Tying a Quilt
Once you have made your quilt top, how do you finish it? Rather than the time consuming method of sewing the three layers of your quilt sandwich together with quilting stitches, tying quilts is a fast and easy way of finishing your quilt which gives you a give you a softer and puffier feel. In some cases (such as that of a quilt made with blue jeans), tying is the only way you will be able to finish it.
Start out by stretching out your backing face down on a table or floor, attaching it to the surface with masking tape at corners and around the edge. Spread the batting over it, smoothing out any wrinkles. Lay the quilt on top, face up.
You will be tying the quilt through all three layers at regular intervals. The batting you use will determine how far apart your ties should be - check the package. You will want to place your ties so they enhance the design of the quilt top. What should you use for tying? Try a 4 ply yarn, 4 to 12 strands of embroidery floss (the more, the less likely they are to break), #8 crochet cotton, #5 pearle cotton, corsheen cotton, or even ribbon. You don’t need to place your ties on the front. If you feel the ties will distract from the design, tie from the back.
Using a curved tapestry needle, make your first insertion down the center of the quilt. Try for a 1/4” gap between the insertion point and the return pass of the needle. A rubber thumb tip or jewelry pliers may be helpful to pull the needle through. Work your way down the center of the quilt BUT don’t cut your ties. Keep them all connected for now. Continue working down the center of the quilt and tie off when you get to the end. Then go back to the center and do the same in the other direction. This helps stabilize your quilt so you can work on one quarter at a time.
Now you can cut the string between your ties and make your ties using a square knot or surgeon's knot. A surgeons knot is a square knot with an extra twist. Or you might want to take two stitches for ties. The second one is just a back stitch over the first. If you would like, you can seal each knot with a tiny dot of fray check, a button or a piece of decorative yarn. Pull up each pair of ends and snip at 1 /2" to 3/4" above the surface. You will have your quilt finished in no time. Now bind it and enjoy!
Here is a video on how to How to tie a Surgeons Knot.
Here is a video on How to Tie a Quilt by Machine
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