Sunday, October 18, 2015

Needle Snobbery

Hi everyone,
I hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall weather! The last few days have been spectacular. Even more spectacular than the weather are the wins my favorite baseball team manages to post. What is the best way to deal with the anxiety of your favorite team not scoring until the 7th inning? Why, it is having some handwork to keep your hands busy! Also, it keeps me from looking at the television during the stressful parts.

I am enjoying one of our great Block of the Month programs called Stonefield's. I wish I could say I had this many done, but alas - the credit for these beauties goes to our BOM leader, Christina. I have learned much about English paper piecing and other hand piecing techniques as we go along.
And what do we all need whether we are hand sewing, hand piecing, English paper piecing, or doing applique?  We need the perfect needle! My friends all tease me about my love for needles. I have come to be known as the "Needle Snob" around the shop. I find that the right needle gives me just the look I want when I am doing handwork. Over the next few weeks, I will post some information about different types of hand sewing needles and how they are used.

Today, I will start with the basic three: sharps, milliner/straw, and betweens. 
Hand sewing needles come in a variety of types and sizes. As the size of the needle goes up (the higher the number), the length and thickness of the needle decreases. So a needle labeled as "size 1" is longer and thicker than a needle labeled "size 8".

How do you choose needles for your project? 
As a rule of thumb, the finer your fabric, the finer the needle you should use. The needles should pass through the fabric without making a larger hole than is needed for the thread to pull through.

Sharps are great for many hand sewing projects. They are my favorite for hand sewing bindings to the quilt. Sharps have a medium length and a round eye that works with most fabrics. They are sturdy and versatile.

Milliners (or straw needles) are longer than sharps and have round eyes. These needles are commonly used for millinery work (hat making) but work well for basting and applique due to their longer lengths. Milliners are more flexible than sharps. 

Betweens are short, skinny, stout needles that are used for fine, short stitches. They are most           often used for hand quilting. 
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Stay tuned for more needle snobbery next week!

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