Inquiring minds want to know

18 comments
I have 3 questions about hand appliqué I want to ask each of you and I hope you will make comments and share your opinion and experience to answer all three questions.
As I have been appliquéing leaves on my leafy treetop bird blocks I have been wondering about all you quilters out there and what I can learn from you. I have taken 3 classes and all 3 teachers have recommended different threads, needles and methods.
1. What thread do you use when you hand appliqué?

2. What needle do you use for hand appliqué?

3. What method do you use for hand appliqué?
Now I will answer my own questions

1. I learned first on silk thread and didn't like it. Then I switched to DMC machine embroidery thread. And I was also introduced to Mettler silk-finish cotton thread. I think I pull pretty hard on my thread because at least some of the time the thread snaps while I'm stitching. I wish I had thread with the finish of the Mettler/DMC/silk but with more strength. If you look closely at the pictures you can see some of the ends of the spools are all chewed up. Thanks to our dog, Shadow. If I unknowingly drop the plastic spool on the floor and Shadow is around, you can bet he'll take a chomp.

2. I forget what needles all 3 classes recommended. I have been using size 11 straw needles. And I like them okay. But could I be using something better? I don't know.

3. I learned 3 different methods from all 3 teachers. I got better with each class, I think. And I use 2 of the methods depending on the project. I find I enjoy freezer paper hand appliqué because its more mindless and I really think it goes pretty fast. But I also like Jeana Kimball's method, though I machine baste my appliqué rather than hand baste. Jeana was a great teacher and I'd like to take another class from her sometime because at the time of the class I didn't pay enough attention to the more advanced techniques she teaches. I learned about how to place my hands and several things that improved the overall appliqué. That class was so much fun. It was in a big sewing room of a private home nearby, a great lunch was served. My friend Flora took me and it made for a fabulously fun day. If you ever get a chance to take a class from Jeana, don't pass up the opportunity. I can't say enough about her skills.
Shadow looks guilty here, doesn't he? I know its hard to see with his black eyes and black fur but I'm pretty sure its a guilty look. One new spool and one chewed-up spool sit tempting him.
The dress quilt was one of my favorite appliqué projects. It was extremely fun picking out fabric for this quilt and planning it. The quilt is from the book Quilting with my Sister by Barbara and Teri. It was the first time I'd done any layered appliqué. These two dresses are my favorites on the quilt because they were made from vintage fabric. My friend Anna went on a trip to Oregon and visited the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook. She bought 3 fat eighths of vintage fabric for me at the gift shop. I love all 3 of them. I still have one that I am hoarding and keeping safe for the perfect project. I haven't been to Tillamook yet but its on the list of places I want to visit. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and I'll be putting up the pictures of the Valentine Flags that have been sent to me. They are all really cute. I can't wait. And if you haven' t quite finished yours, hurry up! - nanette
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18 comments

Julia said...

I can't help you with your questions, as I have never hand appliqued. It scares me. But, I would really like to learn how and give it a try.

Darlene said...

I love hand applique but it took me a long time to take the plunge! LOL I took a class about 6 years ago and didn't enjoy it - needleturn is not for me. Then four years ago I took a class and learned to do the P3 method (freezer paper and spray starch) - this was THE method for me. Lots of prep but once the prep is done I just sit and stitch.

Many people told me to use straw needles but they are too long for me. I hold my needle a bit too tight and have a tendency to bend it. I find that I can work with a Sharp for all my hand stitching (yes, I bend those, too).

Thread - I use Mettler embroidery
(40wt) - it's nice and thin and buries itself in the fabric. I have used silk also but don't care for it, as it slips out of the needle very easily. Are you cutting your thread in super long lengths? Remember it'll wear down as it passes through the eye and that may be what's causing your breakage.

I've reversed the order of your questions - sorry - I was answering as I was thinking. LOL

Lola...again said...

Applique is something that I am still working on. I am going to take your suggestions, and try them!
I know I say this every day, but you make the most adorable quilts!! That dress one is the cutest thing I have ever seen! LOVE LOVE!!!

Kathie said...

I love to hand applique
I use Jeana Kimball's straw 11 needles. LOVE these needles!
I use needle turn method...works best for me but it does take practice , so keep trying!
thread I love DMC 50 wgt
I used to use mettler and will still use it for the right color...I NEVER Liked silk...
couldn't get use to it and guess I am a purist at heart, cotton fabric cotton thread!
Kathie

happy zombie said...

I learned needle turn in a class... my teacher had a nifty method she taught us. Keep a toothpick in your mouth, just at the ends of your lips to keep it moist, but not wet. Use the toothpick vs the needle to turn your fabric under. It's amazing how well this works. It also kept me quiet during the class!

