Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Bold Hand Quilting

So lucky to have one of our great sponsors Coats and Clark visit us today!

About our author:
Annette Millard is passionate about sewing and has worked in the sewing industry for many years. She is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands! She writing blog posts about products and projects for the Coats & Clark Sewing Secrets Blog. Follow Annette and more of her sewing adventures on her own blog,

Beyond the tiny stitches of traditional hand quilting, comes the trend towards a bolder approach! Big Stitch Quilting is delightful and distinct in appearance, a bit speedier, but still closely related to it’s small stitch cousin. Today I have a few tips and tricks plus four wonderful projects from Coats and Clark that will make your Big Stitch Quilting life fun, bold and beautiful!

Needles and Thread Make All the Difference
Needles and thread are the most important considerations in the success of Big Stitch Quilting. This is a technique that creates a bold expression and your stitches will be the stars. Many quilters try to achieve this distinctive look by using six strands of embroidery floss or heavier-weight perle cotton. Unfortunately, these often create a fuzzy or frayed look from the friction of the floss or perle cotton passing through your fabrics and batting over and over again. This can be frustratingly disappointing - when your stitches are starring, you want a solid, uniform look to the thread that creates them!

I’m thrilled to tell you about Coats Bold Hand Quilting Thread – it’s perfect for Big Stitch Quilting and comes in 17 colors on 160 meter spools! Coats has created a 25% Cotton/75% Polyester blend that can be machine washed, dried and ironed, so your finished project will be easy care. The Cotton content and glace finish gives Bold Hand Quilting Thread the lovely luster that makes floss or perle cotton appealing.  But, the strength of the Polyester is just what you need for durable and smooth big stitches. Once you’ve put in all that work, a handmade masterpiece should last for a very long time! Click here for more info and to view the luscious colors.

A heavier thread calls for a larger needle. For Bold Hand Quilting Thread, Coats recommends a size 6 or 7 hand sewing needle or an embroidery needle. Just be sure to choose a needle with an eye that is big enough for the thread to pass through easily. If you decide on an embroidery needle, check to see that it is a sharp point needle, not the kind that is dull on the end and designed for cross stitch. Try out your choice before you actually begin your project to make sure it is a good fit for you, your Bold Hand Quilting thread and your fabric and batting.  

Big Stitching Basics
As usual, you will create a quilt sandwich with your quilt top, batting and backing. Baste this together as you normally would, before you begin your project. I suggest starting with a practice piece if you’re new to hand quilting. If you’re an experienced hand quilter, you may want to practice, too, though. You’ll want to retrain your hands to make longer stitches! In traditional hand quilting, most quilters load their needle with stitches so that they have 8 to 10 stitches per 45mm. For Big Stitch Quilting, plan to make your stitches twice as long – from 4 to 5 stitches per 45mm. Since you are working with a larger needle and thicker thread, loading two to three stitches at a time will work best. 

 I find it best to cut a medium length of thread – around 60cm or so. A longer length is cumbersome to work with and really does not make the stitching go faster. If you’re a lover of thimbles, definitely use one.

Stitch length perfection should not make you crazy, but if you want your stitch length to be as consistent as possible, these are a few of my favorite tricks.

·        Use a ruler to mark your quilting lines, but instead of a solid line, use evenly spaced dots. These will become your stitch “markers” that can be easily followed as you’re quilting.

·        Your finger can be an excellent tool for consistent stitching. If you’re right handed, mark the side top of the index finger of your left hand with three or four evenly spaced pen marks. Lay your finger along the stitching line and take a stitch at each mark. If you’re a left handed stitcher, mark your right index finger. Just don’t prick your finger!

·        On a small project, machine-baste your quilting lines with a 4 to 5mm stitch length. You can follow these lines and use the stitches for consistent hand quilting length stitching over two machine stitches for each hand stitch.

Four Big Stitch Quilting Projects from Coats and Clark
Now that you’re ready for Big Stitch Quilting, here are four marvelous projects for you to try! I’ve ordered them from smallest to largest, so you can start out slowly if you like. And, if you’re in gift-making mode, the first two are absolutely perfect. Enjoy!

Strips ‘n Stitches and Log Cabin Pincushion
·       Two tidy places to keep your pins in traditional pieced style. Your addition of bold hand quilting will make them unique and out of the ordinary! Click here to download the pattern.

Dot2Dot Tablet Sleeve
·       A stylish way to keep your favorite tablet safe becomes the perfect base for whimsical Big Stitch Quilting. Using a dotted fabric makes even stitching easy!  Click here to download the pattern.

 Chevron Pillow
·       An on-trend design, a comfy pillow and your new skills in bold hand quilting make this a winning combo for your d├ęcor! Click here to download the pattern. 

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