How to Tie a Quilt


how to tie a quilt

how to tie a quilt

Learning how to tie a quilt is so simple, but gives a really great finish to your quilt – especially if you are not confident with your machine quilting, or are short of time to finish a quilt.

When I was quilting the Arts and Crafts quilt, I used a lot of stitch in the ditch to stabilise the various areas of the quilt, I quilted  a flower motif in the larger squares and used a series of loops for the filler quilting on the white sections.  I delibarately left the green squares unquilted (apart from the edges) because I felt that some open spaces would help the quilt.

Not for the first time in my life, I was wrong.  The green squares did not look right and they also bagged slightly with all the heavy quilting around them.  So I decided that I would show you how to tie a quilt while adding an extra design feature to the quilt.

Make a 1/4" stitch

Make a 1/4″ stitch

How to tie a quilt

I began by marking both diagonals of the square.  That showed me where the middle is.  The particular one that I am sewing in the photo is not in the middle of the square, but that’s because I didn’t take enough photos of the central one, so I put another temporary one in just to show you how to tie a quilt.

I used embroidery thread – it was originally six strands so I cut lengths about 18″ long and split these into two lengths of three strands each.  You can use many different types of thread for tying quilts, but just bear in mind that you need it to be thick enough to show up as a design feature but not so thick that it’s difficult to pull through the three layers of the quilt.

Repeat the stitch

Repeat the stitch

Tie the two ends twice

Tie the two ends twice

Making the knot

Working from the top of the quilt, push your needle down through all three layers and up again about 1/4″ away.  Leave a trailing end of at least 2″.

Push your needle back into and out of the quilt in the same place to make an extra stitch above the first one.

Tie the two ends of the thread twice to make a double knot.

Trim both ends to about 2"

Trim both ends to about 2″

Trim both ends to about 2″.  That’s the first knot completed.  Now you can move on to the next one.  In general terms, if you are using hand tying only for your quilt, you need to place the knots no more than about 4″ away from each other in order to keep the three layers of the quilt from moving against each other.

I hope that’s helped you see how to tie a quilt if you haven’t come across the technique before.  When I made a mess of my first attempt at free motion quilting, I lost my confidence and hand tied several quilts before I plucked up the courage to try free motion again.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.


Kimmy Brunner Workshop

What a lovely day I had in Birmingham on Saturday doing two separate workshops with Kimmy Brummer.  She’s been over from America for nearly a month and I was lucky enough to catch her last two workshops at the Cotton Patch before she heads home.

Flat trapunto

Flat trapunto

Trapunto in the morning

The morning of the Kimmy Brunner workshop was devoted to trapunto and I certainly learned a lot.  I have done a certain amount of trapunto, but as with so much of what I do, it’s always been a bit rough and ready.  I’ve added an extra layer of the same wadding that I was using for the rest of the quilt and then tried very hard not to snip the fabric when I cut out the outline in the wadding.  From Kimmy I learned a lot more about different waddings, which shapes work better than others and lots of different tips on techniques.  It has certainly fired me with enthusiasm.

One very important point that she made is that the wadding needs to be dense as well as thick.  I have always rather thought that if the wadding is 1″ thick it will stay that way.  However if it has no density then it just flattens with time.  The white shape on the left of the photo used to stand up well away from the rest of the quilt, but over time it has flattened until now you can’t tell that it was made using trapunto.


Template and free motion quilting

Template and free motion quilting

Template and ruler quilting

The afternoon was devoted to quilting with templates and rulers.  Now that I have Minnie, my longarm quilting machine, I was thrilled to pick up any new ideas for quilting.  Kimmy made the very good point that sometimes we can choose stitch in the ditch and other straightline quilting designs, or an overall freestyle stippling designs.  Quilting with rulers and templates provides that half way house where you can provide some structure to your quilting but still have a lot of free motion quilting within the template designs – for example you could quilt a large oval shape using templates but then put your own free motion quilting inside the oval.

I tend to try and use plates or bits of card for circle or curve templates, but I have to admit that it looked a lot easier using carefully designed templates.  Perhaps it’s time I invested in a few basic templates.  The ones she was working with were the ones that you actually hold on to the fabric and sew around, rather than marking and then sewing the designs – but do be careful not to sew your fingers!

I am so glad that I was able to go to the Kimmy Brunner workshop.   Many thanks to the Cotton Patch for organising it.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.


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