This quilt has been my nightly companion since December 11. I think in another two weeks it will be finished. I am loving the texture. I am loving the sound of the thread being pulled through the three layers. It's only been the past 6 years that I've been hand-quilting, and now it seems my day is missing something if I don't hand-quilt for a bit. Let me share with you what I have found works for me. I am left-handed and do things differently from others.
There are fabulous colors of No 8 available, but going on-line has worked best for me. See that cone of variegated red? Evans brought that back from QuiltCon for me, and I do love it. It specifically says Sashiko on it. The way I learned to quilt was with beige Sashiko thread - think thin butcher's twine. It's perfect for a primitive look, but it doesn't come in colors.
On to needles. And Jen BB gave me the best tip: No 5 Milliner's needles. They are longish so that you can load 4 or 5 stitches on them. The eye is just the right size for threading - I've become of master of this, with a lot of patience. But they are hard to find. Ordering from Amazon works best. The packets at Joann's contain sizes from 3 (too large) to 9 (too small). 4, 5, and 6 are all compatible with my hands and skill set.