It is not uncommon to find a quilter who has a stack of quilt tops that are waiting to be quilted. The actual act of quilting can be difficult and a bit intimidating. What exactly is quilting? It’s the process of sewing together the three layers of a quilt: the top, batting and backing. There are three different ways to accomplish this.
The first way is to quilt by machine. After the layers have been basted together, they are sewn together with the sewing machine (either a home or longarm machine) in the desired pattern. The second option is to hand quilt. This is a traditional technique that is highly beloved. Much enjoyment is had and a unique personal touch is created during hand quilting. The last option for finishing a quilt is hand tying, and this is what we are going to take a look at today.
Photos via Nana Company
What does it mean to tie a quilt? This is a very basic and beginner-friendly way to hold together a quilt.
Embroidery floss, yarn or a similar product is used to literally tie the layers together every few inches. This works well on both pieced and whole-cloth quilts. It is suitable for a variety of different projects, including those with different weights. Quilts with no batting or those with extra thick batting that are not able to be quilted in any other way are great candidates for this type of technique.
Are you interested in tying a quilt? Here are the basics:
Gather together necessary supplies: a basted quilt, embroidery floss or yarn, thimble, scissors, and a tapestry needle with a sharp point and large eye.
Decide where you’d like to tie the quilt. This can be in the middle of a block or across a seam. Be sure to keep the spacing equal in distances that are appropriate for the batting that is being used. These intervals can be anywhere from 4” – 10”.
Thread the needle with the preferred tying material. This can be tricky since yarn and floss is pretty thick, so use a needle threader if necessary. If that doesn’t work, try folding the thread in half. Pinch the fold in half and try pushing that new point into the eye. Cut thread to approximately 20 – 24”.
Insert needle down through all three quilt layers and then back up through ¼” away from the initial spot. Leave a 2” tail.
Repeat step in the same location to reinforce.
Cut thread, leaving another 2” tail.
Use a double knot to tie the tails together. Trim excess tails, leaving approximately 1”.
Hand tying is a quick and easy way to finish a quilt. It adds a touch of vintage inspired charm to any project. Despite its draws, be aware that a tied quilt is not as durable as one that has been fully quilted. Wash these types of quilts sparingly and use care when they do need to be laundered.
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