QOTD How and where do you hand quilt?

murphy_zone7September 28, 2010

I mean how do you do it? And where? In a chair in your lap, with a hoop, without a hoop, a floor hoop, on a bigger quilting stand? What are the pros and cons of each way?

I want to learn to hand quilt and am curious as to the different methods of how it is done. Not the stitching itself but equipment/tools. Like whether to use a hoop or not, a stand or not. The sizes of hoops and stands that are best? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each method?

I searched the forum and found the discussion back in April about the "lost art of hand stitching" very very interesting and we probably don't want to go there again. LOL But haven't seen a discussion on the methods/equipment.

Thank you all for being so giving in your knowledge of quilting, I have learned so much here.


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I'm glad you asked this questions. When and if I ever get my hand applique blocks done, I plan on hand quilting my quilt (25, 14" blocks + border). I took a hand quilting class, mostly to learn the technique, but the teacher did go over equipment. She mostly used a round hoop. She had some that had a stand that you sit on and it would also go on a floor stand (very versatile) but she mostly said it was a personal preference. I haven't done much hand quilting, and I'm still learning the technique (don't have that rocking motion down yet!), so I haven't really purchased any equipment other than a big hoop.

Good luck and show us pictures when you get to working on something!


    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 8:37AM
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After struggling with hoops, floor frame, etc. I finally realized that it's best for me to not use a frame or hoop. With small projects it's easy, and you can go anywhere with it. But with large quilts, I use my large banquet table in my sewing room and sit on a comfortable chair. The big challenge is finding the exact way to position the bulk of the quilt in just the right way to be comfortable, but after awhile you figure it out. I found that I couldn't get comfortable with the hoop, and leaning over the frame was really killing my back. Plus the fact that you have to keep un-framing and framing it to move on to other areas - don't like that. But to each their own. I also get beautiful, even stitches this way as with the frame, hoop it wasn't as nice.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:06AM
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I use a Q-snap type floor frame I got on sale at JoAnne's, the one with spring button adjustable legs so I can tilt it toward me a little bit. It's easy to set up and use, sturdy enough to lean on, and not too huge.

I pull it up to my little rocker and tip forward into it on the edge of my seat. Lately though, I'm thinking a rolling chair would be nice, and I have my eye on this one below. I was always in trouble in school for tipping my chair forward...ignore the guy in picture. To get the comfort out of this position, you have to put your feet back to either side, or you don't get the real change in back position and weight bearing.

I just have to find it somewhere...on sale. ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: I want to try this chair

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:09AM
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I'm still learning but for small quilts(I did some mini's last christmas) I used a rectangle plastic fram. For large ones I just got a Dritz floor fram, has adgustable legs and can do a large area at a time. I finnished HQ my first large(queen size) quilt last week and I
have 2 more ready to go.
I have my quilting fram in the bed room and usualy work on it in the evening once the boys have settled down.
It was a hard choice wethr to get a fram but I hate mushing a big quilt through the sewing mach.
Good luck

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:59AM
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I have a small floor frame and a snap PVC pipe lap frame. I can not hand quilt without a frame, but I do like loose tension. I still on the sofa and kind of fold the quilt around me. The floor frame gives me a back ache if I use it much.
The 'lost art' discussion always comes up and I have read some pretty passionate discussions lol!!!! When I first started quilting MQ was not really considered quilting, it has made so many advances. What a lot of quilters don't realize is that each type is a different skill set with advantages and disadvantages.
I am teaching myself to machine quilt. Hopefully I will master FMQing in my lifetime lol!!!! I want to FMQ feathers and so far they look like a persons spine more than feathers.
Some on this forum have become very good at it.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 1:16PM
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I have a large floor frame that I have quilted 2 quilts on, a king and a queen. I can't say I enjoy that technique but it works for some. An advantage is not having to hand pin or baste the layers.
I have done another queen quilt using an 18" round lap frame. More to my liking but now I am using an oval lap frame about 14"x 10" on a queen quilt. It requires lots of moving but I like the size.
I have used small Q-frames more designed for emb. for small projects and they have worked for me but not for large things. Perhaps that just arn't large enough.
I sit in a st.backed rocker to quilt with comfortable arm rest. I have a foot stool that holds the bulk of the quilt.
When I used the floor frame I have an office rolling chair that I used which I recommend.
I have tried to quilt without a frame but like the control that a frame offers the fabric.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:16PM
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Murphy: I'm a novice at quilting, but I own two different styles of frames.

