“Locking” or “anchor” stitches

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 I apologize that this will seem like a very dumb question, but  I have become obsessive about  those stitches I put in at the start of my stitching — how many to use, and how to do them correctly.  I think they're called anchor or locking stitches.( I’m referring to those little stitches you put in manually instead of burying your thread). Im finding I need to use these throughout the quilt many times - when I come to an area which will be stitched using different thread, or when my quilting design  has to stop and start around a block or an appliqué. 

I worry that if I only put in 3 or 4 stitches, they could easily be pulled out, accidentally. So I go overboard and put in about  8 tiny stitches, moving back & forth. But I’m concerned that these are going to show on the back, with big wads of thread. I’m currently on my very first attempt at longarming, so  my quilt is loaded on the machine and I can’t really tell how the back is looking. 

How do others handle this.? As I said, it’s kind of a minor thing, but could make a difference.

Thank you!


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Hi,  I am an amateur...and I don't do show quilts....just bed quilts that are used.....so...what I usually do is use my down/up button to make the tiny stitches at the beginning.....how many sort of depends on the thread I am using.....I usually use "so fine"...and I think I usually put in 6-8 stitches which may be excessive....with a slippery thread..like Glide......you many need more stitches...I sometimes do a few back stitches too....as to looking at the back of the quilt.....I have a mirror that I use....and a flashlight that has a big flat surface....that way...I can check the back without have to crawl under the table...which if I did....I don't think I would be able to out from underneath the table!!!!  Lin

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I think if you pull your threads to the top, hold them for a second or two when you take your first stitches, then take 2-8 stiches backward and then forward, you won't have any nesting problems on the back.  You will be able to tell from the top if you are taking too many stitches from the build up of threads too.  Go with what looks pleasing. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I enter a lot of quilt shows and have some nice ribbons.  I always tie the 2 threads together in a double overhand knot and bury the tails.  When you take tiny stitches or back track it can look distracting to the judges.  If you are not going to show your quilts either method would work fine. 

By the way I do this before I advance to the next row.  


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