Fast and Easy Finish: Tying a Quilt

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Last Updated September 08, 2018

We're getting closer to finishing the major part of our fixer upper house so I hope to have articles with more substance in the coming weeks. All the painting, scraping, waiting for contractors and daily trips to Lowes Home Improvement have taken my mind off the fact that I can't do any sewing! This week I tell you about tying a quilt. A few weeks ago Cathy B wrote to me with this dilemma:

Our church group has a sewing ministry where we make lap size quilts to be distributed to members who have had surgery, death in the family, etc. We seem to have lots of tops that need finished, ie sandwiched and quilted. This is where we have a problem . Some sewists don’t feel comfortable machine quilting their top. We’ve even had lessons on how to do it. We don’t have the funds to get them professionally quilted. Do you have any suggestions?

My answer was to tie the quilts. I have tied about a dozen or so quilts in the past years. Many of them were for community service quilts. Generally these quilts are smaller, but tying works equally well for larger quilts. Since most of my quilts are given away, I don't have pictures of any tied quilts.

How to Tie A Quilt

Tying a quilt is easy. Use any kind of thread or yarn you have on hand. Here are my tips for tying a quilt:

  1. I like to use 3 strands of pearl cotton because I like the way it looks.
  2. Use a hand needle large enough for the thread to slide through the layers easily. If you need pliers to pull the needle through, the needle eye is too small.
  3. Many quilts are tied where the seam lines intersect. I prefer to put ties where the seams do not intersect. Why add more bulk to an already bulky area? Instead of tying the intersection of 4 squares, put a tie in the center of each square.
  4. Use good cotton batting or a batting that gives a good drape.
  5. When in doubt, I add more ties because I think it looks and feels better.
  6. Layer the batting, backing and top. Baste with large safety pins.
  7. Tie the quilt first then add the binding.

Tying quilts is a great group activity. Several people can work on one quilt at a time or set up an assembly line.

Here are some videos I have vetted for you. I try to find videos that have no ads but that's next to impossible these days.

Tying A Quilt: How To Tie A Quilt

In this short video (2:32) the quilter gives the basic steps to tying a quilt. She makes 2 stitches for the tie then makes 3 square knots. I prefer to make 2 square knots but choose the option that works for you.

How to Tie A Quilt With A Twist

This (3:11) video shows how to make a decorative “X” on top of the quilt with the square knots on the back of the quilt. This gives interest to the front and back of the quilt.

How To Tie A Quilt

This (4:05) video shows tying in the intersections with a group. The demonstration of the square knot is good here. You will also notice how it is a little difficult for the quilter to pull the thread through. the solution to that is a needle with a larger eye. Check the recommended needle size from the thread manufacturer.

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