Quilt Tying Tutorial: How to Tie a Quilt with Yarn or Embroidery Thread

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltties

This quilt tying tutorial is the most beginner-friendly way to finish a quilt. If you are a new quilter, using yarn or embroidery thread and these simple steps will secure your quilt layers quickly, effectively and last but not least, beautifully.

Even if you are not a new quilter, quilt ties can be a fun addition to some machine quilting or just a fast way to finish a WIP that has been sitting on your work table for too long. The quilt pattern used in this quilt tying tutorial is the Gather pattern and can be purchased in the shop!

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltties

One of my first quilt memories is snuggling underneath an old blue and yellow quilt held together with fuzzy yarn ties. As I absentmindedly played with one of the ties I didn't think about the hands that spend hours sewing each piece of fabric together or the process of quilting tying. I just liked the warmth it gave and the cozy feel.

I couldn't have imagined at the time that my enjoyment of that quilt would plant a seed for a lifelong love of textiles and sewing. Quilt tying is a simple way to finish a quilt and is especially effective on larger quilts that you may not have the stamina to hand or machine quilt. Affordability is another factor in choosing to tie a quilt - for about the cost of a cup of coffee, you can tie a quilt!

Added texture may be the most compelling reason to tie a quilt. The options for ties are almost endless, you can use embroidery thread, yarn or even tassels. Get creative in your color choices, use more than one yarn type, make clusters of multi-colored ties or use them alongside some hand quilting. The only constraint is that the quilt tie must be able to fit through the eye of a needle and the needle must be able to be pulled through the quilt.

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltties

Quilt Tying Tutorial Supplies

  • Yarn: Pick a color that compliments the colors already used in your quilt. There are A LOT to choose from! Poly or natural-fiber yarn both work well; however, yarn made with natural fibers may fray more than synthetic. Read Step 6 below for tips on how to prevent yarn from fraying too much. If you have any suspicion that the yarn dye might bleed once the quilt is washed, run a quick bleed test by throwing some of the yarn into a bowl of hot water along with a scrap of white fabric.)

    8 or 12 wt. pearl cotton thread or embroidery thread: Use or single or double thread - it’s all about your end design goals.
  • Needle with a big enough eye for your yarn to pass through - for more info on needles, check out The 5 Types & Sizes of Hand Quilting Needles
  • Scissors
  • Basted quilt
  • Needle-nose pliers (optional)
  • Fray Check (Recommended for thicker yarns)

Step 1: Decide Quilt Tie Placement

The first step in this quilt tying tutorial may sound like a no-brainer, but it's really important. Before threading your needle, decide where you want to place your ties. Most batting requires quilting at least every 8" or 10", when you are tying a quilt I recommend that you keep that number closer to 4" or 5" since these ties are just single places of stability holding the quilt layers together.

Use a marking pen to make a small dot where each tie will go. If you like to live on the wild side, you can also throw caution to the wind and randomly place ties approximately 5" apart. Just make sure you aren't getting too wild and free and placing them too far away from each other.

Step 2: Thread Your Needle

The bigger the eye of a needle, the bigger a hole it is going to leave behind in your fabric. The good news is, a hand sewing needle very rarely breaks the woven threads of fabric. Instead, the needle just pushes them to the sides.

The downside to this is that the bigger the needle is, the harder it is to pull through the fabric. So to find that perfect sweet spot, select the smallest needle possible that will still allow your chosen embroidery thread or yarn to pass through its eye.

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltingtutorial

With yarn, I recommend twisting the yarn until its fibers are very compressed, then flatten it between two fingers so it can pass through the eye of the needle. You can also use a needle threader, however in my experience, if you get a mega cheap flimsy one, it will break pretty easily. 

At this point, do not knot your thread or yarn. (That comes later.)

TIP! To avoiding having to rethread your needle after every single quilt tie, cut a really long piece of yarn (like really long – up to 10' is great!) This will come in handing during Step 3, Option 2 below.

Step 3: Pull the Yarn Through

Insert your needle into the quilt. Make sure it goes all the way through to the back. You can either pull the needle all the way through the quilt top and then reinsert it through the back of the quilt about ⅛" away, or you can use a rocking motion similar to hand quilting to take a ⅛" stitch in the quilt.

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltingtutorial

Option 1: Trim your thread, leaving two 2" tails sticking up through the quilt top on either side.

Option 2: If you cut a really long 10' piece of yarn, you are set up for the chain method. Instead of clipping your thread after each stitch, leave them all connected. After all stitches have been made, cut the yarns between each two connected points.

Tip: If using a thick yarn, this is where a pair of needle-nose pliers can come in very handy. Use the pliers to pull the needle though the fabric.

Step 4: Double Knot

Use a double knot on each of the thread ties.

First pass the right thread over and under the left. Pull it tight.

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltingtutorial

Then pass the left thread over and under the right. Pull it tight.

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltingtutorial

Step 5: Trim the Threads

Holding both thread tails together, trim the threads to your desired length, making sure to leave at least 1/2" tails.

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltties

Step 6: (Optional) Use Fray Check

You can purchase products for fray prevention as either a spray or, more commonly, as a liquid in a bottle. If you are worried about your threads unraveling or coming untied over time, add a small drop of Fray Check or a little spray of Fray Stop to the center of each knot. 

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltties

And that's all there is to it! So whether or not you are pressed for time or simply would rather have a hand sewing project rather than working at a sewing machine, this quilt tying tutorial is a beautiful way to finish a quilt.

This quilt tying tutorial shows how to tie a quilt with yarn or embroidery thread. Quilt ties is an easy and fast way to finish a quilt. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quiltties

Comment below with any quilt tying tips of your own!

13 thoughts on “Quilt Tying Tutorial: How to Tie a Quilt with Yarn or Embroidery Thread

    • Caitlyn Williams says:

      Hi Sarah! I love that too — It reminds me of Christmas lights! The yard in called Basic Stitch by Lion Brand. I found this particular skein at JoAnn, but, you can get it on Amazon and other online retailors.

  1. Kathy says:

    I am a first time quilter, I have been on numerous sites, looked at a lot of books so I want to give you a GREAT big hug & thank you!!!! You are step-by-step your illustrations your wording it is the best easy for me to understand again thank you

    • Caitlyn Williams says:

      Great question! A small dot of fray check will not change the look of the yarn. If you overdo it I do remember that it can look a little crunchy. The texture of the yarn will change slightly, but, it is almost imperceptible. The fray check dries so that it blends in with most fabrics, that being said, I recommend doing a little test blob before you begin to see how it dries on your particular fabric.

  2. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much!!! You explained it perfectly. Easy to understand. Thank you so much again. Keep making beautiful quilts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php