How to Quilt by Hand

Learn to quilt by hand with these easy hand-quilting techniques.


| September 2014



Hand quilting

Even with the most modern of quilt patterns, hand quilting is a way to connect with the long tradition of quilting worldwide.


Photo by Keller + Keller Photography Inc.

Quilting with a Modern Slant (Storey Publishing, 2014) offers a glimpse into dozens of unique visions, with profiles of quilters and artists who have developed their own aesthetic and quilting tips and patterns from author Rachel May. Modern quilting offers the freedom to play with fabrics, patterns, colors, stitching and the way in which they all connect. With photographs of finished quilts, quilting tips and tutorials on natural dyeing, machine quilting, appliqué, finishing, improvisational piecing and even starting a blog, this book is chock-full of ideas to inspire quilters of every level. This tutorial from “Chapter 4: Quilting from Tradition,” was co-written by Alice Webb Greer and Rachel May and shows how to quilt by hand.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Quilting with a Modern Slant.

Hand-Quilting Basics

1. Use tiny needles when you quilt by hand (these are—no surprise—called quilting needles). When hand-quilting with a hoop, leave your fabric a little less tense than when you embroider, so that your needle can move through all three layers several stitches at a time.

2. You can buy special, slightly thicker thread for quilting by hand. (Figure 1 in the slideshow) If you’re new to it, you may want to choose a color that blends with your fabric. Or, try using pearl cotton, which is heavier weight and will draw more attention to your stitches (and will also require a bigger needle).

3. Make a quilter’s knot in your thread by wrapping the thread around your needle three or four times. (Figure 2 in the slideshow)

Pull the needle through until the knot forms. (Figure 3 in the slideshow)

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