Next Hand Quilting Project

I started the next hand quilting project last night.   I posted pictures of this beautiful antique applique quilt previously and I am excited to begin work on it.

I am using Mountain Mist Cram Rose cotton batting.  It is a thin batting that is easy to hand quilt and I love the results.  It washes beautifully.  I used vintage unbleached muslin for the backing and I am doing the hand quilting with a #11 John James between needle and YLI cotton hand quilting thread.

I did my normal basting.  I use pins and very few of them.  I used a pin in the corner of each block.   I really only need the pins to hold the layers together until I get it in the hoop, once in the hoop the pins are removed in the area I am working on and the top and the back are smoothed out.  I start in the center of the quilt and work out to the edges and any extra fullness is worked out to the edges as I go.


The applique fills most of the space in each block so I didn’t have a lot of space for anything fancy in the quilting.


What I don’t want is any quilting that will detract from the beautiful applique.  I want the quilting to enhance the design of the top.  I decided to do outline quilting around the individual applique pieces just inside the seams and then echo quilt around the applique.  I then decided to add a line of feathers at the edges of each block…the feathers act as the sashing to frame each block.

I am drawing the feathers as I go …the seam acts as the spine and I am using my embroidery scissors as the template.  I trace the curve of the finger hole and then draw in the rest.  For the drawing I am using a #2 disposable mechanical pencil.  I get them at the office supply store for very little money.  If the marking is light it is very hard to even see the lines once they are quilted and remaining lines will wash out when I am done.


You can see my marking in this picture above, but once quilted the lines are much less apparent.


One other note about this  you can see that there is some staining on the right side.   I did not make any attempt to remove that.  So what happens if when the quilt is finished and washed the stain remains?  It will be a clean stain and I will live with it.  I do not like to wash before quilting.  I have many vintage quilt tops and blocks that have been destroyed by washing before quilting.  The quilting adds strength because it is now attached to a sturdy backing and batting.  If it is just too dirty to deal with I might do a gentle soak and then air dry and press  but never use the washing machine!  I use the machine when the quilt is finished but never before.

This is not going to be a short project. There are 20 blocks and each will take at least a few days, and then there is a wide border and as I am working on this I think that the feathered sections would look great with Trapunto added….will see how it looks when the quilting is done and then decide.

Happy Quilting



56 thoughts on “Next Hand Quilting Project

  1. cindyching says:

    Love the colors!!!! Reminds me of the other favorite one of mine the Pineapple one. Love these two!!! Bright colors!!!

  2. Mardee Dowdy says:

    I enjoy all your postings and appreciate your find work. I’ve saved other photos to inspire me in some way, but I’ll confess I’m completely copy-chatting the feathered borders on these blocks. I’ve been mulling over several other options for a current quilt, but immediately could see this as the answer. Thank you, Tim!

    • timquilts says:

      Great! I must confess that the idea for that didn’t come to me until I had it in the hoop and started the echo quilting….I am glad I thought of it before I got too far!

  3. Karen says:

    Great decisions in the design of how to quilt this and thanks for always giving the rhyme/reason and other tips! Eli, my white mini schnauzer, says “woof” to Teddy.

  4. Jan Smith says:

    What a gorgeous appliquéd top! I love that you hand quilt these old pieces, and turn them into the beauties they were meant to be. Your design choices are spot on! Thanks for all the info you share about the tops and your methods.

  5. Cathi says:

    Wow! That is a stunning quilt. Your quilting is really going to make it sing. How would you compare the Cream Rose cotton batting to the silk batts for ease of stitching?

