· ·

How to Tie a Quilt with Yarn { and not throw things } – video tutorial


Okay, this is serious!  Yarn tied quilts have been bad-mouthed.  I have heard it repeatedly.  I have even saw someone roll their eyes.  “Oh, she used yarn?” with eyes widening and disgust on their face.

I cannot for the life of me figure out where the disdain comes from.  I don’t know if it’s a poor man’s version of quilting or just something else.  I can’t figure it out.  If you do know the answer, please take the time to share it with me, so I can be let in on the secret!

But even if I’m in on the secret, there’s no way I could shame along with you.  I love it too much!

If you’ve never seen a quilt tied with yarn, check this baby out, this picture actually started all my love and feels for the technique.  How could you look at that picture and not LOVE (completely and desperately) what you are looking at?

So forget the yarn tie shaming you’ve heard and let’s dive into this.





What’s it for?

If you’ve never heard of a tied quilt before (check out this board) let’s discuss why its there first.

Ties are a type of “quilting”.  You could use them in place of quilting (more common).  Or like me, just put them on top for looks and extra texture.

The tie goes through all layers of your quilt and holds the quilt together, just like machine or hand quilting.

If you remember when I was making the Anthologie quilt during the Bari J Quilt Along, I tied the quilt in several places with embroidery floss.  You can see that video here.  I used embroidery floss not because I wanted to, but because for the life of me I could not get the yarn to work.

I was irritated as I could possibly be.  If you’ve touched a quilt with floss ties and touched a quilt with yarn ties, you can feel the difference.  You can also SEE the difference.  There’s no hiding the big and bulkiness of yarn.

Yarn is thick and it frays, all things great for texture and bad for needles.

But I’ve got tricks for you now, techniques that will make you not pull your hair out or throw your teacup into the wall (not saying I did that, but I wanted to).





Here’s what you need:

  • yarn – Use what you want.  I used acrylic yarn.  Stay away from the big and chunky yarn section.  Cotton yarn is fabulous too!
  • a chenille needleI like these from DMC, but any chenille needle will do.  I used a size 20.  A chenille needle has a very large eye and a sharp point.  If you have a needle that has the same features that may work.  The smaller the number (the bigger the needle) that you can find the better, as this will making pulling through all three quilt layers easier.  THIS NEEDLE IS CRUCIAL to make tying a quilt a pleasant experience.  Don’t skip this supply!
  • 2 thimbles – one is for your index finger, one for your thumb.  I used this one and this one.
  • SnipsThese are my absolute favorite from Havel’s.  I need another pair because I like to use these for all my hand work.
  • a tiny scrap of notebook paper
  • a basted quilt



How To

Eek!  In this video I tell you that you need a leather needle.  It was a slip of the tongue.  You need a CHENILLE needle.  Sorry about that!



  1. Make sure your tiny slip of paper will fit through your needle when folded in half long ways.
  2. Take your yarn, uncut from the skein, and fold it into your paper.  Thread the needle.
  3. Push your needle into your quilt and back out, pull the yarn through.
  4. Tie the yarn twice.
  5. Snip your yarn to the desired length.
  6. Sit somewhere comfortable, take it easy and tie the day away.





Similar Posts


  1. Great video, thank you, Melanie! But are you REALLY going to make us wait until the 19th for the Landslide pattern?!?!? Can’t wait to start it! It’s just so perfect for some gifts I need to make. 🙂

    1. I’m sorry! The pattern is with my testers now, so they can check and make sure there is no mistakes (there is always mistakes at first!). 🙂

      1. Okay…(sigh)

        I’ll try to be patient and work on my hand cut heart blocks or The Good Girl. 🙂

  2. Please don’t think that I’m silly, but it sort of looks like this quilt is tied and quilted. Are my eyes deceiving me? It is beautiful and I’ve been gathering scraps and cutting squares to make a tied quilt. Thanks for inspiring me to get back to work on it!

  3. I have quilts that my Mamaw made me in the 70s that are tied with yarn (tacked as we call it). I have been using them every day for 40 years and they are still holding up great. I love yarn tied quilts, both for the drape and texture and also the nostalgia. If anyone rolled their eyes at my quilt, I just wouldn’t talk to them anymore lol. Have you ever tried it with wool yarn? it felts when you wash it so it leaves a little pompom instead of a ‘tassel’. So cute!

  4. I made my first yarn tied quilt 40 yrs ago and my grandson still wraps himself in it. I am making a yarn tied quilt now for my 22 yr old granddaughter who is away from home. I bought the material for the top from a quilt shop because I wanted 108″ wide material . Well the clerk, who is obviously a “quilter” rolled her eyes told me I was making a giant potholder. I couldn’t
    t stop laughing.

  5. How did you do the edges? Was it machine or did you do it by hand? I have fleece for the backing of the baby quilt I am making.

  6. Melanie, your genius tip for using the piece of paper to thread the yarn through the needle has been a life saver for me. I am tying three t-shirt quilts together with a medium cotton yarn and it is so helpful.
    Thank you, Susie

  7. So many years have passed since you made this video and you are still helping so many quilters. I was at the end of my rope and about ready to tear my hair out when I stepped away and got online for an answer. The paper trick is insanely easy and I finished my quilt an hour later! I can’t thank you enough!

Leave a Reply