This part of the quilting process is the longest and can take years to complete, depending on how much time you spend on it.
Hand quilting techniques
Start in the middle of the quilt and attach the quilting hoop or frame. If you have used appliqué, then you can go around each of the shapes first, this will give them a puffed up feel and make them stand out.
Use small even stitches and try not to rush as it will invariably lead to you having to undo sections because they look sloppy. Always sew just a little bit away from the line of the material (leave about 1-2mm) as this will help accentuate the shapes of the appliqué.
If you are quilting patchwork then start in the middle of the quilt and follow the lines of the squares. Alternatively, you can cross hatch sections or the entire quilt.
If you choose to cross hatch it is a good idea to drawn lines on in pencil first as it can be very difficult to keep them an even distance apart. Make sure you work out which sections are to be quilted in each way as you can end up with one idea at the beginning and three months later find out that you changed your mind without noticing! It is extremely frustrating having to undo your quilting!
The alternative to tracing shapes or cross hatching is to use stippling. This type of quilting fills and entire area and creates a heavily quilted texture and look. It is mainly used for background filling or to cover an entire quilt. Stippling is an organised sewing pattern where the quilter creates smooth curves that do not meet or cross-over.
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