Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hand-Quilting Tools: What Works For Me

 


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.  





My thread of choice is No 8 Perle Cotton.  JoAnn's is not a bad place to get the basic colors.  And you have to be careful because sometimes the No 8's and No 5's get mixed up.  No 5 is, in my humber opinion, just too thick to pull through the three layers.  These are usually $2.99 a ball.

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.  




On to finger protection.  By trial and error, I have learned that I need to keep something strong on my thumb for pushing and something grippy on my index finger for pulling.  Since my thumb both pushes and pulls, the protection has to be firm but also pliable.  My protection of choice are the black leather cap thimbles (Joann's) used in conjunction with the pink finger grips.  I keep one grip on my index finger and layer a pink grip and a black thimble on my thumb.  It is what works for me.  
Depending on the thickness and the layers, I may also add some little stick-em dots.  For the hand that is under the quilt helping with the tension, I wear nothing.  I have however developed a callous on my middle finger, the one that feels whether the needle has gone through all the layers.

Last but not least, bandaids.  Sometimes for gripping. Sometimes for stopping bleeds.  All I'm saying is keep them handy!  Next time?  maybe we'll talk about the actual process!









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