In a church quilting bee I had to use a 18" embroidery hoop, for its portability and compact storage. DRAWBACK: I had to constantly move the hoop for a new area to work.

My first is a Homemade quilting frame, made from 2"PVC pipe & 2 1/2" half pipe. its top is four-foot square and the legs are about 38" high. You place the area to be quilted over the top, then use the half-pipe pieces to clamp the quilt on. It's very lightweight and breaks-down/sets-up rapidly. If I want any section of it adjusted in length, I guess I could just buy more 2" PVC pipe and cut to desired length.

The second frame: I inherited from my DGM and it was her DM's before her. It is a wood frame that is suspended from the ceiling on pulleys for raising out of the way when I'm not working on something. It is adjustable from a crib size to a queen size. DRAWBACK: it takes two to roll the quilt to a new working area.

I prefer the PVC frame, because it's adjustable, lightweight, I don't have to move a WIP around real often to start a new area, I can slip the legs out and tuck it behind the couch with the WIP still in it, & it's sturdy enough to lean (heavily) on.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 1:57AM
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I learned on my aunt's suspended rectangular quilt frame, but I don't have room in my home for a suspended frame or for a free-standing frame. When quilting queensize quilts I use a 14" diameter hoop. I sit on my bed and watch tv/listen to music and quilt with the hoop laying on my lap. I like to relax against soft pillows while quilting so it doesn't kill my back. That way I don't have to quilt bent over. And I keep a large plastic rubbermaid lid handy. When I need to reposition the hoop to another section of fabric I lay the plastic lid on my bed and use it as a hard, clean surface to press the hoop inner and outer circles together. And with the lid I also keep the large plastic tub/box that came with it beside my bed and that is what I store the quilt in at night that way it stays nice and clean and does not get stepped on by DH when he gets ready for work in the wee hours of the morning while the lights are off in the bedroom. I don't have a lot of extra space in my bedroom so that is how I do it. And I keep much smaller hoops for doing embroidery/stencil work.

Best to you,
Sandra aka quiltingfox

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 4:54PM
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I also use quilting basting/safety pins to hold the entire queensize quilt together. I lay the quilt on a clean wooden floor and then pin up the layers together. I don't pin up the quilt fabric and batting on the bed as I end up pinning it to the bed. I like using the hoop in my lap as I can lay the quilt fabric on my bed while quilting so it stays nice and clean. I also like the hoop in my lap as I can turn it in any direction to rock my needle so I have to cut my thread fewer times. When rocking my needle I prefer to start at the top and work my way downward. I have been hand-quilting since 2000 and that is what works for me. Hope that helps.

Best to you,
Sandra aka quiltingfox

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 5:04PM
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I have done all of the above except for the frame hanging from the ceiling. I no longer am able to hand quilt very much and when I do, it's on something small and I do whatever works for me. I remember putting a TV tray in front of me and draping the larger quilts over it to keep it off my lap while sitting on the couch watching TV and quilting. @:)


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 8:43PM
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Thank you so much for the responses. I guess it is a "do what works for you" kind of thing. I do appreciate information on the hoop vs the frame. I don't have either right now. But both seem to be doable for what I want to do. I envision sitting in my recliner with the quilt draped around me and quilting while watching tv, listening to music, etc. My little dog thinks my lap is his area and don't know how he will feel about being covered up with a quilt. LOL He will just have to get used to it. Maybe I can use Sharon's method of draping a large quilt over a TV tray.
I do use a hoop for embroidery but like the idea of the PVC frame. Gonna check that out.
happy quilting to all

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 5:39AM
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Murphy, sometimes you just have to experiment to see what works best. I bought my PVC frame with a 50% off coupon at Michaels, JoAnnes may carry them too.
I like to use it sometimes and other times I prefer the embroidery hoop. The rehooping does turn some off but I don't mind it because I don't bend over as much, less strain on the back.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 3:19PM
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