilts says:

      That is a good question…let me think how do I hold it……I think I do it like you are describing…the whole thing is held up with my underneath hand…that hand does a lot of work….holds up the hoop/quilt, and guides the needle back up to the top…..I do rest the bottom edge of the hoop against my stomach sometimes…isnt it funny I had to grab a hoop and pretend I am quilting to see what I do

      • belinda says:

        Thanks Tim! OK…..so, you’re sayin’ I’m gonna have to keep this “big belly” of mine if I want to keep on hand quilting!!!?? HA!

        I have noticed I do use my tummy some to help stabilize it!

  3. myrosesindecember says:

    As always, you are doing beautiful quilting and I love that this quilt will be reversible. Hmmm, you could do a two color binding – half muslin, half batik, but a seam would leave it weak. maybe stripe the two together somehow? I love your floor stand. May I ask the brand? It looks like Jasmine. The wood grain is lovely. I have yet to hand quilt anything of size and for the small one, I just rolled it as I do with counted cross stich – I know, not the right way at all. I have often wondered about those hoops that are “sit on” ones with a platform that goes under the bottom, and then the hoop is supported by the piece connecting the hoop to the part on which we sit. Have you ever tried one of those?

  4. Tim, I have been thinking about getting a floor stand for the very reason you mentioned. I need to get the weight off of my arms especially when working on the center. Do you like the 22 in size? I have heard not to go larger than the 14 cause you can’t reach any further, but with a hoop that you can turn I thought going bigger might be a good thing. I also wonder what brand you have?

    • timquilts says:

      I love the large size….it rotates completely so it doesnt matter if I can reach across or not….it is easier to hoop a larger area and not have to keep moving it…I bought mine at AQS in Grand Rapids…It is from Yoder Department Store, Shipshewana, IN….it looks like they have a crafts person who is making them …it doe not look factory made….it is much better made than any I ever saw….mine is oak and they had them in cherry

      • Thanks so much for the info, Tim. You have answered my question and gave me the answers I was hoping to hear. Now I just need to keep my eye out for one. I don’t see them in their online store, but I know hinterberg makes one that is very similiar.

      • timquilts says:

        I am glad that helped…I didn’t see the hoops in the online catalog either….might be they could get one if you call….anyway which ever one you get I hope you enjoy!…I am really liking mine and can’t imagine doing a big quilt again without it

  5. Sue says:

    Your Tree of Life quilt turned out just beautifully! What a great job you have done on that and I am always amazed at how quickly you can get your hand quilting done.

    Looks like you are starting another great project 🙂 Looking so good.

  6. Judy says:

    Tim,, that was also the first book I purchased about 15yrs ago, on hand quilting and from that I learned to quilt, I would recommend it to everyone., 🙂

  7. Sandra henderson says:

    It is very beautiful. I admire your patience and tenacity.
    Did you ever find the info. On this stand hoop? Id love to order one! Its exactly what ive been looking for.

  8. I want to thank you for always being willing to share exactly how you do things. Before I went to the International Quilt Festival today I checked your post that discussed battings, and then I bought some that were new to me to try. I also bought some vintage blocks (it was the last day of the show and lots of merchandise was discounted) but I don’t think I’ll be bidding against you on e-Bay anytime soon!

  9. Siobhan says:

    Your quilt is looking good! I use a floor hoop as well…much easier on the arms!


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