The most important thing was to get the basting right. Your quilt top needs to be well basted.
First I knotted my basting thread at both ends to keep it secure. I basted about 2 fingers apart (about 1-1/2") horizontally and vertically. It is a lot closer than my usual basting. I also did a fairly large back stitch every couple of stitches. This really seemed to help anchor the quilt even better. I really think that made a difference to reduce shifting while I was quilting.
Before we get to the quilting I should say that I used a size 10 straw needle (which is what I use for applique). I found I needed a longer needle because you need to have enough needle to hang into. I also used Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting. And I sat at a table for a bit of extra stability.
There are 2 methods for quilting...the first is that you pinch your quilt just before your quilting line. Then to quilt you move both the needle hand and the hand that is pinching the quilt. This was how Suzanne Marshall quilted. It has the advantage of being able to quilt any size quilt. Although I could do it OK I did not find this a natural motion and really preferred the hoop.
The next technique is to pinch the quilt in your hand. The motion of quilting comes from the non-needle hand. Basically the needle stays flat and you load the needle with the other hand using an up and down motion. This method felt completely natural and I really like it...for small quilts. For larger quilts it would be pretty hard to hang onto. I can see me doing this from now on!
It took a bit of practice to follow the straight lines and then again on the curves. One tip for the curves...you might only be able to put on 2 or 3 stitches at a time. It wasn't long though before my stitches were getting consistent. One other important thing was after taking a needle full of stitches I smoothed out the area I was quilting. It didn't take long before I just did it and didn't even think about it. Again...quite natural!
And for the back...no puckers!
Remember the little needle turn quilt from last week? Well I liked this so much I got it ready for hoopless quilting today!