Burying thread tails in quilts
Burying threads in quilts is a nice and neat way to finish your top (and all that hard work) and get rid of any ‘loose ends’ (pardon the pun)!
Until recently, I never realized I buried my threads in my quilts differently when I hand-quilted to when I machine-quilted! Crazy I know!
On a machine, I used to reinforce my stitches at the beginning and at the end by stitching forwards and backwards, then forwards again. This was to secure the ends so the stitches wouldn’t unravel – ever! Then I’d proceed to pull the end of the thread on the quilt top so that both top and bottom threads were on the top side ready to then be ‘buried’. I’d do this by pulling those threads through the ‘hole’ of my first/beginning stitch or last/ending stitch and without coming right through to the other side but into the wadding and then back out of the top about half an inch. Because of the ‘reinforcing’ sometimes this was an almost impossible task! Some of these wouldn’t pull through and I’d have to cut the threads quite close. This would look untidy which can really take away from all the other effort put into that quilt!
And then I had an ‘AH HA’ moment! At a machine quilting class to refresh skills and pick up some handy tips, we were told to bury our threads as we go! Not only that, but it’s how I finish my hand-quilted pieces – how did I get to this point in time not doing the same thing on machine-quilted ones?!? So no reinforcing, just tying off both threads and leaving in the wadding!
So, I’d like to share with you all – in case you too have had major brain lapses like me! When machine-quilting (and this may take some getting used to like most good habits!) pull up your bottom threads after starting and finishing, tie them off and bury as you go! Genius! It may also take a bit of extra time, but at the end there are no more loose threads and you can get straight into binding.
One thing I did find, however is if I was machine-quilting a smaller area without too much overlapping, I left all the threads and finished each ‘block’ as I went (as in these triangle blocks above). It was quicker for me to finish these blocks one at a time this way. I love how neat the finish is – just like on my hand-quilted quilts!!
One more tip I’m happy to share which will make your life so much easier is to use self-threading needles to bury your threads! Rather than struggle trying to get the two threads through one eye in the needle (unless you are using a larger eye needle like I did above), these self-threading ones are the bomb! They have a fine opening at the top so your threads can slide in! Brilliant! I will definitely be getting some of those!