Monday, January 8, 2018

Hand Quilting Tips and Tricks

I've now been quilting for almost 2 years now. I started to spend more time in Singapore (and away from my family) in 2015 when I moved teams so I had to fill up my evenings with something that would help me de-stress. The last time I quilted was 20 years ago and most of the time my Mom would finish my projects since I found it difficult to put the bias and attach bag handles. This was something I forgot when I started to quilt again so I had to learn by myself. Thanks to the many resources available online and quilt books my friends gave me I learned a lot.

Here's a few things I learned and re-learned in the last 2 years:

1. Plan your project - I normally get inspiration for my projects by reading quilt books and magazines. I've started to make a list of projects I want to do, but I decide on whatever I feel like doing at the moment. Once I decide what to make I start by plotting the project on a math notebook. I do this mainly to know how much fabric I need to cut and what other materials I'd need (i.e. zippers, buttons etc.).

2. Set a cutting day - before I embarked on my Christmas project I set a full weekend just to cut all the fabric I needed. It's also less messy when you cut stuff one time big time.

3. Making your quilt less clumpy - I never had formal training so I had to learn and unlearn stuff as I went along. I noticed that sometimes parts of my quilt would be clumpy. I read that it's better to sandwich your project by putting loose thread on it. I used to use pins which made it clumpy.

4. Use tiny clothespin for holding bias - better than using pins! This also helped make the wadding more evenly distributed across the quilt.

5. Needles do affect the number of stitches per inch - I've been trying hard to make my stitches evenly distributed per inch. The tiny quilt needle does help in making the stitches more even. I use different needles though and realized that they affect the size of your stitches (especially if you use thicker needles). Try to stick it out with the recommended quilt needle.

6. Iron before sandwiching your project - one of the reasons why my earlier projects ended up clumpy was because I didn't iron it before I sandwiched it with wadding. I bought a tiny iron and it's done wonders to my projects and have been handy in making bias too.

7. Use the right wadding - I had no idea there were different types of wadding since they only had one type in Manila. I read up more about wadding when I saw that there were many types in Spotlight. I like using the thicker one although it's easier to quilt with the thinner ones. I've yet to try the bamboo type though.

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