The Basics of Hand Quilting

Hand quilting begins with the easy-to-make running stitches that securely hold the three layers, the quilt top, batting, and the backing, in place.

If you are a person who finds joy when the little stitches appear as you slowly develop a rhythm of rocking the needle back and forth and the quiet solitude that comes from creating the distinctive touch that comes seeing a design emerge on the cloth one tiny stitch at a time, than you are a hand quilter.

hand quilting

Designs variations for hand quilting extend from simple to graceful curves.  The choice depends on your selection and your artistic background since there are no rules to guide you.  The main purpose of these stitching lines or the hand quilting is to hold the 3 layers together.

The most often used pattern or design is a straight-line design.  Though this pattern is not especially interesting, it is easy to quilt by hand.  The use of horizontal lines, drawn parallel to each other which create a geometric pattern is easy to sew.  Another variation of this pattern is to produce both horizontal and vertical lines forming a series of squares or diamonds.  These crisscrossed designs are often times used to surround a motif, giving it more prominence.

Many fabrics that are purchased have lovely designs.  One of the easiest ways to hand quilt is to trace around these designs with small running stitches.  This method makes the design stand out or puff out.  Although the quilting stitches will not be noticeable on the top of the quilt, the design is quite apparent from the back.

More elaborate or intricate designs can be done to create tessellated patterns.  The use of a curved line or shell pattern with a repeated row upon row makes an elaborate design and can be used to fill in border spaces or blocks with large empty spaces.  To help with planning these designs, the quilter can purchase templates for easy tracing and centering on the quilt top.  The border designs, which add a more graceful feeling, uses feathery template yet wavelike curves, will add a more geometric look to the stitching lines of your quilt.

There are many ways to transfer theses template patterns on to the quilt top.  The use of an erasable pen will not stain your fabric yet allow for the quilter to see the markings easily while hand quilting.  All patterns should be marked prior to placing your quilt into the frame for sewing.

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