We has such a lovely chat last week about the threads we love to use. A big thank you to lots of you for leaving comments on our blog post..the more the merrier, let's get chatting and get to know one another...
We are still swapping stories about the threads we love but guess what....can't talk about threads without talking about needles....so that got us chatting around the sewing table again, sharing tips about our favourite needles.
Maybe at your next sewing day there will be lots of needle swapping going on around your sewing tables as we try out each other's favourite needles.
When a group of us first started talking about needles we were lucky enough to have a few real life appliqué superstars on hand to ask about the needles they most loved to use.
We would like to thank Judy Newman for taking time away from her class to have a chat with us about what needles she uses.
And thanks also to Irene Blank and Margaret Mew for taking time away from their latest projects to answer our questions.....what needles do you love to use and why?
Judy Newman says she uses Jeana Kimball’s Redwork No. 9 needles for everything, from piecing to quilting. She likes them for quilting because they are long and she can load lots of stitches on them. She also doesn’t use the rocking method when quilting, but prefers to work the needle, gathering as many stitches as she can. She uses perle cotton 8 or 12 for hand quilting. The Redwork No. 9 needles have a large eye and slim shaft – the large eye is good for threading perle cotton. Lots of people love these needles and they are chosen for their large eye alone, but once you try them they are not just easy to thread but really lovely to work with and they are not at all bendy.
For English paper piecing she uses a Jeana Kimball Redwork No. 10.
Irene Blank told us she uses Jeana Kimball No. 10 or 11 straw needles. She says that No. 10 is more sturdy – No. 11 is a bit bendy and soft so its difficult when trying to work with points on needleturn applique.
She said she doesn't like anything bigger – such as No. 9s downwards – She calls them crowbars (sorry Judy).
Irene said she likes the feel of straw needles as she has something to hold – unlike smaller sharps. Irene uses them for needleturn and English paper piecing – And said she is yet to do hand piecing but will be trying that soon.....it is always exciting when one of our favourite designers says they about to try something new....we know that means more inspiration coming up for us.
Irene says she is beginning to enjoy hand quilting and is useing perle cotton and Jeana Kimball’s Redwork No. 9 needle.
And here is another fabulous tip that Irene passed on to us....she also uses a Clover quilt dome – and won't leave home without it. The only fault is that you have to thread the needle yourself (but one can only hope). Once you’ve threaded 10 needles you can store them neatly in the quilt dome without the threads getting tangles. She LOVES them and has about 4 that she keeps with various sewing bags. That recommendation is enough to to send us off to the shops for a Clover Quilt Dome.
And our Appliqué Guild President, Margaret Mew, who is also known for her beautiful appliqué gives us another take on the science of choosing a needle....we wonder how many of you follow our Presidents method for choosing just the right needle...she calls it the 'lucky dip' method. You just go to your pin cushion and pull out the first one you find...if it is bendy throw it away and choose another....repeat until you are happy with your choice.
Lots of people said they hate bendy needles, some said they loved them and didn't feel their needle was right until it had a nice bend in it.
Some loved sharps because they short and tiny...but that also means a tiny eye, and others just loved straws, mostly size 9 or 10......and some even love 'crow bars' and favour a number 9.
As for brands, it seems that Jeana Kimball needles are very well loved and a big favourite with many sewers. Clover sharps and Clover Black and Gold.... both 9 and 10 are another favourite for hand piecing, appliqué and hand quilting but you would have to like a short needle to use them.
And the others that were way up on the list include Bohin straws, 9,10 and 11...lovely smooth needle, made in France.
English brand , John James...Milliners straws 10 & 11 have a great reputation and are not at all bendy.
And Regal Superior Appliqué needles, size 8, another small needle made in Japan.
Our lovely long chat made some of us want to try lots of different needles before settling on a favourite and a few of us thought we would give our Presidents 'lucky dip' method a go.
If you have a spare minute please send us a comment and let us know what you like...who knows, a change of needle could make all the difference and make someone appliqué journey even more fun.