How to Hand Quilt from an Expert


I recently learned to hand quilt. In sharing my story, I tried to describe hand quilting. I received a couple of questions asking for more of explanation. I really don’t know enough to answer them properly, so I reached out to Ann Rindge, the winner of Best Hand Quilting at the 2013 Vashon Quilt Guild Quilt Show for her description.


Ann says: “The technique I am most comfortable with uses a rocking motion with the needle.  After I have buried the knot into the quilt sandwich, I balance the needle gently under the thimble of my top hand and the middle (or index) finger of my bottom hand.  The needle should be perpendicular to the quilt.  The thumb of my thimble hand rests on the quilt just in front of where I wish to travel with the needle.  I gently push down on the needle until I start to feel the tip of it underneath.  Then in a simultaneous movement, I lay the needle back and flat on the quilt top while guiding the needle tip up through the quilt layers with my underneath hand and pushing down with my thumb on the quilt top.  Once you see the tip of the needle come back to the top, then you bring it back up perpendicular to the quilt so you can load another stitch onto the needle.”


“You just keep repeating the above rocking motion until you have about 3-4 stitches onto your quilting needle before you pull the thread through. This stitch works best if your index finger underneath and your thumb on top are offset just a bit.  This helps to guide the needle through the quilt sandwich easily, helping you to make consistent, even stitches.  Another key tip is to be gentle with all your motions; don’t push so hard that you feel pain. FYI – There is a really good visual guide of this stitch in the following book, “The Quilter’s Ultimate Visual Guide”.  See the Hand Quilting section for the step-by-step photos.”

IMG_0108The pictures in this post are of Ann’s award winning quilt. It won both best hand quilting in show and first place in its category! So it’s technically wonderfully and beautiful to look at when considering composition, piecing, applique and quilting! The design includes lots of negative space that she filled up with beautiful hand quilted designs. The basket includes a little something to represent each of her “Quilty Lady” friends, including my mom!


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