Answering a blog search term

Lisa Sipes, Karen Marchetti and I have a little bit of fun on facebook posting the most interesting search terms.  Before I go further with with this post I think you’d like Lisa’s post.  I won’t comment other than to say it’s a great read.

Then every once in a while a search term will catch my attention and I’ll blog about it particularly if it’s related to quilting offering me a teaching moment.  What caught my attention today is “do you back stitch when machine quilting”.    First of all if you’re the one who found my blog searching for the answer to this I do hope you come back for the answer as this is a great question.

My first thought in answering this question is, “no, you don’t back stitch when machine quilting”.  As a general rule I bury the thread into the quilt batting.  See this blog post for step by step photos.  I pull both threads through the eye of a hand sewing/quilting needle with a needle threader.  (A friend reminded me I purchased the Spiral Eye Needles making this step unnecessary).  Then make a quilters knot near the surface of the quilt, start feeding the needle through the last stitch into the batting, bring the needle up about an inch away from where I fed it in, pull the thread knot into the batting then clip the threads.  I can stitch over this later on with no problem

As a general rule I go through that process as I’m quilting.  I don’t wait until later because I don’t want to risk stitching over those threads and not being able to pick them out later on.  I don’t let thread hang around on the back of the quilt either because birds nests belong in trees, not so much on the back of my quilts.  Depending on the thread and density of the quilting I will bury the knot either from the front or the back.  If I’m burying from the back I’ve generally taken the quilt off the machine.

If for some reason I need to finish a quilt quickly I will sometimes stitch over as though I were back stitching, pull the threads to the back and clip them as close as I can.  I don’t like doing this as I feel as though I’m being sloppy.  This is my own feeling about my own quilting.  If I’m using a variegated or heavier thread there is thread build up.  Ok, ok so most people won’t see it, when I do this I’m generally not entering a quilt show so why should it matter?  Well in all reality it doesn’t matter.  It’s just one of those quilterly things about me.

So, if you’re not entering the quilt your stitching on your machine into a show…go ahead and back stitch to secure you’re thread.  Paula Reid takes 7 or 8 tiny stitches back, switches to her regular stitch length and stitches over.   If it works for you, you as the quilter are happy with the results I’m all for it because you’re quilting and that’s the important thing!

Happy quilting!


7 thoughts on “Answering a blog search term”

  1. Re: tying off the knots as one quilts. It doesn’t seem so onerous to do a few here and there as it does to spends a couple of hours just tying knots. Do you need to ask how I learned that lesson? But I only needed to learn it once – I am a pretty quick learner!

  2. I actually take about 7 or 8 teeny stitches back (I use the equivalent of a .8mm stitch if I am in free motion; actually set the machine on .8mm if I’m straight stitching with my walking foot), then I clip the threads very close to the stitching. That secures the thread undetectably without having to thread a needle and bury.

    1. I’ve done that, but was nervous about the security of the stitch…would it hold or would it ravel (unravel?) (Would unravel mean to be intact?)
      Ah, a Google search confirms that they both mean the same thing.

      1. It really does hold and is a bear to rip out! If I have repairs to make, it’s never at my starts and stops, it’s a break in the middle of the work somewhere.

  3. Teri, Interesting post. I never could have buried that many knots in my perspective quilt (for some spots there is not even enough unquilted space) and several of my others would also have been excessively difficult to do that, so I took the teeny stitches and cut close with good result. I have buried the knots for the few bed quilts I have made, however. By the way, nice article in The Quilt Life! 😀

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