Give-Away: What’s that Needle For?

needlesandbookWhile writing my new book, Joyful Stitching, I came across this big pile of hand needles in a long forgotten drawer where I like to put long forgotten things. Without their original containers, I had no idea what kind they were. And I was clueless as to their sizes. Sadly, my needles had lost their identity.

needleguidecover

So I came up with this handy dandy chart. It’s produced by C&T Publishing and helps you identify the size and type of hand needle you have in your stash. It shows you the right needle for the job.

And I’m giving one away today.

There are full-size photos of hand needles in the the guide. Needles like sharps, quilting, embroidery, beading, applique, darners, milliners, plus others are shown.

Did you know that there are Twin-Pointed Stab Stitch needles? They are shown in the guide too.

You’ll find a few tips on needle care and how to match the needle size to the thread size when stitching. And the fold out guide also has images of specialty needles like bullion, packing, doll making, upholstery, and sail making. Any sail makers out there?

needleonchart

 

Here’s how the needle guide works. Just lay a needle on the chart and it identifies it for you. It tells you what kind of needle it is and what size it is.

It’s a miracle!

Leave a comment on my blog today and you may be the lucky winner of a Sewing Needle Pocket Guide. I’ll announce the winner next Thursday.

Read more about the Sewing Needle Pocket Guide for Hand Stitching here on the C&T Blog.

Thread-u-cation Thursday: Sheaf Stitch

silkstitchalong24The Sheaf Stitch is another embroidery stitch that heaps thread on the surface of fabric.(Here you see it being used in the Silk Stitch Along Tutorial .) A tidy bundle, long stitches of thread are cinched together and look like sheaves of wheat.

silkstitchalong25But my wheat sheaving days are over so I like to top the Sheaf Stitch with a French Knot or a Bullion Knot to make a flower. Here are directions for making the Sheaf Stitch. Have fun!

Thread-u-cation Thursday: Bullion Knot

bullion7There’s a lot of bulk in a Bullion Knot. And on small pieces of artwork it, has many uses. For instance, it takes a Bullion Knot to make cattails growing by the swamp next door.

woolbird18It also takes a large coil of thread like a Bullion Knot to crown the crest of a fancy bird. These concentrated hits of thread lift off the fabric creating texture and dimension to your work. Check out these directions on how to make the Bullion Knot.

 

A Thanksgiving Knot for You

colonialknot4It’s that time of year again,Thanksgiving. So put on your powdered wig, buckle your shoes, and grab your knickerbockers! We are about to learn the Colonial Knot. (OK, the knickerbocker reference may not be historically correct but grab something.) Colonial Knots are faster to make than French Knots and you can easily toss them in as a background filler with the Scattered Seed stitch like those above. (It also gives you and excuse to wear knickerbockers.)

colonialknot1Here’s how to make Colonial Knots: Begin the thread on the top of the fabric at A. Form a small loop like a backwards letter C with the thread. With the needle to the right of point A, slip the needle tip under the thread coming out of A. The shaft of the needle will lay on top of the lower end of the thread.

colonialknot2Shift the needle tip in front of point A. Wrap the thread across the needle and slip it under the tip of the needle. It should look like a figure 8 around the needle.

colonialknot3Gently pull the thread around the needle as you scoot the needle tip across the fabric to insert it back into the fabric. Insert the needle tip very close to point A. Draw the needle and thread through the fabric.

Congratulations! You are now an official Colonial Knot Maker! You may now remover your knickerbockers and invite the neighbors over for Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving!

How to Make a Loop to Hang Your Quilt

Many of my quilts are small and light weight and adding a hanging sleeve for a short little slat just doesn’t make sense. (And, as you know, I’m all about common sense.) So I’ve come up with this hanging mechanism for your small quilts: a simple loop added to the back.

Here are the steps:

1. Find the center top of the back of your quilt. Make a mark about 1.5 inches down from the top to mark the center of the quilt. A pin hole in th fabric will do the trick.

2. About .5 inches to the left of that mark, take a stitch with your needle and a size 5 or 8 pearl cotton thread.

3. Take a stitch into the quilt backing fabric and leave an open loop. (Leave the needle on the thread.)

4. Put your fingers into that loop and pull the thread through the loop to make another loop. You are making a chain stitch much like a crochet stitch.

5. Continue to make the chain stitch until the chain extends .5 inches beyond the center mark. The complete chain will be about 1 inch long.

6.  To secure the chain, take a stitch into the quilt back. Pass the needle through the final loop and tie off the thread.

7. Snip the thread, hang the quilt on the wall, and enjoy the view.

How to End the Thread

stitching13When adding hand embroidery to fused art quilts, you only need to stitch through the batting and top layer of the quilt. There are two advantages of embroidering the quilt first before adding the backing fabric. One is that without the backing fabric, you have one less layer of fabric to stitch through.

stitching12And the second advantage is that it’s easy to hide thread knots. Here you’ll see a few knots in the batting where I began a new thread color. And you’ll also see how to end a thread. Just slip the needle under previous stitches on the back and snip. It’s a good idea to snip the threads closely to the back of the quilt so they don’t catch other threads when your working new stitches.