How to Tie Knots on a Quilt

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Things You'll Need

  • Needle

  • Strong colorfast quilting thread

  • Safety pins

Tie knotting is a form of quilt finishing.

Using ties as a form of quilting requires little more than a thread and needle to create a series of knots to hold the different layers of the quilt together. The method of finishing a quilt by tying is used for quilts that have a homemade or old-fashioned flair to them, quilts that are much too thick to be quilted by a sewing machine or quilts with traditional quilting patterns sewn by hand. As the knots are being tied, they can be uniformly sewn in a pattern or randomly scattered all across the quilt for variation.


Step 1

Practice tying a square knot, as this will be used on all the quilt ties. A square knot consists of two knots that are tied together. To practice, take two ends of the thread and loop them together as if you were beginning to tie your shoes. Do the same thing on top of the first loop and tighten down the knot by pulling both ends firmly.


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Step 2

Pin down the quilt in the places you want the ties to be using the safety pins. This pin basting will serve two purposes. First, it will baste the three layers of the quilt together so that they will not shift during tying, and it will mark the exact places you need the tying to take place if the quilt cannot be finished all at one time.


Step 3

Decide if you want the ties to show on the front or back. The ties performance will stay the same, just the overall look of the quilt will change from knot ties to tiny tacks, depending on which side the quilt ties are on.

Step 4

Thread the needle, and at the point you need the tie and the side where the tie will be knotted, go through all the layers of the quilt and back up. Snip the thread to about an inch on both ends, and tie a square knot. Depending on the finished look, snip the threads or leave them long for decoration.

Step 5

Repeat until all the marked places have quilt ties on them. Remove the basting pins before using the quilt.


Use a thick quilting thread for the ties to help prevent them from breaking. The use of colorfast thread is important to prevent staining or color bleeding if the quilt is wet or laundered. Use a square knot or a surgeon's knot for best results.



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