Sunday, August 21, 2005

Quilting Without a Hoop

It astounds me that so many people quilt with frames and hoops. I gave that all up as too constrictive within the first 3 months of learning to quilt. It was difficult to make stitches, let alone even, small stitches. I think I was resorting to a lot of stab stitching and I hated every moment.

But I was determined to finish the bed quilt I'd started. (This was many, many years ago.) So I tossed aside the hoop and tried quilting without it. I discovered that it was far more relaxing and my quilting was superior in every way. That's how I've done it ever since. I've read of one quilter and met another who quilt in this same manner and swear by it. But that's it. Why does everyone else use hoops?

I thought I ought to mention how I quilt, because that might be why I can get away with sewing on borders the way I do, without measuring. I read in Gwen M's applique book about how she does her borders and she was saying how much stress her quilt top is under because she quilts in a frame. Made me realize that my tops are never under stress, because they are never stretched. When I baste (always with lots of safety pins these days - so much faster than thread basting) I just layer the backing, batting and top together and pin. No stretching.

I suppose the one drawback to quilting like this is that markings tend to get rubbed off, at least when I do them. So I never mark my quilting designs in advance, always just do a bitty bit as needed. Or, as in this case, I quilt without marking anything at all.

I coerced my husband into taking some photos of me quilting. He hates having people in his photos. Pictures should be of landscapes, monuments, architecture, whatever, with no people in sight whatsoever. Looking at our photos from the Nile cruise it practically looks like he went all by himself.

I'm wearing the Hand-Eze gloves which work fabulously for me. No more problems with numb wrists and fingers (I know, Bonnie, I know. Numb is bad.).

This is one of Habibi's favorite spots. There's a huge dip in the sofa cushion, he's spent so much time there.

I'm afraid my massage therapist is going to yell at me for posture or something.

Gotta take a break to give lovings to the kitty. Pokey often jumps up into my lap with a mrah-mrow for attention.


Frances said...

love the kitty photos :o)

I have never used a hoop or frame but I have never done a large quilt,

Sewcatherine said...

I am very intimidated by hand quilting. Also always thought I needed to invest in a hoop or frame. I recently made a top that begs to be hand quilted. Should I just go for it. The "big stitch" appeals to me as well. That is what they call the utility stitch at the local shops here. Did you take a hand quilting class or just start on your own?

Tonya R said...

Catherine, I wrote you a whole post in answer to your question. Don't be intimidated by quilting. Just do it. No you don't need a hoop or frame. Would you post a picture of the quilt top on your site - I'd love to see it.
If you would hate to have quilting stitches of different lengths on your quilt, then start on a practise piece. It doesn't have to be large and can just be plain muslin. That way, after you've developed more confidence, then you can work on your quilt top.

Finn said...

Morning Tonya, love getting to see your picture, altho I do think your self portrait is's nice to see your pretty face. And that of your mom, she's beautiful. I know losing her is a hard piece. My mom died when I was 27, and she was 52.
Great shots of the fur babies in "action"..*VBS* And I see that neat faces piece you basted up..*G*

Lostinspace said...

I have always quilted on a table top, just rolled up the edges and put bicycle clips on them to hold them in place. For the first time I have some feathers, just plain wavy ones in 19"X3.5 " panels across the top, only 12 of them thank goodness as they are hard to do. The rest of it I am going to try and do sitting with my DH in the evening watching tv. I have just started marking with Crayola fine tipped washable markers, I tested them and it came out - some women on the Quilt Show Forum put me on to it, thought you might like to know. Thanks for the inspiration!

Althea Lewis said...

The quilting technique was interesting and I will have to try it. However, the strange thing is I have 4 cats and 2 of them are twins to the ones in your pics! George is my red and white one and CoCo is brown and white with blue eyes. Don't tell me you also have a calico and a grey and white one, too!

Elizabeth Langley said...

I like to hand quilt but do not use a hoop, I find it much easier to have the quilt loose in my hands.

Fiona@Dragonfly-Sewing said...

Hi Tonya, I'm teaching myself to hand quilt today while on holidays. Thank god for your post. I'm trying with the hoop but just can't do it. Now I'm loving the quilting without it.
Thanks for making me feel "normal" :)
If only a couple of us xx

Liz North said...

Thank you for posting this! I have been all thumbs with hoops and didn't have funds for a frame, so this is wonderful. Your darling kitty cats are such a happy sight, too. Again, thank you, Tonya! -from Springtown, Texas.

Dee said...

Thanks for all of your input as I hate hoops too(for quilting)! I am without any sewing machine for the time being and am hand making my quilt (Lori Holt's Bloom quilt design) as a charity bazaar item for my special needs son' s school. I look forward to making it again for my own use. It is definately a stress reliever and I didn't know how easy it was to quilt by hand. said...

Yep, I lap quilt, too. Actually, have a nice adjustable table that I spread out on. I just roll up as I go. Tried a hoop when I first decided to learn to quilt. No way, I'm not that coordinated!! A friend was going to buy me a standing frame for my birthday last year. Had to turn that down. Fixing to start a full size quilt, then a king size. Luck to me.