Hand Quilting


I just got home from Quilt Festival in Houston and will need a day or two to get back up to speed on everything, decompress, and tell you about my experience in the booth for The Quilter’s Planner and Quilt Theory along with my time (limited as it was) with some of the quilts and walking the show.

Doll Quilt
Doll Quilt

On the way to and from Houston, I had long flights, and I was so glad I had prepared a bit of hand work to take with me to keep me busy. On the trip to Texas, I was able to hand quilt the doll quilt I plan to gift to my niece for Christmas. Hurray!

Doll Quilt - Detail
Doll Quilt – Detail

I quilted hearts in just over half of the blocks and then made a running stitch that zig zags around the remaining blocks in the quilt. I will be perfectly honest: I’m not entirely sure of what I am doing with hand quilting as this was my first attempt, but I am happy with it, it passed the time for me on a long flight, and I am sure my niece is going to love it regardless. I just need to put on some binding this week and I’ll have a (tiny) finish!

AMH Mini Quilt
AMH Mini Quilt

I figured that the doll quilt would not take that long to hand quilt since it is so tiny, so I also grabbed a mini quilt top that I pieced back in January and thought I would put some hand quilting effort into it as well.

I am experimenting more with following the print designs and expect this will be a longer term project to pick up here and there.

I literally read up on how to tie a not and bury the thread to get started and kind of just sewed by feel. Does anyone have suggestions for tutorials I should read on hand quilting? I expect at least for now I will just keep doing what I’m doing and learn a lot by trial and error… but that is mostly because I don’t think I’ll be doing this too much in the short term (aka, I don’t know when I’ll pick it back up again and might as well be consistent?!?).

Linking up with Main Crush Monday.


  • I’m sure your niece will love her doll quilt. Those hand stitches are the perfect touches for this sweet little quilt. And I do love how the stitches you’ve added to the second one follows and compliments the patterns in the fabric. A small project to keep on hand when you just need a break is a great idea.

  • Yvonne, when I started hand quilting I picked up a book at my local Joann’s and read it. I still don’t get a consistent length to my stitches and haven’t figured out how to rock my needle through 3 layers of my large quilts so for me it’s the up and down method like a needle point until I can find someone who can actually show me how to do it correctly! But your little quilt is so cute and your stitches are so even!

  • I do love the doll quilt! You are teaching me here… in all my years of hand quilting, I have not used floss or 12 weight thread… only hand quilting thread, and I haven’t experimented with following fabric motifs. Don’t stop what you are doing! Beautiful work! Thank YOU for the lesson!!!

  • Great job on both quilts. Sarah Fielke has a YouTube video on hand quilting that you might want to view. Very helpful, plus she has an Aussie accent that’s fun to listen to!

  • I love hand quilting, and am proficient at it. It’s just so time consuming. I learned in a class at a LQS, that is sadly long gone. I will be on the lookout for tutorials. If I lived l closer, I’d be happy to teach you. I gave a demo at my quilt guild meeting. Hand quilting is very relaxing.

  • Good job Yvonne! I viewed the Sarah Fielke You Tube Video, but frankly I just go & do! I don’t worry about making every stitch perfect. That would take the fun out of it for me!

  • You’re doing a really nice job with your hand quilting. The little hearts are a +100 to cuteness on anything;))) and your mini has a beatiful range of patterned fabrics, I can see why you want to highlight them with quilting.

  • Hooray for hand quilting! I am glad you are giving it a try. There are lots of great tutorials, but it is a very individual skill. Find the tips that resonate with you and go for it! You might want to check out tutorials by Tim Latimer, Molly Flanders and Sarah Fielke (free on Craftsy).

  • Thanks for sharing those lovely little quilts. I think the hand quilting adds a different dimension than machine quilting but it is time-consuming. I did on whole cloth quilt many years ago but have done very little (only small pieces) since. And of course binding. I think I saw a class advertised on Craftsy not too long ago. What weight thread are you using for your quilting?

  • Good Morning Yvonne! How wonderful that you are trying hand quilting. I have tried it and do not like it done in the correct manner, with the few attempts that I have made I always end up doing hand embroidery stitches. That I understand and really have fun with, but at the same time I have enough hand embroidery projects to keep me occupied for awhile so I do not need to add more. LOL. I think it is fabulous that people try and we all end up choosing what works for us. Your niece will love her quilt. Thank you for sharing a part of your quilting adventure and good luck on your further adventures in this part of quilting! Have a fantastic creative day!

  • Lovely wee quilt for a doll, and on the plane, were you allowed to take scissors on board? Maybe on internal flights they are OK. And on the next small quilt, those hand stitched diamonds are lovely, the thread you chose is perfect.

  • I used to hand quilt everything (before kids), and I really think its as straight-forward as you’re finding it. You’ve got this! Everyone I know who hand quilts uses a slightly different method. Its really a matter of experimenting and finding what works for you. I do not use a frame or hoop, preferring to work with a loose, well-basted quilt. However, I do “rock” my needle. Its so much faster, and I find it easy to get consistent stitch length. Do you do any other hand sewing? Its just a running stitch, but through the multiple layers. I don’t know why its made to sound mysterious. Your stitch length looks good to me, about the size I prefer, but you could experiment with going smaller and see what you like. This is probably obvious, but you don’t want to go much bigger, if at all, because it will be too weak. The sashiko stitching is as big as I’m comfortable with.

  • I think your hand quilting looks great! You’re giving me Quilting Envy, because I don’t have anything ready for the quilting stage at the moment. I love the magic of the texture appearing in the quilt right between my fingers as I’m hand quilting. And yes, I do have a suggestion. There’s a book and a video called That Perfect Stitch that are AWESOME, and the Roxanne thimble developed by that author makes a huge difference, too. I like my Grace Company square lap hoop for hand quilting on the go, and if you ever get the chance to take a class with Dierdre McElroy, I highly recommend it. Getting feedback from a teacher in person is so helpful with a technique that’s all about developing fine motor skills.

    By the way, I really love the bold thread you were using to embellish your fabric prints with your quilting. Is that an embroidery floss or some other thread?

  • Good on you for giving something new a go. the comments have lots of tips and this is something that I’ll try some time. I really like the look of big stitch quilting. I think Chelsea (Patch Giraffe) has a few tips for that.

  • I love the little hearts you added – they are the perfect touch. The only quilt I ever attempted to hand quilt I picked out and finished it by machine, so I’m no help. 🙂 One day I’ll try it again; kudos for starting something new. It will be great to have a hand project to pick up when you need a little something to keep busy with. Thanks for sharing your doll quilt on MCM!

  • The little doll quilt is looking adorable a great way to trial hand quilting, I’ve been intrigued to try this too and look forward to viewing more of yours as both are lovely thanks for sharing xxx

  • The doll quilt is so cute! I really like the hearts you quilted into it as they lend a whimsical touch that is perfect. I used to hand quilt everything, and I’ve been thinking about adding it back into the mix again. We’ll see what happens. I’m guaranteed to take forever to finish any hand quilting projects, that’s for sure!

  • I’ve never really hand quilted but I love what you are doing on both these quilts! I’m sure your niece will love it!

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)