Friday, April 8, 2022

Springtime Blues

Spring seems really late in coming to Chicagoland this year. It's beginning to seem like the winter that never ends. Right now it's cold and raining. Yesterday morning, I let the dog out and brushed a few snowflakes off her when she came in.  It's April, for goodness sake. I looked at pictures of my "garden" from last year around this same time and noticed we had much more greenery then than we do now.

Everything is still brown and dull around here, compared to this photo of our yard taken in April last year. Makes me feel a little blue . . . . 

Speaking of blue . . .  I took some time to play in my scraps. Last time I blogged I wrote about some of the Small & Simple projects we were making in my Facebook group. Here's one I made for the group that was sort of just what I needed to perk me up - 

This one truly is small & simple. And a fun one if you love antique-looking doll quilts. I used 1 1/2"  x  2 1/2" rectangles and set them in rows, alternating blues and lights.  

The fun part was picking through my old blue scraps and sewing them together into rows. I couldn't stop and so kept sewing rows until I realized I had enough for 3 quilts, LOL. I'll finish the other ones someday. . . .

I quilted it with simple stitches across each row. I typically pin baste my small quilts, do not use a hoop, start the quilting in the middle and work my way outward. Low-loft, all cotton batting (Quilters Dream Request is my favorite). I use YLI hand quilting thread in light brown. For this one I also used a Richard Hemming Large Eye quilting needle in size 9.   

However, because the backing fabric I picked out was a little too stiff or starched, I had a heck of a time pushing my needle through the layers. So I switched to a sharper needle (John James Gold 'n Glide sharp) in order to get it done without stressing my fingers and hands. I probably should have washed the backing first or chosen one that was softer. What was I thinking?? I usually know better. 

If you're having a difficult time with hand quilting, check that your batting is light (but not polyester, please!), your backing soft and your needle comfortable. You may have to try a sharper needle. We're told by the experts that we need to use "between" needles for quilting. Everyone is different and there is no rule that says we have to use a certain type of needle. Try a few and see how they feel in your fingers. Sometimes a longer, sharper needle will feel more comfortable in your hand than a sort, small between. Do what works for you! Needles are pretty cheap so don't hesitate to use a nice, new sharp one instead of an old one that's seen better days.  The Gold 'n Glides are easy to work with and take the strain off your hands. They can be a little difficult to thread with waxed quilting thread, however, so I use them more for applique or sewing bindings when I use finer thread (like my favorite Aurifil 50 wt.). 

You can find the full pattern in the Files section of my Facebook group. 

Have a good weekend!

NOTE: If you're interested in seeing some of my small quilts on display at the spring Quilter's Hall of Fame exhibit, I may be making my way to Indiana on Saturday, April 23. We're still working out the details. But I'd love to see some of you if you live nearby.  Read more about it here.


Ann in PA said...

Springtime "browns" here in our part of PA, too. Things are looking up for next week, so I hope you soon see your pretty spring blooms when you look out your window. Your blue and lights quilt is adorable and a good way to beat the "blues". I've always used "betweens" in 10 or 12; but sometimes those tiny needles don't play nice with my aging hands. Thank you for sharing your quilting hints-sometimes those longer sharps are kinder on my hands. What an honor to have your sweet small quilts on display at the Quilter's Hall of Fame. Wish I could visit. Think Spring! xxoo

Carol in Texas said...

I was looking through a book by Jeana Kimball and she said she used milliners #8 needles to quilt. I tried one and it made a huge difference for me……it is long and sturdy and sharp and my poor old hands can do some less-than-perfect quilting with it. You are so correct about needles….we all need to find the one that works for us!

Linda said...

What a sweet little quilt! You inspire me to start a new little quilt. I like your advice about needles. So true. I may try the kind you recommended. 😊

QuiltGranma said...

Here in NE Oregon we had snow today! Thanks for the "go ahead" to use needles that work for us! Will look for those names when checking out needles.


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