How to Hand Quilt With Embroidery Floss

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A quilt must be quilted to be completed. This can be accomplished a number of ways. You can do the actual quilting process by machine or by hand. If you choose to do handwork the type of thread you choose to use will dictate the approach you will take to the process. One method that is not used very often but gives a very nice look to the piece is to use embroidery floss for the thread. This requires some special techniques for good results.

  • Basted quilt sandwich ( use a good quality cotton batt )
  • Embroidery floss of your chosen color ( be sure to get enough to do your whole quilt from the same color run, at least 10ten skeins for a large quilt )
  • Crewel needles ( size 8 )
  • Thimble
  • Quilting hoop or quilting frame
  • Beeswax

1 Hand quilting with embroidery floss

2 Make sure your quilt top

Make sure your quilt top, back and batting are well basted and marked for quilting. It is a good idea to keep the pattern fairly simple or the motifs large. The floss does not lay well if you try to quilt it into too small of a motif.

3 Use a standing frame

Either hoop your quilt or use a standing frame to stretch you quilt for quilting. If you choose to use a hoop make sure it is a good quality quilting hoop and not an embroidery hoop. Be sure the quilt is in the hoop or frame smooth and without any fold overs. Keep the tension of the quilt fairly loose for best results.

4 Cut a length

Cut a length of floss from one skein about 20-inches long. Separate the six strands and take one strand to use in the needle. Set aside the other five strands for future use. Pull the thread through the beeswax once. This will help strengthen the thread and will also keep it from tangling so easily. Thread your needle and make a small knot at one end.

5 Pull your thread

Pull your thread through the top layer of the quilt and come up with the needle at the beginning of your first motif. Be sure to pop the knot into the batting through the top. Be careful doing this so you do not make a hole in the fabric. Gently ease the knot through the weave of the fabric. Adjust Your needle so that you have a tail to your thread but still have a decent amount to work with for your stitching.

6 Begin stitching

Begin stitching by taking several stitches in a running stitch following the design motif. The stitching should be single strand. If it is doubled you caught the thread tail in your stitching and you have to work the tail loose. Take care while stitching to adjust your needle down the length of your thread tail after each set of stitches. Continue to stitch until the thread gets to be about four inches long. Make a small knot near the quilt top and bury the knot in the quilt by pushing the needle into the hole that the needle just came out of and gently popping the knot into the quilt. Continue to quilt in the same manner using a single strand of the floss each time you rethread your needle.