The Free Motion Quilting Project: How to Hide Your Quilting Threads

Monday, October 19, 2009

How to Hide Your Quilting Threads

Learn how to hide your threads within the layers of your quilt top:

Okay, let's cover commonly asked questions first:

Where can I find the cheater needles and Pin Place?

Click here to find them in my online quilt shop!
(Scroll down for a great deal on both)

Why do I want to hide the threads in my quilt?

Whenever you stop and start quilting on your quilt, you end up with 2 threads (bobbin thread and top thread).

The OLD way of anchoring these threads is by stitching several times in the same place and then clipping them off.

Not only does this look nasty (like a big knot of thread on the top and back of your quilt) it also produces a noticeable bump that is very easy to feel, especially if you're a quilting judge.

No, not everyone reading this blog is quilting for show, but even if your quilt is only ever going to be loved and slobbered on by your family, friends, or pets, it still pays to hide your threads.

The old way of anchoring, let's call it the Thread Nest Anchor, can often work itself out over time, especially if you're using a slick thread like polyester or rayon.

When you take the time to tie a knot and pull the threads inside your quilt, particularly if you pull the threads into an area that you're about to quilt into, that sucker is never coming out!

If you're going to take the time to quilt your quilts yourself, take a bit of extra time to pull those threads inside and secure them so they never, ever come out.

It might take some getting used to, particularly if you've been using the nasty Thread Nest Anchor all your life, but if you keep the cheater needle and pin place close by, you will get into the habit of hiding your threads in no time.

Now let's go quilt (AND hide our threads)!

Leah Day


  1. Oh I so agree ... bury those threads. I had 166 threads to bury in this little wall hanging.

  2. Thank you, this is awesome...can't wait to try it
    (I'm one of the people who emailed you asking for this demo so thanks so much).

  3. Love that "self-threading" needle you use for this - seems to make life a lot easier, must get one!

  4. It's nice to know that I've been doing at least one thing right! ;o)

  5. Thanks so much for posting this! When I hand-quilted I always pulled the threads through but had no idea there was a "cheater" needle now that I'm machine quilting.

  6. Thankyou! As a newbie I am soaking up as much info as possible, I never thought about what to do with the threads :0)
    Can you only motion quilt on a machine that has a top loading bobbin?
    *hugs* Heather x

  7. Heather x - No, you can free motion quilt with any machine, no matter whether you have a top or side loading bobbin.

    Just lower your stitch length to 0, slap on a supreme slider, pull on your quilting gloves, and have at it!

    Let's go Quilt!

    Leah Day

  8. Oh I so agree with you! Recently I did my "stippling-skill builder postage stamp basket" table topper. I thought I do the anchor nest technique to secure my stitiches. WRONG! I had many starts and stops for this little topper and with it having to be washed more often than a quilt, many of the perfectly laid stitches started to come undone at the beginnings and ends. SO......Now I knot and bury all my threads.
    I absolutely love you doing these videos of stippling designs for 365 days and it's nice to follow along. Absolutely Love your quilts.


  9. Thank you so much for this video. I've always wondered how to make the start and stop points less obvious. Now I know!

  10. If I was going to knot my threads, would I just pull the bobbin thread up to the top and then knot it with the top thread?

    I'm SO glad that you posted this tutorial! I'd been reading on your site about hiding your threads, and I had pretty much figured out what you were talking about, but this makes it perfectly clear. Thanks!

  11. How funny - I came across several of these in my grandma's old sewing box that was passed down to my mother and then to me. (I've never actually purchased a needle. LOL.) But I thought they were defective! Good thing I didn't throw them away.. now I know what they're for! THANKS!

  12. Thats wonderful! I have been wondering how to do it!


  13. It is always so frustrating when finishing threads to get a nasty looking knot of thread at the back of your quilt! We did a post on how to bury your threads It gives it a really neat professional finish! We have Laura Coia from Sew Very Easy showing you how to bury your threads using a brilliant technique. Also love your Dancing Butterfly Quilt along, can’t wait to see photos of the finished results :) - Happy Quilting


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