    • timquilts says:

      I think it is comparable. The silk is a bit easier but not a big difference…..what I am learning the more quilts I do is that the backing fabric makes as much difference as the batting. a looser weave backing fabric makes the quilting much easier than a tight weave! I am working on one that I used a piece of vintage tightly woven polly cotton blend fabric for the backing and also cram rose for the batting. it is so hard to quilt! so the batting is not the only thing…..but anyway I think that silk is still the easiest, next wool, next this cream rose. but all are similar…..hows that for a round about answer 🙂

  6. Megan F says:

    I had one quilt collector tell me “one ought not” to finish vintage tops — but I disagree! They were created with intention to *be* quilts, and I love that you are doing this work and sharing it. Hoping to get around to some of my vintage tops soon…

    • timquilts says:

      I whole hardheartedly agree! they were always intended to be quilts…they should be finished…..but the quilt historian police dont seem to agree ….I will say that if it is a very rare and fragile top I wouldn’t finish it , but most of my collection is not in that category …Hope you can get to some of yours…I know they will be beautiful!

  7. Prairie Quilter/Nebraska says:

    I love the feathers to create the sashing between the blocks. That is perfect for this type of quilt. I’d have never thought of it, but it will be (hopefully) something I remember. I like the echo quilting as well. It allows the applique to be the focus.
    About the stain – I agree with you that this is just part of being a vintage quilt and won’t detract from it when it is finished. However, I have quilter friends who have had great success with cleaning and removing stains from vintage quilt tops using products called Retro-Wash and Retro-Clean. Comes highly recommended, although I’ve not had an opportunity to use them personally.
    This is going to be another stunning quilt. Looks like it will be a fun one to work on as well.

    • timquilts says:

      Glad you like the feather idea….I think the original quilter must have been speaking to me because it came to me as I was working on it and I didn’t think of it before
      . I have heard of retro wash and clean….I should give them a try…there is another one called restore that I want to try as well. On this one I want to be as conservative on washing as I can because I do not want to fade the fabrics at all….they are still so bright!

  8. Sara says:

    Let me know when you’re almost finished and I will send you the address to mail it to! 🙂

    • timquilts says:

      LOL! I think the owner of this one would have a bit of a problem with that 😉

      • Kristen says:

        No way, Sara — back off. 🙂 I’ve suffered long and hard watching fabulous quilts from Tim’s fingers go off to others, but on this one I am standing my ground. It’s coming home whenever Tim has had his fill of it, shown it to admirers, etc. I am so looking forward to the look on my husband’s face! We thought we weren’t worthy to own a Tim Latimer — we have come up in the world!

      • timquilts says:

        LOL….you are so funny! I didn’t want to spill the beans that it was you in case Hubby ever reads the blog

  9. Hi Tim, thanks for sharing your needles and size and thread. I’m always curious about quilting choices. Thimble? The vintage unbleached muslin…another lucky find? I love that stuff. I have a box of unopened muslin sheets from the 60’s. I’m using the 1st on my current project that is in the hoop and it is needling beautifully despite it being a sheet! So thankful because I have 9.5 more just like it! I also bought a 40# box of unbleached cotton/linen sugar sacks collected over the years by the wife of a brewery owner! They really suck up the color. Each is 40 x 40 opened up. Art quilt heaven 🙂

    • timquilts says:

      wow what a find! those sacks are awesome!
      I don’t use a real thimble….I use one on my thumb that I made with a copper pipe cap….I will try to post a picture of it soon

  10. Ann says:

    Ooooh, what a beauty!! This one makes my knees weak. I love your quilting decisions for it and look forward to progress reports.

  11. chris says:

    Hello! The top is so gorgeous, I was wondering how you would quilt it…so lovely! Can’t wait to see when finished! You are inspiring me to get a hand quilting project going! (I usually machine quilt) Thanks!

  12. Deb says:

    Wishing you many happy quilting hrs!!
    I like the aging spots on the quilt! It gives it character , just like the smiley wrinkles that my grandma wore!

  13. janet says:

    Your quilting looks beautiful so far! I love the feathers. Such a gorgeous quilt.

  14. nmaec43 says:

    The quilt will be gorgeous when you are done. Did you find the quilt on eBay or antique store? It sure was a find. And you are increasing the value with your great hand quilting.

