Quality hand quilting is all about the stitch size and how even the stitches are. The smaller and more even the stitches the better – but that’s often not easy for beginning (or even experienced) quilters to achieve.
That’s why we were excited to find the excellent hand quilting tutorial at RebeccaMaeDesigns.com.
While this tutorial is a great hand quilting how-to, it’s designed specifically for stitching with colorful perle cotton. The stitches, rather than fading into the background, become part of the design.
We love how outline stitching in corresponding colors of perle cotton accents a quilt’s design. But, another benefit of using perle cotton is that you want stitches to be a little larger so they show off nicely. That makes perle cotton a great starter for beginning hand quilters (and those wanting to brush up on their skills).
In this tutorial you learn what supplies you need and a lot of handy tips that apply to hand quilting with any thread. We especially like the needle threader the author uses.
Excellent instructions are given for hiding knots, both at the beginning and end of your needle’s thread supply. These two tips can mean the difference between so-so quilting and quilting that shines.
The rocking stitch is clearly displayed and explained. This is the must-know hand quilting technique for producing small, even stitches. “Practicing” with a project quilted with perle cotton (where you want the stitches a little larger so they clearly show) will improve all of your hand quilting.
Start a stitch with the needle sticking straight down through the quilt. I’m right handed and I have my right hand on top of the quilt making the stitch, and my left hand guiding the needle on the back of my quilt. In the next picture my left hand is under the quilt sandwich and the needle is just poking through the other side resting on my finger tip. (yes, this finger tip will get a little sore… occupational hazzard).
When I feel the point of the needle come through the back of the quilt with my finger tip, I tilt the needle backward away from me. Now, push that back finger up, creating a small bump on the quilt top where your needle is. With your right hand thumb, push down on the quilt top in front of the needle, making the bump more defined, and now you can push the needle through that bump.
Another great tip, which means you won’t have to mark everything on your quilt top:
If you are quilting a long straight line and need a ‘guide’ try using painters tape and just stitch along side of it! It helps and the tape pulls right off and you can use it a couple more times before the ‘stick’ is worn out.
There is a lot of other good information in the tutorial, as well as a list of resources for perfecting your hand quilting.