|Basted quilt, hoop, and muslin strips.|
As I methodically stitch, it feels good to be a sustaining part of a long tradition of handwork, and I also love the texture unique to the hand-quilted surface. I use traditional tools, for example, my trusty two-part wooden quilting hoop, and was recently thrilled to find a vendor selling small bars of beeswax at my local farmers' market, so I can now run my lengths of thread along the edge of the beeswax. The ever-so-thin coating of wax helps prevent the thread from breaking and fraying. Silicon thread conditioners work well too, but don't have the same faint, pleasing fragrance as beeswax.
In a previous post, I discussed hand-basting the quilt sandwich - layering the backing, batting and top with long stitches in contrast color thread. Once basted, the last step prior to beginning hand-quilting is to address the problem that the quilt is rectilinear while the hoop is circular. There are tensioning devices, for example the Q-snap frame, that are rectilinear, but I've found I can't achieve the same tautness with that type of frame.
|Extender strip pinned to basted quilt.|
|Strip pinned through all layers; excess length held by safety pin.|
I stitch the extender strips, through all layers, using a 90/14 needle. I use the longest stitch length on my Janome and set the needle position to 3.5, which gives me a 1/4" seam allowance, so I can quilt right to the edge where the binding will be.
|Stitching through all layers.|
|Left: muslin strip stitched. Right: strip folded over.|
|Extender strip pinned to quilt and to previously sewn strip.|
|Extender strip sewn through all layers, flipped to right side.|
|Extender strips allow corner to be quilted.|
|Reverse side, quilting in progress.|