I use the really fine weight by Gutterman and Mettler. BUT... I've since abandoned needle turn for blanket stitch and fuse. I love the process and the look - though it's not a look for everything - some things just need needleturn.

I've been to Latimer - what a fantastic place it is. Hope you can make it there sometime. And you can even sample some cheese down the street afterwards. Or before. :o)

Joanna said...

Hi Nanette

I have been subscribed to your blog for a while - just love your style and colors etc. Anyway, it wasn't until the other day I noticed you mentioned something about going to Lehi, and then in another post you said you had a quilt quilted by Wren Woodland. WELL my juices got going with that one - I live in NH but moved here from UT and my MIL lives in American Fork and runs the New Friends Quilt Group there (Carmen Martinez) and I, too, have a quilt quilted by Wren! Doesn't she do the most beautiful work??

I was excited to learn yesterday that my hubby has booked the kids and I tickets to go back to UT for the Summer - 6 weeks! I can't wait to spend time back there with friends and family and to visit all the quilt shops I left behind!

ANYWAY, you had questions to be answered and now that I went way off track it's time to get back on track!

1) I use whatever cotton thread I can find in my drawer that matches the fabric! I tend to use a lot of grey and light pink - I find those 2 colors go with most things. I have no real preference for brand, just a good cotton. I must admit I haven't used silk but I have a bunch sitting here waiting for me to try them! I'll keep you posted on that one!

2) I use Roxanne's needles - #10 sharps. I like them short and very very sharp so they glide through the fabric like butter!

3) My method of choice is needleturn. I have tried every single way but I just love needleturn. I am by nature a lazy person lol and I find that the other methods just add too many steps. I use a lightbox and trace the shapes directly to the fabric, cut them out and glue them on using Roxanne's glue baste-it. Nothing could be faster. I will never mess around with freezer paper again! I can't tell you how much I love needleturn. So easy to prepare the blocks and have them sitting there and just pick them up when I have a spare minute or two between tending kids! But to each his own, this is just what works well for me:)


Thanks for the great blog - I enthusiastically look forward to each new post!

happy zombie said...

I forgot to say... your quilt is DARLING Nan!

Thimbleanna said...

Your quilt is darling! Wouldn't it be cute as a memory quilt made using fabrics from a little girl's dresses? As for your questions, freezer paper is the only method for me. With hand basting. (I'm not familiar with Jeanna's method -- I went to her website, but couldn't find any info?) I REALLY dislike needleturn -- just can't get a good edge to it. I'm not picky about needles, any ol' one will do. As for thread, I learned with silk thread, so I guess I don't know any better. Guess I should pay more attention to technique, huh?

PamKittyMorning said...

Sweet quilt, and pup. I don't do hand applique, but instead of basting applique pieces I use the Roxanne's glue baste it. I LOVE THAT STUFF. Alex is using that to baste her applique pieces for my machine stitching as well.I highly recommend it.

Judith said...

I always do needle turn applique, only sometimes I will do the freezer paper technique. About the thread and needles I am not sure.

vicki said...

I'm linking here from a comment you left on my blog and I found this conversation and comments really informative! Your work is beautiful btw and I'm mad about applique too, although I don't do it as much as I'd like to. I've probably given all the methods time and consideration, but I have to say that I'm partial to freezer paper for circles and other shapes with a lot of curves, but needleturn works for me too. As for needle and thread, I'm not that particular. I've used sharps and betweens, embroidery floss (one strand if I don't have a particular color I'm trying to match) and even used quilting thread. Truthfully, I usually just grab what's handy!

Linda said...

I use the same method as Darlene, making sure to use two layers of freezer paper, gives a nicer edge. I hand baste all my pieces in place, just fussy I spose. Now that I see what Darlene has suggested for thread I'll need to look for it. I don't care for long needles, my fingers are long and tend to get in the way so I don't need a long needle as well. Plus the shorter the needle the better the control.

Ginger Patches said...

Well I only tried hand applique once years ago and it's still sitting in baggies so I can't answer any questions, but that darling dress quilt is making me want to learn again!

Tracey said...

oh, shadow totally looks guilty! and i have always loved that dress quilt!
Happy Valentines Day!!!

M.KATE said...

such a pretty blog...happy valentines :)

Oiyi said...

That dress quilt is gorgeous!

Ravenhill said...

This is the most gorgeous quilt! I wish I could help you with your questions but I am fairly new to applique myself. You look to be well on your way to becoming a pro! Stunning work.

Anonymous said...

I took the same class w/HZ and the toothpick works wonderful, in my opinion, altho I don't do much of it!
I little trick for your thread..I use a old RX plastic container w/a hole in the lid for the thread so if I drop it, no dust,dirt or puppy teeth.