Hi! I thought it would be a good time to share some of my needle-turn hand applique tips. Needle-turn applique is one of my favorite techniques since I learned it when I was a new quilter. I’ve been practicing for over 25 years and have some tried and true tips that have always served me well. I know many people are afraid of that “A” word. No need to be! These tips will be shared in a series of posts. This one today is focused on the notions and tools.
One of the tips that I think is very important is to have very good lighting. If you can’t see what you’re working on, you won’t be able to make small, disappearing stitches.
This is a really good light with a magnifier on top. It sits on a desk top so it’s easy for you to put your work under the light to use the magnifier if you choose.
Now it’s time to choose your needle and thread. I recommend applique needles over straw needles but you can use either. Applique needles are also referred to as sharps. The size of the needle you use is personal preference. I use John James Golden Glide size 9:
I like these Golden Glide needles because they stitch just as well on cottons and batiks. As the size number goes up, the length of the needle is shorter. Choose the needle length that is most comfortable for you.
The thread I use is a silk-finished 100% 50wt cotton thread. Mettler is one brand I have used often. It comes in a variety of colors. If you match the color of the thread to your applique, it helps to hide your stitches better. If your applique piece is multicolored, choose a neutral color. Some stitchers use all neutral colors in different shades from dark to light depending on the color of the applique piece.
Use a good applique glue to help affix your applique motif to your background fabric. This eliminates the need for pins. I like using Roxanne’s Glue Baste-it:
I was so happy when I was introduced to this glue. No more pins poking me while I try to stitch!
You will need a pencil to trace around templates onto your chosen fabric. a good pencil is Sewline.
This is a mechanical style pencil that uses chalk instead of pencil lead.
To go along with the pencil, I recommend reinforcing your applique templates for tracing. I like to copy them from the pattern directly onto card stock. If you can’t copy them, trace them onto regular paper, cut them out and glue them to card stock.
By reinforcing the templates, it makes it easier to keep the shape of the motif as you trace around it. Also, you can use the templates over an over! Make sure to have a scissors just for paper when working with applique templates.
Final Tip for This Week:
I like to have several needles loaded with the different color threads I will be using so I don’t have to stop and thread a needle every time I switch colors.
I have a small tin where I keep all my threads for the project I am working on. On the cover I have applied a magnet. I thread my needles with the different colors and put them there for easy access. This tin is also great if I want to take my stitching project on the road.
So, that’s all for now. Leave me a comment below on your thoughts on applique. In the coming few weeks, I’ll go over technique and share a few applique videos.
If you comment, I will enter you into a drawing to win this fun applique lap quilt, High Prairie Blooms:
The drawing will be Friday, October 4th after the applique series is done.