More Hand Quilting

I’m still at it.   I worked on the snowflake quilt for about 14 hours on Saturday and 16 on Sunday.   I have 2 corners left to quilt.

Here are pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

Teddy wanted to try it out again.


I get a lot of questions and concern about my hands.    Many hand quilters use the finger on the under hand to feel the needle.   When the needle goes through the fabric from the top the finger on the bottom side of the quilt is used to feel the tip of the needle coming through and determine how far to push it through before pushing it back to the top thus regulating stitch length.  The result being that the finger on the under hand gets poked by a needle with every stitch.   I have seen some fingers that really look painfully damaged!  Some say that they build up a callus and the pain goes away.    I do it differently, my under hand finger pushes up the fabric but doesn’t touch the needle so I rarely poke it so I don’t suffer from the same kind of pain.   My hands have built up a lot of strength over the years of hand quilting so they really don’t get tired unless I am quilting very thick fabric.

Here are my fingers this morning after quilting for 30 hours over the weekend


a bit rough but more from flowers than needles.

I have 2 corners to finish and based on the last corner I will need 60 hours to finish them.   That would normally be about 10 days but I am going to try to do it in a week.    Check back for more progress pictures soon.

Happy Quilting


29 thoughts on “More Hand Quilting

  1. Sara says:

    Insane! 🙂

  2. Kathy Roloff says:

    I was wondering about your hands, also. Thank you for addressing this in your post. As a hand quilter with sore fingers, I would love to see your underhand position. Your piece is absolutely beautiful!

  3. Carolyn Magnani says:

    Tim, I am a gardener and quilter also. What is your first love? My gardens are my first love however I think of it as the same process just a different medium. Both are the placement of color and form. I, too am a hand quilter but with sore fingers. I so admired your quilts at the Des Moines AQS show and look forward to your visit to the Des Moines Guild in 2015 . Carolyn Magnani

    Sent from my iPad


    • timquilts says:

      Gardening was first…and I still love it, but quilting has edged it out … because I can do ti year round…..but I still love the garden…I don’t think I could be without either

  4. Annette Johnston says:

    Tim, a tiny piece of duct tape on the tips of your under finger works spectacularly. Your quilt leaves me bowing to you. What an undertaking!

    • timquilts says:

      I have seen the tape method, one friend from Facebook uses electrical tape….they even sell little stick on pads for that…I have gotten to the point where I rarely even use a thimble…every quilter is different that is for sure!

  5. Cheryl says:

    We had our own version of your Teddy. Our miniature Schnauzer, Parker, didn’t care much for my quilt but oh how he loved to sit on the bench when I played piano and sing! Tim, your work is beautiful. I share your love of gardening but not this time of year when perennials need to be cut back to prepare for MN winter.

  6. Abby Rivers says:

    I love your blog,and your quilts. I do mostly handquilting. Haven t done a whole cloth yet,but used your video on handquilting to do some itilian quilting. Might be called different. Thanks for writing and posting. I myselff haven t got sore fingertops,or any thimble on it. Imove the fabric ,and avoid the pinching in the vingers that way.

    Please continue sharing!

  7. Lorij says:

    Hi Tim, you’re doing a great job. I hardly use thimbles either. You’re right if you use the under hand to push the fabric your finger doesn’t get stuck. Your work is absolutely beautiful!!!!!! Teddy is so cute and, seems such a gentle soul too. You work quickly so you’ll be finished.
    Then maybe you can do something around the house just for a break before starting on a new one or, work on something else you’ve not completed. Lorij

  8. Anne Kasten says:

    This quilt is absolutely extraordinary!
    and your work ethic too.

    Thank you so much, Tim, for sharing with us. You are the BEST!

  9. Lesley Petri says:

    You are truly an amazing artist.

  10. Deb says:

    This is going to be marvelous when your finished! Your getting there ! 🙂

  11. audrey says:

    Such detailed quilting! Very impressive.:) Great to see that you take care of your fingers while you quilt. I wondered how you could handle the long hours of quilting!

  12. Gerrie says:

    Spectacular! You are not going to kill yourself with trapunto on this are you, as I don’t think you have enough time? Can’t wait to see what you do with the border… always a perfect finish from you!

  13. Lindsay Pavel says:

    Aside from the amazing folded paper design, I really love your jingle bell wreath. It is familiar and unusual at the same time. You will feel so satisfied to show it and I will be delighted to see it shown.

  14. Nancy says:

    Tim.. your comment on thimbles brings this to mind immediately: I was a volunteer at a quilt frame this summer where we invited kids 8 and older to try their hand at quilting our reproduction fabrics’ quilt. A little gal no more than about 12 sat down and without direction picked up the needle and started quilting (stab stitch style). She looked at my finger with the thimble and said ” I’ve never used a thimble my ENTIRE life. I just can’t get used to one.” 🙂 Over the course of a few weeks, I had several boys sit down to try their hand. Generally speaking, I found they were more serious about doing a good job than the girls. I was impressed… as I am with your beautiful hand quilting!

  15. Delse says:

    I am also a hand quilter with sore hands. I read in a blog somewhere using super glue on the index and middle finger of the “underfabric” hand. It works super. A little dab and I can quilt all weekend.

    Word to the wise, let the glue dry for 5 minutes and don’t touch ANYTHING, especially your eye glasses. It won’t come off easily.

    Thanks for the post.


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