Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hand quilting with a half hoop...

Dust off that half quilting hoop you have stuffed away somewhere and let's learn how to use it!  

It may feel awkward at first, but soon it will be your saving grace when trying to finish hand quilting the edges of your quilt.

In order to load your quilt, work on a table or flat surface.

The ticking is where you will pin the edge of your quilt, being careful not to attach it so deeply that you will catch the ticking with your quilting stitches.

Use study, large pins, what some call "nails" - not the fine, very bendy kind we like to piece with on our sewing machines.

Here is the very edge of my quilt.  I usually quilt as far as I can with my regular 14-inch round hoop.  The large half hoops are not balanced as nicely, and therefore a little awkward.  That is because the straight edge where the ticking is located is lighter than the round edges securing your quilt.

See my blue line...that is my reminder to quilt no farther.

The tension adjustment is just like a regular hoop.  Make sure it is loosened, ready to apply to the quilt...but not quite yet.

Turn the hoop so that the ticking edge is closest to you.

With the outer hoop pulled up out of the way (toward you), lay the edge of the quilt OVER the inner hoop, which is on your flat surface.  If you are near a corner, make sure you allow enough quilt to catch when you close the hoop.

Starting in the center, pin with just a few pins to make sure everything is lined up.  I did not leave a very wide margin of all 3 layers of this quilt so I have to be extra careful to only catch the very edge of the ticking.

You have to attach ALL THREE layers of your quilt to the ticking.

Double- and triple-check to make sure you have caught the ticking consistently with your pins.

Looks pretty good.

After I have checked to make sure that I have everything in the right place, I go back and apply additional pins between the initial pins.  Once the hoop is closed, this pinned edge will be stretched and we want the edge of the quilt to be straight and uniform with even pressure applied along the length of the ticking.

Close the loosened outer hoop down over your quilt, making sure surface is even and straight.  Tighten the adjustment screw.  

This is what it should look like from underneath.

I quilted TO my blue line, then I made a running stitch ON my blue line to keep the edge from getting weird.  That will make applying the binding easier later.

That wasn't so bad, was it??  I agree that the uneven weight makes a half hoop a little harder to balance in your lap.  I use a TV table or table to work on, often on a pillow, to support the weight of the quilt.

My hoop was made LONG AGO by Marie Products and is 18-inches wide.  I am not sure they make this particular hoop any more but I do see one on Ebay every now and then.

Look at this cute little 10-inch half hoop I just ordered with which to experiment.  It may prove less awkward, especially on smaller quilts.  I got it from Frank A. Edmunds & Co.

Now that you know, use it!  It can really help finish a hand quilted project.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)


  1. This is a good way to finish the edge. I know years ago they use to baste a towel for similiar weight to the edge and use a regular hoop, but it never was the same weight and would stress the edge. this looks like the answer. Chris

  2. Your comment about pin size reminded me of my Grandmother's rail against people who used needles or pins as big as fence posts.

  3. Great instructions! And, imagine, a gadget I don't have...

  4. Oh excellent tutorial, Teresa. i don't own a half hoop--and always had tons of trouble on the edges. I will have to (you enabler, you ;))) ) look for one...
    hugs, Julierose

  5. a good way to finish if you are quilting in a hoop

  6. Thank you so much for doing this! Maybe now I will actually use that half hoop that I've owned for a "few" years!!!

  7. Thanks for sharing how you do this...Very helpful.

  8. Interesting! I will have to keep my eyes open for one of these. Your quilting looks beautiful - a finish soon!?!

  9. Excellent tutorial. Never used a half hoop nor seen them before. We baste a piece of muslin to the edge and full hoop, but this seems a better method.

  10. That's for the tutorial. I have a half hoop but have never used it. In fact, I'm not sure what size it is. lol It won't be long and your quilt with be done. It looks beautiful.

  11. I want one of these! I am on a search for a local product!

  12. Thank you for being so generous to take the time to share your techniques. I'll be curious as to how you like the new half hoop from Edmunds, when quilting smaller quilts.

  13. I haven't used my half hoop in AGES!! I've never seen one like the 10" one you found. I'm SEW happy for you that you have the quilt nearly completed!!

  14. Mine (10" h.h.) arrived yesterday! Thank you, Angel o' the quilt frame!

  15. Somewhere in my papers I have a page the shows how to make a sleeve to make a full hoop into a half hoop. Must search it out!

  16. Thank you for this tutorial. It was very helpful. Ordered a half hoop from Barnett's Laptop Hoops. Great hoop, but it took 3 months to get (he makes them himself) and no instructions. Managed to sort of figure it out to finish my last quilt. Now have 4 disappearing 9-patch quilts to do and am pleased to have found your instructions for the half hoop. I'm sure it will be easier this time. Thanks again.

  17. I tried to use the 10" half hoop from Edwards, but the amount of webbing is insufficient to pin the edge unless I trim it totally away. Did you find this to be true as well? I will just quilt without a hoop.


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