Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I'm free.. to hand quilt without a hoop! This was a wonderful challenge that really will give me more options for quilting.

It began with The Quilt Show Episode 203 with Suzanne Marshall and also Sharon Schamber's video on quilting hoopless. They both have a different way of going about it so I tried both techniques.

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 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!

Ta Da!

And for the puckers!

Remember the little needle turn quilt from last week? Well I liked this so much I got it ready for hoopless quilting today!

Try is definitely one to try! Happy stitching!


  1. I'm impressed.Your quilting looks just as good as using a hoop. I agree that a large quilt would be more challenging. I was a bit surprised at the use of such a large needle. I don't think this technique is something I'd try - guess I'm too old for the learning curve! As always, good info Ann.

  2. Gorgeous work! I loved your stitching, and the stitches all looked consistent!

  3. Your quilting stitches are just amazing. I've been trying the hoopless method myself for small quilts--they're too small for the hoop anyway. I like it once I get used to it. I find the getting started stitches come out nicer than when I use the hoop.

  4. Just wonderful,I will try same of your stitches....