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Sep 05

Improving the Stitches of Handmade Baby Quilts

Improving the stitches of handmade baby quilts can be completed with a few very basic guidelines.  Though quilting stitches can be as personal to a quilter as their fingerprint, following these standards can help the quilter make improvements.

To begin, analyze your quilting stitch by doing some quilt stitching.  Make a design or motif on a piece of fabric and make a practice quilt sample.  Include in this design straight lines and curves so that you can check your skill in completing both types of stitching on future handmade baby quilts.  A contrasting thread color will be easily visible from both sides of this practice piece.  Now analyze your quilting stitches based on the stitch types, length, tension and whether stitches were skipped.handmade baby quilts

Look at your practice piece initially for the stitch length.  Though tiny stitches are not essential it is important for the durability of the baby quilt.  Since baby quilts will be washed and dried many times larger stitches run the risk of being pulled loose or broken.  Anywhere from 6 – 12 stitchesper inch is considered standard that is counting only the stitches made on the top of the baby quilt. If you are a novice quilter, be patient and practice your stitches. Over time and with experience, as you develop a quilting rhythm, the stitches will decrease in length. Ideally, the quilt stitches should be the same length on both the front and back of handmade baby quilts.

Practice makes for better stitches on your handmade baby quilts.  If you are making lines of quilting, these should be straight.   To avoid making a distorted or wobbly line of quilting, use the rocking method of stitching.  Because multiple stitches are loaded onto the needle, it is easier to achieve a smooth and more consistent rhythm.  As opposed to the stab method, in which one stitch at a time is made.  This is more difficult to control and the quilting on the handmade baby quilt is often not straight.  Curved lines should also flow or have not rough or jagged edges.  When using the rocking method, reduce the number of stitches on the needle.  This allows you to follow the curved lines more easily.  If puckers appear either on the front or the back of the handmade baby quilt, this is often due to the tension on the thread.  Reduce the number of stitches on the needle or run you needle through a bar of soap or beeswax to help it glide more easily through the layers of fabric.

When you finish your handmade baby quilt, every stitch should be visible on the back as well as the front.  To avoid skipped stitches, remember to bring the needle to a full vertical position which is perpendicular to the baby quilt top before beginning each stitch.  This applies to both the rocking or stabbing method of hand quilting. Skipped stitches are usually caused by angling the needle as you insert it as you quilt.  Be sure that when you slide your needle and thread from one spot to another, that you check the back for stray threads before pulling the needle through.

Following these few easy guidelines will improve the stitches of your handmade baby quilts.

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