Friday, July 3, 2020

Hand Quilting with No Hoop

When I teach hand quilting, I offer several different ways to make the stitches (rocking, running, and stab stitch), with a hoop or without. (The stab stitch must be done with the quilt in a hoop, a subject for a future post.)

I prefer to quilt with a hoop, but some students just do not like to use a hoop. For small projects a hoop is not necessary, because it is easy to wrap your hand around the edges. But for a larger quilt, you have to get to the middle somehow first, right? 

Before you start stitching, be sure to baste the quilt well so layers will not shift. I baste with thread overall about a hand's width apart. 

My friend, Jeana Kimball taught me many years ago how to quilt without a hoop, and I will try to explain how I do it. The photo above shows the middle of the quilt. (Sometime soon I hope to prepare a video.)

The bulk of the quilt is loosely gathered in my lap, or across a table to support the weight.
I am right handed, so I stitch with my right hand as my left hand maneuvers the stitching area from underneath. 

To begin, close to the stitching area, I pinch the whole quilt with my LEFT hand first finger and thumb. The other three fingers form a flat area under the quilt. My RIGHT hand holds the needle, and adds some tension on the stitching area. I do a "rocking stitch" or "running stitch" with a thimble pushing the needle eye to make the quilting stitches. As I insert each stitch, the LEFT hand "tall man" finger feels the needle tip, the same as when I do use a hoop.

Give this a try. It's easier to do than it is to explain!

P.S. Thread shown here is Coats Cotton Covered Bold Hand Quilting, Tango.

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
(c)2020 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

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