    • timquilts says:

      I saw it on eBay and pointed it out to a friend….I said it was out of my price range so she bought it and i am quilting it for we both win…she gets the quilt and I get the enjoyment of working on it

  15. Liz K says:

    That is an absolutely beautiful quilt. I am a new follower and I am so impressed at how much you accomplish. Plus I love your design choices. Thanks for the info!

  16. You are so clever Tim! The quilting looks great already!

  17. Kristen says:

    Looks absolutely fabulous Tim.

  18. Debra Gutenson says:

    Tim, you’re a genius. And a wonderful generous genius. I always marvel at your work. And when you describe it, it sounds so simple. I will be channeling you when I try to quilt my next quilt. Simple. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  19. Nice top, would love to know whose it is, but it’s OK if they’re shy. We’ll find out when it surfaces at whatever point. I would avoid washing it after quilting, though. Over-dyed greens are extremely unstable. 🙂

    • timquilts says:

      It belongs yo my Friend Kristen….she bought it and sent it to me for quilting….it will be a gift for her husband so Im not putting it out there yet in case he ever reads the blog…years ago she saw one of my quilts on ebay that I was selling and she sent me a message about how much she admired my work…she was my first real fan and great encouragement to keep quilting….it is great to be finally making one for her.

      • Kristen says:

        That’s right, ladies and gents, I was one of the first to take note of Tim’s then undersung talents. In fact, one of the comments on this post reminds me of one of the first emails I wrote to Tim when I saw his jaw-dropping quilts on sale on eBay — his quilting gave me the shivers then too. Think of it, you see so many quilts, you love all quilts — and then you see a quilt with “the touch,” in which the quilting just sings. It’s what keeps all of us quilt lovers going. And Tim is a master exponent, growing ever more known and recognized in the quilt world. I’m proud to support his art.

  20. Cheryl says:

    I enjoy the selection and progression of your projects, but what really floats my boat is your practicality. Your use of tools (pipe thimble, scissor feather template, basic wooden hoop) is very clever. I love and appreciate your “more with less” approach. I’ve been following your blog for about a year; had I tuned in sooner I would have saved a lot of money on stuff quilter’s MUST have ($500 floor frame, marking tools, etc). Over the years I have watched the quilt world explode with machines, threads and gadgets-I do appreciate these innovations, but I wonder if it overwhelms some folks and keeps them from trying to learn because they can’t afford it. Thank you, Tim. PS: How do you quilt the outer edges of the quilt to keep them from stretching?

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Cheryl! I try to make due before I make a purchase. I think maybe that is how they did it in the past so i follow that when I can.
      as to the edge of the quilt…..I did a post about that here
      what I do most often now is pin a terry cloth towel to the edge of the quilt so that I can still put it in the hoop and the edge goes near the center of the hoop and the towel holds it in the hoop….I like to use a towel because it is closer to the thickness of the layered quilt and keeps it from slipping. Hope that makes sense. Happy Quilting

  21. fractalgal says:

    Beautiful quilt. You’re inspiring me to finish my 9 year old son’s quilt. I worked on it a bit yesterday. I really like your hand quilting!

  22. Tina says:

    WOW!! Just beautiful and I love the information on how you laid out your feathers as well as how you pin and use the hoop to steady the layers. I’ve never done any hand quilting, but it is on my list to do, so I really appreciate the information in this post! Thanks so much!!! (I am new to your blog and plan to spend some time looking through previous posts). Again, this quilt top is just beautiful!!!! Congratulations!!!!

  23. Ginney says:

    This one is going to be beautiful!

  24. Diane says:

    I love needleturn applique (and even have a few fat qtrs of the red fabric in this quilt!!) This is a gorgeous gorgeous quilt — kissed by your hand talents! Beautiful beautiful beautiful!

    • timquilts says:

      I love the look of applique but I am not good at it…I am so glad that this one was all finished for me 150 years ago….it is hard to find a good antique red…you are lucky to have it

  25. Debe says:

    So, did you do the echo quilting as well or did you remove it and just do the feathers?


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